Donald John Trump was elected the 45th president of the United States on Tuesday in a stunning culmination of an explosive, populist and polarizing campaign that took relentless aim at the institutions and long-held ideals of American democracy.
The surprise outcome, defying late polls that showed Hillary Clinton with a modest but persistent edge, threatened convulsions throughout the country and the world, where skeptics had watched with alarm as Mr. Trump’s unvarnished overtures to disillusioned voters took hold.
The triumph for Mr. Trump, 70, a real estate developer-turned-reality television star with no government experience, 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 Mrs. Clinton, but of President Obama, whose legacy is suddenly imperiled. 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 globalization and multiculturalism.
Worried a Trump victory could cause economic and global uncertainty, investors were in full flight from risky assets such as stocks, and the US dollar sank. In overnight trading, S&P 500 index futures fell 5 per cent to hit their so-called limit down levels, indicating they would not be permitted to trade any lower until regular US stock market hours on Wednesday (local time).
Trump, appearing with his family before cheering supporters in a New York hotel ballroom, said it was time to heal the divisions caused by the campaign and find common ground.
Victorious in a cliffhanger race that opinion polls had forecast was Clinton’s to win, 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 and would double US economic growth and embark on a project of renewal.
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. He has vowed to impose a 35 per cent tariff on goods exported to the United States by US companies that went abroad.
Both candidates, albeit Trump more than Clinton, had historically low popularity ratings in an election that many voters characterised as a choice between two unpleasant alternatives.