In an electoral upset unprecedented in modern U.S. history, Donald Trump has beaten his opponent, Hillary Clinton, and won the 2016 U.S. presidential elections.
Mr. Trump seized several key battleground states to earn a large majority of electoral college votes which put him far in the lead before the final result was called. After winning Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin and other key midwestern states into which the Clinton campaign had poured its money and resources, a Trump victory seemed secure.
This morning Mr. Trump delivered a victory speech accompanied by his family in a New York hotel ballroom in which he thanked his supporters and Secretary Clinton and vowed to be a president for “all Americans”. He said that Clinton had called him to concede victory.
“Hillary has worked very long and very hard over a long period of time, and we owe her a major debt of gratitude for her service to our country”, he said of his opponent.
Mr. Trump will be the first U.S. President not to have held any government or military position before being elected.
His campaign, fraught with controversies that would have destroyed the candidacies of his opponents, was mocked by pundits from all political backgrounds since the day it was launched. His verbal attacks on blacks, Latinos, Mexicans, and Muslims, coupled with allegations of sexual misconduct and assault, lead many to believe that his campaign was sinking.
Yet his claim to represent the common man paid off in the country’s industrial heartland, where decades of factory closures and economic dislocation have fed deep frustrations within a white working class that voiced its rejection of mainstream politics at the polls on Tuesday. Many of the delegate-rich states went to Mr. Trump, who surpassed the requisite number of 270 electoral college votes late last night.
Democrats also lost the Senate despite predictions to the contrary. Republicans held on to contested seats in Wisconsin, North Carolina, Indiana and Florida.
In Illinois, Democrat Tammy Duckworth ousted her Republican predecessor while Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto’s win in Nevada will make her the first Latina to serve in the U.S. Senate. In California, Democrat Kamala Harris became the second ever black woman and the first southeast Asian to serve in the Senate.
Republicans ended the night with 52 of the Senate’s 100 seats in their control.
In the House of Representatives, the Republican’s 247-seat majority, the largest majority held by a party since 1928, was chipped away at by Democrats who picked up a handful of seats.
As the results came in, stock markets began to decline sharply as investors showed their concern over a potential Trump presidency. Markets eventually stabilized, however, and the feared Brexit-like financial meltdown scenario failed to materialize. Investors have stayed in “wait and see” mode.
Trump has previously expressed that ISIS is a higher-priority concern than Assad and that Hillary would drag the U.S. into a new war in Syria.
Russian President Vladimir Putin quickly issued a televised statement from the Kremlin offering to work together, especially against terrorism, with the new president.