Republican Donald J. Trump was elected 45th president of the United States, dominating the electoral college with 276 votes and a 48 percent popular vote.
“This is a historic night. The American people have spoken and the American people have elected their new champion,” Vice President Mike Pence said in his speech presenting the new president-elect to Republican supporters.
Despite polls and media outlets predicting that Secretary Hillary Clinton, who finished the race with 218 electoral votes and a 47 percent popular vote, would take the election in a landslide, the results proved that the silent Trump voters came out in large support of the Republican candidate’s promise to “Make America Great Again.”
“The silent majority is back, and we’re going to take the country back,” Trump said in a July 2016 campaign speech, referring to the term the Nixon campaign coined in 1969 to describe the large number of voters who didn’t agree with the noisy minority of Vietnam War protesters.
Indeed, businessman Trump, 70, did take the country back Tuesday night, defeating Clinton, 69, in a blowout race ending with his win in Pennsylvania. CNN announced his victory just after 2:45 a.m. EST.
“Because his win was so overwhelming, we’re calling it right now,” CNN reporters said.
The crowd of Trump supporters in New York City cheered and chanted “USA” as Trump took the stage for his acceptance speech.
“Now it is time for America to bind the wounds of division … To all Republicans and Democrats and independents across this nation, I say it is time for us to come together as one united people,” Trump said. “I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be president for all of Americans, and this is so important to me. For those who have chosen not to support me in the past, of which there were a few people, I’m reaching out to you for your guidance and your help so that we can work together and unify our great country.”
CNN reporters on the scene said Clinton supporters didn’t take the decision lightly. While Trump pulled further into the lead, they were seen crying and leaving the venue as early as 11:50 p.m. EST where she was set to speak after the results were in.
It was announced just after 2 a.m. EST that Clinton would not speak early Wednesday morning, according to the CNN broadcast of Clinton’s campaign manager John Podesta’s speech, despite the losing candidate traditionally giving a concession speech.
“We’re not going to have anything more to say tonight, so listen to me, everybody should head home, get some sleep and we’ll have more to say tomorrow,” Podesta said, Clinton’s campaign manager said in his speech to an audience of her supporters.
Clinton privately conceded to Trump via phone call around 2:40 a.m. EST, congratulating him and confirming his win, according to CNN.
“I’ve just received a call from Secretary Clinton. She congratulated us. It’s about us. On our victory, and I congratulated her and her family on a very, very hard-fought campaign,” Trump said in his speech. “I mean, she fought very hard. Hillary has worked very long and very hard over a long period of time, and we owe her a major debt of gratitude for her service to our country.”
Despite the strong public doubt, Trump fought his way to the top using unconventional tactics, staying at the forefront of the media because of his controversial rhetoric and policy positions.
Despite being a real-estate titan and businessman, Trump has often dabbled in politics, though never fully committing his energy to the system.
In 1980, he was asked by reporter Rona Barrett if he would like to be the president of the United States. Trump replied, “I really don’t believe I would, but I would like to see somebody as the president who can do the job and there are very capable people in this country.”
When asked by Barrett why he wouldn’t dedicate himself to public service, he said “I would dedicate my life to this country, but I see it as being a mean life. And I also see it that somebody with strong views, and somebody with the kind of views that maybe are a little bit unpopular, which may be right, but may be unpopular, wouldn’t necessarily have a chance of getting elected against somebody with no great brain but a big smile.”
Again in 1987, Oprah asked him if he would consider running for president and Trump again denied that he would want to be president. “I just probably wouldn’t do it Oprah, I probably wouldn’t, but I do get tired of seeing what’s happening with this country and if it got so bad, I would never want to rule it out totally because I really am tired of seeing what’s happening with this country.”
In the same year, Trump spent close to $100,000 to publish an advertisement in the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Boston Globe. The ad was titled “There’s nothing wrong with America’s Foreign Defense Policy that a little backbone can’t cure,” in which he criticized the U.S. government for wasting money defending countries that couldn’t afford to defend themselves.
Fast forward 29 years to June 16, 2015 when Trump announced his run for president at Trump Tower in New York City.
The road to the presidency was met with major challenges for Trump, being one of 17 Republican candidates, overseen under the media’s magnifying glass and battling seasoned public servant and former first lady in Clinton who made it this far on the road to the presidency.
The rhetoric of Trump’s campaign ruffled many feathers, not just in America, but globally. Among many issues, he proposed to ban Muslim immigration into the U.S., deport all illegal immigrants and build a wall on our southern border that he swears Mexico will pay for.
One of the more significant scandals involving Trump was the leak of an audiotape from 2005 in which he made lewd and objectifying comments about women.
Trump will be met with many problems beyond the personal scandals he faced in the election as he tackles the difficulties of being chief executive in a nation wrought with growing threats from ISIS and pending foreign policy decisions concerning the Middle East, high unemployment and issues in health care reform.
“The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer,” Trump said in his acceptance speech.
Trump said he has plans to fix the nation’s inner cities, rebuild infrastructure, put millions of people to work, take care of the veterans, embark upon a project of national growth and renewal, double economic growth, have strong relationships with willing nations and no longer settle for anything less than the best, reclaiming the country’s destiny.
Trump’s swing-state wins stunned the media, election predictors and many Clinton supporters across the country.
The new president-elect gained support from white, working-class voters in rural areas of Ohio and even persuaded the more affluent voters of North Carolina. In addition, he swayed Pennsylvania and Michigan who haven’t voted Republican since 1988, according to CNN.
Florida had one of the largest impacts on the 2016 election, setting Trump on the track to victory. It took over three hours to report the swing state’s final numbers.
Despite the sunshine state’s 129 percent surge of Latino voters in comparison to numbers from 2008 and Clinton’s support in Miami-Dade, Florida’s largest county, Trump overcame Clinton’s early lead, winning the state.
While she started out with 49.9 percent and Trump at 47.3 percent just before 8 p.m. EST, the tides changed around 8:45 p.m. EST and held strong, with Trump taking Florida just after 11:30 p.m. EST with 49.1 percent and Clinton at 47.7 percent, according to CNN.
Trump said this election has not witnessed a Republican campaign, but rather a movement that encompassed voters from all races, backgrounds and beliefs.
“It’s been what they call a historic event, but to be really historic, we have to do a great job, and I promise you that I will not let you down,” Trump said. “And I can only say that while the campaign is over, our work on this movement is now really just beginning.”