American voters prove all predictions wrong, sweep Trump into power, hand Republicans the White House

Political novice and former reality TV star Donald Trump has defeated Hillary Clinton to take the US presidency, stunning America and the world in an explosive upset fuelled by a wave of grassroots anger.

The Republican mogul immediately pledged to unite a deeply divided nation. But global markets had already plunged into turmoil and the long-standing global political order, which hinges on Washington’s leadership, was cast into doubt.

Around the world, as the once feared prospect of a Trump presidency settled in as cold, hard reality, the November surprise was greeted with warnings that America has lurched into a national crisis, its leader “an unstable bigot, sexual predator and compulsive liar,” in the words of Britain’s The Guardian newspaper.

Trump called for national reconciliation in his first comments after Clinton conceded defeat in a result that virtually no poll had dreamed of predicting, her hopes of becoming the first female US president brutally dashed.

“Now it is time for America to bind the wounds of division,” Trump told a cheering crowd of jubilant supporters in the early hours of yesterday in New York, pledging to work with Democrats in office.

“I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be president for all Americans,” he declared.

Trump praised Clinton — in the last presidential debate, he called her a “nasty woman” — for her hard work and years of public service. His campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said the pair had a “very gracious, very warm conversation” by phone that lasted about a minute.

“We owe her a major debt of gratitude for her service to our country,” Trump said of Clinton, whose hopes of becoming America’s first woman president were brutally dashed.

In his first post-election tweet, Trump wrote: “The forgotten man and woman will never be forgotten again. We will all come together as never before.”

As day broke in Washington, the White House said President Barack Obama called Trump to congratulate him. Trump will visit him there today.

During a bitter two-year campaign that tugged at America’s democratic fabric, the 70-year-old tycoon pledged to deport illegal immigrants, ban Muslims from the country and tear up free trade deals.

There was no disguising the concern of Washington’s European partners that Trump’s victory might destroy the Western alliance they still regard as a touchstone for stability and the rule of law.

Trump will become America’s 45th commander-in-chief of the world’s sole true superpower on January 20.

His message was embraced by a large section of America’s white majority who have grown increasingly disgruntled by the scope of social and economic change in the last eight years under Obama, their first black president.

Many Americans from minority backgrounds expressed dismay at Trump’s victory, which some observers blamed on a backlash against multicultural America.

Although he has no government experience and in recent years has been as well known for running beauty pageants and starring on his reality television series “The Apprentice” as he is for building his property empire, Trump is the oldest man ever elected president.

Yet, during his improbable political rise, Trump has constantly proved the pundits and standard political wisdom wrong.

Opposed by the senior hierarchy of his own Republican Party, he trounced more than a dozen better-funded and more experienced rivals in the party primary.

During the race, he was forced to ride out credible allegations of sexual assault from a dozen women and was embarrassed but apparently not ashamed to have been caught on tape boasting about grabbing women’s genitals.

And, unique in modern US political history, he refused to release his tax returns — leaving a question mark over how much, if any, tax he has paid while running a global empire.

But the biggest upset came yesterday, as he swept to victory through a series of hard-fought wins in battleground states from Florida to Ohio. He amassed at least 290 electoral votes to 218 for Clinton, according to network projections.

Clinton had been widely assumed to be on course to enter the history books as the first woman to become president in America’s 240-year existence.

Americans repudiated her call for unity among Americans with their wide cultural and racial diversity, opting instead for a leader who insisted the country is broken and that “I alone can fix it.”


The election result was also a brutal humiliation for the White House incumbent, Obama, who for eight years has repeated the credo that there is no black or white America, only the United States of America.

On the eve of the election, he told tens of thousands of people in Philadelphia that he was betting on the decency of the American people.

“I’m betting that tomorrow, most moms and dads across America won’t cast their vote for someone who denigrates their daughters,” Obama said.

“I’m betting that tomorrow, true conservatives won’t cast their vote for somebody with no regard for the Constitution.”

His bet appears to have been flat out wrong, and America’s first black president will be succeeded by a candidate who received the endorsement — albeit unsought and unacknowledged — of the white supremacist Ku Klux Klan.

The triumph for Trump, a real estate developer-turned-reality television star, was a powerful rejection of the establishment forces that had assembled against him, from the world of business to government, and the consensus they had forged on everything from trade to immigration.

The results amounted to a repudiation, not only of Clinton, but of Obama, whose legacy is suddenly imperilled. And it was a decisive demonstration of power by a largely overlooked coalition of mostly blue-collar white and working-class voters who felt that the promise of the United States had slipped their grasp amid decades of globalisation and multiculturalism.

In Trump, a thrice-married Manhattanite who lives in a marble-wrapped three-story penthouse apartment on Fifth Avenue, they found an improbable champion.

In a departure from a blistering campaign in which he repeatedly stoked division, Trump sought to do something he had conspicuously avoided as a candidate: Appeal for unity.

“Now it’s time for America to bind the wounds of division,” he said. “It is time for us to come together as one united people. It’s time.”

That, he added, “is so important to me.”

At his victory party at the New York Hilton Midtown, where a raucous crowd indulged in a cash bar and wore hats bearing his ubiquitous campaign slogan “Make America Great Again,” voters expressed gratification that their voices had, at last, been heard.

“He was talking to people who weren’t being spoken to,” said Joseph Gravagna, 37, a marketing company owner from Rockland County, NY. “That’s how I knew he was going to win.”

For Clinton, the defeat signalled an astonishing end to a political dynasty that has coloured Democratic politics for a generation. Eight years after losing to President Obama in the Democratic primary — and 16 years after leaving the White House for the United States Senate, as President Bill Clinton exited office — she had seemed positioned to carry on two legacies: her husband’s and the president’s.

Her shocking loss was a devastating turn for the sprawling world of Clinton aides and strategists who believed they had built an electoral machine that would swamp Mr. Trump’s ragtag band of loyal operatives and family members, many of whom had no experience running a national campaign.

On Tuesday night, stricken Clinton aides who believed that Trump had no mathematical path to victory, anxiously paced the Jacob K Javits Convention Centre as states in which they were confident of victory, like Florida and North Carolina, either fell to Trump or seemed in danger of tipping his way.

Clinton watched the grim results roll in from a suite at the nearby Peninsula Hotel, surrounded by her family, friends and advisers who had the day before celebrated her candidacy with a champagne toast on her campaign plane.

But over and over, Clinton’s weaknesses as a candidate were exposed. She failed to excite voters hungry for change. She struggled to build trust with Americans who were baffled by her decision to use a private email server as secretary of state. And she strained to make a persuasive case for herself as a champion of the economically downtrodden after delivering perfunctory paid speeches that earned her millions of dollars.

The returns Tuesday also amounted to a historic rebuke of the Democratic Party from the white blue-collar voters who had formed the party base from the presidency of Franklin D Roosevelt to Clinton’s. Yet Clinton and her advisers had taken for granted that states like Michigan and Wisconsin would stick with a Democratic nominee, and that she could repeat Obama’s strategy of mobilizing the party’s ascendant liberal coalition rather than pursuing a more moderate course like her husband did 24 years ago.

But not until these voters were offered a Republican who ran as an unapologetic populist, railing against foreign trade deals and illegal immigration, did they move so drastically away from their ancestral political home.

To the surprise of many on the left, white voters who had helped elect the nation’s first black president, appeared more reluctant to line up behind a white woman.

Source: The Daily Star


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