In what amounts to a greater political upset than the 1948 victory of underdog Harry Truman over Thomas E. Dewey, New York billionaire Donald J. Trump, the Republican nominee for president, defeated the heavily favored Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, who had been widely expected to become the nation’s first woman president, a generation after her husband, Bill Clinton, served two terms as the nation’s chief executive.
Instead, it will be Trump, who has never before held political office, who will occupy the white House as the 45th President of the U.S.
Trump’s triumph came via unexpected strength in key states, not only the much-mentioned “battleground states” of Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, and Iowa, but in a tier of Midwestern rust-belt states — Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania — that had been regarded as an impregnable Democratic “blue wall.”
Equally surprising was the fact that Republicans won enough seats to maintain control of the Senate, with at least 51 seats versus no more than 47 for the Democrats in the Congress that will be sworn in, along with Trump and his vice-presidential running mate Mike Pence, in January.
Though the first returns on Tuesday from Florida were ambivalent, auguring a tight contest between Democrat Clinton and Republican Trump, the GOP nominee soon began to pull away finally in the race for that state’s 29 electoral votes. Trump would then be declared the winner in Ohio and North Carolina.
The big surprises would come in the domino-like succession of apparent victories for Trump in Michigan, site of last-minute Hail Mary efforts by Trump, the neighboring Midwestern state of Wisconsin, which had been regarded as safe for the Democratic nominee, and even Minnesota. Contests in such other battleground states as New Hampshire and Arizona also seemed to be going Trump’s way.
It remained to be seen whether Trumpiiu or Clinton would end up ahead in the very close national popular vote.
At some point after midnight, Central Standard Time, Clinton reportedly made a concession call to Trump, who responded with a relatively gracious victory speech to his supporters in Trump Tower, his signature building in Manhattan, several blocks from the Javits Center, from which dejected Clinton supporters were even then streaming.
In his speech, Trump said it was "time to bind the wounds of division....and come together as one people." He said the nation owed Clinton, a former First Lady, U.S. Senator, and Secretary of State "gratitude for her years of service." Clinton planned public remarks of her own for Wednesday morning.
Further details to follow.