Donald Trump is going to be the next president of the United States.
The billionaire businessman who never before held elected office shocked America and the world, defeating Hillary Clinton in an extraordinary rebuke to the nation’s political class after an ugly and divisive race that will go down as the most stunning upset in American history.
The nation, the markets and the world stood stunned, wondering what would come next. The Dow Futures sank as much as 750 points. The Mexico peso plunged.
“It is time for us to come together as one united people,” Trump said in a victory speech, following a concession call from Clinton at nearly 3 a.m. Eastern. “It’s time.”
Trump led an unseen rebellion of working-class voters, most of them white and so disgusted by a stalled status quo that they voted for a candidate promising dramatic change, even as Trump set disapproval records for a winning candidate. He also tapped into ethnic antagonism, vowing strict immigration controls, a ban on Muslims and a deportation force, promising an era of restoration.
“The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer,” Trump declared.
Clinton had been heavily favored to win. She led national polls and in most battleground states heading into the election. Her allies were so confident that a supportive super PAC had actually redirected millions to other races.
But Trump had been underestimated from the first day of his candidacy, when he descended the gilded escalators of Trump Tower to bash Mexican immigrants as “rapists.” He went on to dispatch 16 rivals in the Republican primary before mounting a vicious campaign against Clinton in which he paraded her husband’s infidelities, repeatedly called her corrupt and questioned whether she could govern as a woman.
For 17 months, the reality television showman mesmerized the public with his unvarnished tweets, constant television presence and raucous mass rallies. His full-throttle grip on the national imagination enriched the news media and eroded standards of political civility.
It made him a hero to his fans. And they voted in droves.
In Mahoning County, a longtime Democratic stronghold and the home of Youngstown, Ohio, Trump held Clinton to roughly 50 percent. President Obama had carried the county with 63.2 percent of the vote. That was the story in place after place, as Trump sliced deeply into once large Democratic margins and built massive leads among rural voters.
“This is a movement. It’s more than a normal political election,” said Sen. Jeff Sessions, the Alabama Republican who was the first GOP senator to endorse Trump in late February. “It transcends normal party politics.”
For Clinton, the loss is especially brutal. She had meticulously planned her victory party at the Javits Center in Manhattan, symbolically under an enormous glass ceiling that she hoped to break through. Instead, it was the dreams and aspirations of her supporters that were shattered.