It’s official: Donald Trump will be the 45th President of the United States of America. Against all odds, polls, and projections, the GOP candidate beat out Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton Tuesday night in a stunning upset, effectively ending one of the most contentious and unpredictable presidential elections in modern political history.
As of this writing, Trump has won 289 electoral votes and the popular vote—taking swing states like Florida, Ohio and Michigan, and crushing former Secretary of State Clinton, who only secured 218 electoral votes.
It was an unexpected outcome for the Republican nominee, who rose out of one of the most promising fields of GOP candidates in a generation, to then proceed to battle an even more formidable opponent in Clinton, who was consistently ahead of him in the polls and the electoral map. Not to mention the fact that Trump has been mired in scandals and controversy throughout the election.
Despite all this, however, Trump managed to strike a chord with the American people, riding the wave of an unprecedented populist movement to become the 45th president-elect of the United States. The victory, sealed with a concession phone call from Clinton early Wednesday, amounts to one of the most stunning upsets in American political history.
“I’ve just received a call from Secretary Clinton,” Trump told supporters at New York’s Hilton hotel. “She congratulated us, it’s about us, on our victory, and I congratulated her and her family on a very, very hard fought campaign.”
Trump’s victory speech took a conciliatory and unifying tone as he praised Clinton for her service to the country. “Hillary has worked very long and very hard over a long period of time and we owe her a major debt of gratitude,” Trump said.
The President-Elect then went on to promise unity after a dark campaign. “Now it’s time for America to bind the wounds of division … It’s time for us to come together as one united people.”
Trump’s victory Tuesday came amid a wave of support among working-class and blue-collar white voters in numerous battleground states, including Florida, North Carolina, Wisconsin, and New Hampshire. The New York businessman had long claimed his nationalist pitch to voters could spur high levels of voter turnout that would help propel him to the White House.
The election results came as a shock, to say the least, with markets plunging late Tuesday night as it became clear that Trump would have a better night than expected. The Dow Jones sunk by as much as 800 points in late-night futures trading, although it has since rebounded to be down by about 250 points, or 1.4%, as of an hour before Wednesday’s opening bell on Wall Street.
The Republican presidential nominee will take the oath of office in January with a mandate to fulfill a slate of lofty campaign promises, along with the difficult task of leading a deeply divided and increasingly diverse United States. Trump has pledged several government actions that will certainly rock the US economy, including a renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, a massive federal infrastructure plan, a moratorium on increasing regulations, and deportation of millions of immigrants illegally living in the US.
Trump has also promised national-security overhauls, including a potential return to enhanced-interrogation techniques, increasing bombing of ISIS, reevaluating the US relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, loosening background checks for purchasing firearms, and forcing Mexico to pay for a border wall on the US’s southern border.
Clinton is expected to publicly concede defeat to the new President-Elect at the New Yorker Hotel Wednesday morning at 10:30 a.m. Eastern
Obama will also deliver a statement to the press later Wednesday morning from the White House, including “what steps we can take as a country to come together after this hard-fought election season.”