Trump Wins US Presidency

Television networks projected the Republicans would retain majorities in both the 100-seat US Senate and the US House of Representatives, where all 435 seats were up for grabs
Donald Trump greets supporters during his election night rally in Manhattan.
Donald Trump greets supporters during his election night rally in Manhattan.

Republican Donald Trump stunned the world by defeating heavily favored rival Hillary Clinton in Tuesday’s presidential election, ending eight years of Democratic rule and sending the United States on a new path.

A wealthy real-estate developer and former reality TV host, Trump rode a wave of anger toward Washington insiders to win the White House race against Clinton, the Democratic candidate whose gold-plated establishment resume included stints as a first lady, US senator and secretary of state, Reuters reported.

Worried a Trump victory could cause economic and global uncertainty, investors were in full flight from risky assets. But the US dollar and world stocks began to steady in the European morning on Wednesday, having been hammered overnight.

Trump collected enough of the 270 state-by-state electoral votes needed to win a four-year term that starts on Jan. 20, taking battleground states where presidential elections are traditionally decided, US television networks projected.

He appeared with his family before cheering supporters in a New York hotel ballroom, saying it was time to heal the divisions caused by the campaign and find common ground after a campaign that exposed deep differences among Americans.

“It is time for us to come together as one united people,” Trump said. “I will be president for all Americans.”

Trump said he had received a call from Clinton to congratulate him on the win and praised her for her service and for a hard-fought campaign.

His comments were an abrupt departure from his campaign trail rhetoric in which he repeatedly slammed Clinton as “crooked” amid supporters’ chants of “lock her up.”

Republicans also kept control of Congress. Television networks projected the party would retain majorities in both the 100-seat US Senate and the US House of Representatives, where all 435 seats were up for grabs.

At Clinton’s election event at the Javits conference center a mile away from Trump’s event, an electric atmosphere among supporters expecting a Clinton win slowly grew grim as her losses piled up.

Clinton opted not to appear at her event, instead sending campaign chairman John Podesta out to tell her supporters to go home.

“We’re not going to have anything more to say tonight,” he said.

Prevailing in a cliffhanger race that opinion polls had clearly forecast as favoring a Clinton victory, Trump won avid support among a core base of white non-college educated workers with his promise to be the “greatest jobs president that God ever created.”

In his victory speech, he said he had a great economic plan, would embark on a project to rebuild American infrastructure and would double US economic growth.

His win raises a host of questions for the United States at home and abroad. He campaigned on a pledge to take the country on a more isolationist, protectionist “America First” path.

Trump, who at 70 will be the oldest first-term US president, came out on top after a bitter and divisive campaign that focused largely on the character of the candidates and whether they could be trusted to serve as the country’s 45th president.

The presidency will be Trump’s first elected office and it remains to be seen how he will work with Congress. During the campaign, Trump was the target of sharp disapproval, not just from Democrats but from many in his own party.

  Stunned World

Countries around the world reacted with stunned disbelief.

German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen, an ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel, described the result as a “huge shock” and questioned whether it meant the end of “Pax Americana”, the state of relative peace overseen by Washington that has governed international relations since World War Two.

Neighbor Mexico was pitched into deep uncertainty by the victory for Trump who has often accused it of stealing US jobs and sending criminals across the border.

British Prime Minister Theresa May congratulated Trump and said the two countries would remain “strong and close partners on trade, security and defense.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called on Washington to stay committed to last year’s international nuclear deal with Iran, which Trump has threatened to rip up.

Trump has promised to warm relations with Russia that have chilled under President Barack Obama over Russian President Vladimir Putin’s seizure of Ukraine’s Crimea region.

Putin sent Trump a congratulatory note on Wednesday, saying he hoped that they can get the US-Russian relationship out of crisis.

  Clinton’s Weaknesses

Trump entered the race 17 months ago and survived a series of seemingly crippling blows, many of them self-inflicted.

A Reuters/Ipsos national Election Day poll offered some clues to the outcome. It found Clinton underperformed expectations with women, winning their vote by only about 7%, similar to Obama when he won reelection in 2012.

And while she won Hispanics, black and millennial voters, Clinton did not win those groups by greater margins than Obama did in 2012. Younger blacks did not support Clinton like they did Obama, as she won eight of 10 black voters between the ages of 35 and 54. Obama won almost 100% of those voters in 2012.

The election was unprecedented in the way it turned Americans against each other, according to dozens of interviews in rural United States and across some of the most politically charged battleground states.

Throughout his campaign and especially in his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention in July, Trump described a dark America that had been knocked to its knees by China, Mexico, Russia and the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group.

“The American dream was dead,” he said, smothered by malevolent business interests and corrupt politicians, and he alone could revive it.

He has vowed to win economic concessions from China and to build a wall on the southern US border with Mexico to keep out undocumented immigrants.

As financial markets absorbed the prospect of Trump’s win, the Mexican peso plunged to its lowest-ever levels. The peso had become a touchstone for sentiment on the election, as Trump threatened to rip up a free trade agreement with Mexico.

His triumph was a rebuke to Obama, a Democrat who spent weeks flying around the country to campaign against him, repeatedly casting doubt on his suitability for the White House.

Obama will hand over the office to Trump after serving the maximum eight years allowed by law.


Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints