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Hilary Clinton

U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin, the incumbent, will continue to represent the 1st Congressional District. Photo by Alex Petroski

Results of the Nov. 8 election have America seeing red.

While President-elect Donald Trump (R) won the presidency with 279 Electoral College votes to Hillary Clinton’s (D) 228, many of the North Shore races produced Republican victories as well.

U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D) was one of the Democrats who survived. He outscored his Republican challenger Wendy Long 59.94 to 38.26 percent, according to the Suffolk County Board of Elections. New York State Sens. Ken LaValle (R-Port Jefferson) and John Flanagan (R-East Northport) earned fresh terms, as the public reelected the incumbents.

“I am so gosh darn proud to be a Republican, to be here working with you,” Flanagan said. “Let’s keep pulling ahead.” He thanked everyone for joining him at Mirelle’s Restaurant in Westbury and congratulated his fellow local Republican politicians while the audience continued to cheer him on.

Assemblyman Andy Raia addresses the crowd. He will be entering his ninth term. Photo by Kevin Redding
Assemblyman Andy Raia addresses the crowd. He will be entering his ninth term. Photo by Kevin Redding

Flanagan won his race 63.57 percent to his Democratic challenger Peter Magistrale’s 32.46 percent. LaValle earned 67.18 percent of the vote to Democrat Gregory Fischer’s 32.73 percent.

U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley), another incumbent who kept a firm grasp on his seat, applauded his opponent following his victory.

“It’s an honor and a privilege to be able to represent the 1st Congressional District,” he said during his speech at The Emporium in Patchogue. “A powerful message was sent across New York.”

That message was the sea of red that swept across not only the state but also the nation.

“We are going to have a new president of the United States, and his name is Donald J. Trump,” Zeldin said prior to the national election results. “We’re going to make American great again.”

Zeldin defeated his Democratic challenger Anna Throne-Holst handily with 58.93 percent of the 1st district’s votes. The congressman also mentioned in his speech his desire to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

Throne-Holst honored the results of the election and conceded the race.

“Suffolk County represents the very fabric of America, with hardworking men and women determined to support their families and build a democracy that moves our country forward and makes our communities stronger,” Throne-Holst said. “I’d like to thank everyone who has supported our campaign over the course of this incredible journey. It is our collective vision of a fair and unified America that will guide the road ahead and shape the future for our next generation.”

Throne-Holst said in a statement she will continue to fight for families and children in future pursuits, and added she is honored to have the faith and confidence of men and women throughout the 1st district.

“May we come together in the wake of this divisive campaign season,” Throne-Holst said, “to establish a more resilient country for us all.”

“It is our collective vision of a fair and unified America that will guide the road ahead and shape the future for our next generation.”

— Anna Throne-Holst

Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove), another Democrat who won a seat on election night, will succeed Rep. Steve Israel in the 3rd district. He fell short with Suffolk County voters, 48.27 percent to Republican challenger Jack Martins’ 51.68 percent, but when coupled with his Queens votes, he bested Martins 52 to 48 percent.

“This race has really been about the values my dad taught,” Suozzi said during his post-results speech at The Milleridge Inn in Jericho. “I’m going to need everyone in this room to help me because if I stick my head up and say something that’s not the normal thing to be said, they’re going to try and smack us down.”

He added regardless of the results of the presidential election, “we really need to do some soul searching.” He referenced figuring out what will happen with health care coverage, the shrinking middle class, immigration reform, climate chance, gun violence and the tax code. He added there’s more important work to be done.

“We have to figure out what’s going on in the country,” he said. “We need to figure out how to bring people back together again to work together.”

In local races for the State Assembly, incumbents continued to sweep the North Shore.

Steve Englebright (D-Setauket) edged his opponent 58.91 percent to 41.03 percent to continue representing the 4th district. His challenger, Steven Weissbard, called the assemblyman a “goliath,” and added, “If you want to win, you can’t be afraid to fight.”

Anna Throne-Holst, Democratic nominee for the 1st Congressional District, addresses the crowd following her loss on election night to incumbent Lee Zeldin. Photo by Lloyd Newman
Anna Throne-Holst, Democratic nominee for the 1st Congressional District, addresses the crowd following her loss on election night to incumbent Lee Zeldin. Photo by Lloyd Newman

Incumbent Mike Fitzpatrick (R-St. James) outscored Rich Macellaro 69.81 to 30.17 percent in the 8th district to earn his eighth term in the Assembly. Chad Lupinacci (R-Huntington Station) won the 10th district with 58.24 percent of the votes over Democrat Ed Perez for his fourth term, and Andy Raia (R-East Northport) will enter his ninth term in office after garnering 65.26 percent of voters’ support over Spencer Rumsey (D) in the 12th district.

“Chad and I — we do our thing, we go to Albany and beat our heads against the desk with the supermajority of New York City,” Raia said during his postelection speech at Huntington Station’s VFW Post 1469. “But we make sure that your voice is heard day in and day out, because you’re what it’s all about. You’re the reason we live out of a suitcase six months out of the year — because you’re the bread and butter of this.”

Robert Murphy (R) will continue to patrol the highways of Smithtown as its highway superintendent. He reigned over Justin Smiloff (D) with 69 percent of the votes.

Candidates on both sides viewed this election season as a turning point for the state and country.

“It’s not about us candidates, it is about all of you here together and fighting this good fight and wanting to make change, and wanting to make sure that we are representing the people that we know need good representation,” Throne-Holst said during her speech at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 25 in Hauppauge. “We need to bear in mind that we are about unity. We are about moving forward. We are about public service. We are about the issues that matter.”

Her opponent expressed a similar sentiment.

“When we wake up tomorrow,” Zeldin said, “we have to come together.”

Rebecca Anzel, Victoria Espinoza, Donna Newman, Alex Petroski and Kevin Redding contributed reporting.

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Monday, we will finally get to see, on the same stage, the presidential candidates who hate each other, find each other unqualified, and who long ago seem to have taken the gloves off in their smackdown.

Here are just a few of the questions I’d ask the man and woman who would like to be our president:

• People don’t like either of you, including politicians in Washington. Secretary Clinton, how will you bring together Democrats and Republicans, when your war with so many Republicans dates back to your years as first lady? And, Mr. Trump, notable Democrats and Republicans seem to find your style and policies confounding. How much can you really accomplish without the broad-based support of Republicans?

• Mr. Trump, you suggested that Congress shouldn’t consider President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee and they haven’t. What would you do if you were President Obama and the Senate openly ignored your choice for Supreme Court?

• Mrs. Clinton, there’s a frequent line from courtroom dramas like Law & Order that goes something like this: “You said X when the detectives spoke to you and now you’re saying Y. Which is it? Were you lying then or are you lying now?” People don’t trust you. You don’t seem completely forthcoming, even about your pneumonia, until we see pictures of you stumbling into your SUV. How do we know when you’re sharing the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?

• Mr. Trump, are you going to release your tax returns? The longer you go without sharing them, the more people wonder if you’re hiding something. You believe your opponent selectively discloses details about herself all the time, but you’re not sharing something most, if not all, candidates have shared. What gives?

• Mr. Trump, you have suggested on a few occasions that advocates of the second amendment might have something to say about Hillary Clinton’s position on gun control. You claim that people misinterpret what you say because you didn’t mean what you said when you wrote it. Your rhetoric, were you to be president, would mean something far different from what it does when you’re tweeting. If you were president, would you tamp down the bluster that people might misinterpret? Do you feel you can and should be able to shoot from the hip, as it were, whenever it suits your interests?

• Neither of you seems ready to say the kinds of things we would hope to teach our children, such as “I’m sorry,” or “I was wrong.” Can each of you name a situation or circumstance in public life when you made a mistake and you recognize that you could and should have done better?

• Okay, turning away from each other, what policy do each of you guarantee wouldn’t change one iota and for which you would be inflexible or unwilling to compromise if either of you became president? Candidates often make promises they can’t keep when they’re elected. Is there anything you will pursue in its current form from your platforms?

• You both must recognize that your own rhetoric has alienated voters and raised concerns among various groups about your ability to lead and act on their behalf. Mrs. Clinton, how would you reconcile with Trump’s “deplorables,” as you put it, and Mr. Trump, how would you represent Muslim-Americans, Americans of Mexican heritage or any of the other people you’ve alienated if you became president?

• This campaign seems steeped in negativity. What is the most positive message each of you can share? How would that positive message make people feel better about the election and, down the road, the prospects for themselves and for this country? Be as specific as possible.

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The media coverage of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump misses the point. While the race for president is about each person, the process, the scandals, the outrage and the stories that have a life of their own are not about the people — they are about the “brand.”

The most passionate advocates for each candidate have defended and supported them, recognizing their shortcomings but urging us to believe each candidate will be better because they just are better — the way any brand with a loyal following just is.

Newspapers and advocates of each side shout at the top of their lungs about this historic election, offering evidence of Clinton’s inappropriate handling of emails and Trump’s personal attacks.

In the latest battle, Trump has taken to the airways to respond to Khizr Khan, the parents of a Muslim-American war hero.

The question isn’t whether this reveals something new about Trump, the person. It doesn’t. Surely anyone who has watched Trump over the last year or so realizes that his personal style, and the brand under which he is running for the highest office in the land, emanate from a scripted character. He doesn’t let anyone question him or his brand without counterattacking. He has become a talking head in touch with his irascible side.

That may be what attracts people to him. There is no political correctness, a term he utters with such disdain that he says it as if he is standing at a podium filled with soiled diapers. The Trump brand and playbook mandate that a best defense is a good offense.

If he’s offensive in the process, who cares? He doesn’t — and on the whole it appears many of his supporters don’t, either. He may have been right that he could shoot somebody in Times Square and not lose votes because outrageous words and actions are a part of his brand.

While I don’t agree with the slash-and-burn approach to the personal and political battles he fights, I recognize he’s probably not fighting for the little guy, the medium-sized guy or the big guy so much as he’s fighting for his brand. In a country where products and marketing are so inextricably intertwined, he is the best advocate for Brand Trump. Does being Trump prohibit him from saying “I’m sorry” or “I’m wrong”?

Those who hated him before have more ammunition in their battle with him. But what does he care? If they weren’t loyal to the brand and they weren’t his customers, he hasn’t lost anything.

What will cause voters loyal to Brand Trump — or, put another way, those who are angry, fearful or resentful of the Clinton brand — to change their minds? How far can he go before some of those who identify with him decide he shouldn’t become president?

Does this pitched battle with the Khans — parents of a slain and decorated war hero — do for the Trump brand what the attack on the U.S. Army did for Sen. Joseph McCarthy? His pursuit of communists damaged and destroyed lives and careers in the early 1950s until Joseph Welch, the chief counsel for the Army, asked McCarthy in 1954 if he had “no sense of decency.”

For Brand Trump, decency doesn’t seem to have been a priority up until now. The question, however, is whether those buying the product will care enough about what he says or thinks to force a change in the brand before they, themselves, choose the other brand.

Deomcrats and Republicans are in the midst of a heated election season. File photo

Although America’s two major political party conventions will be wrapped up by the end of this week, for many in this country, it seems as if there are four party conventions coming to a close.

If there is one thing Democrats and Republicans share at the moment, it’s the fact that many people feel like outsiders in their own party.

Since the start of the primaries, many traditional conservatives have had trouble accepting presidential candidate Donald Trump (R) as one of their own. On the first day of the convention, some state delegates staged a walkout to protest against Trump. Not only do voters and delegates feel this way — noticeably missing from the event were former Presidents George Bush senior and junior, as well as former presidential candidates John McCain and Mitt Romney. Romney has even gone so far as to hold press conferences to make clear his disdain for Trump and the direction he is leading the party.

Democrats have their own unity issues. After WikiLeaks exposed thousands of Democratic National Committee emails last week, the party seems more divided than ever. #BernieorBust voters within the party have said they will never vote for presidential candidate Hillary Clinton (D), staying true to their support for former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (D) — despite his efforts to unite his supporters behind Clinton.

The divides in both parties are clear, but what should be more clear than anything else is that four months from now, this country will have to unite behind a newly elected president.

2016 has already shown us the major obstacles and issues facing America, both at home and abroad.

Our electoral system is not perfect; this election season has shown us that. But it is our system, for better or worse. We’ll need to accept who won, who lost, and most importantly, unify around the winner. The reality is, regardless of who wins, a large contingent of voters will be saddled with a commander in chief they disdain.

It is rare to find a candidate who is everything Americans in one party want, let alone both. Speaking to the #NeverTrump and #BernieorBust voters specifically, there comes a point when you need to decide which candidate represents you the most. Excluding yourself from the process gets you, and the nation, nowhere. Trump or Clinton will move into the White House in January 2017, and it would be best to vote for someone who represents some of your views, as opposed to none of them, or simply not voting at all.

As the election season continues on, it’s important to remember we all need to unite again as one country once the final ballots are cast and the polls are closed.