America woke up Wednesday to a new and unexpected reality — Donald J. Trump will be the next president of the United States.
In a forceful rebuke to the political establishment, the Manhattan mogul and reality TV star was elected the 45th president following one of the most bitter and wildly unpredictable campaigns in the nation’s history.
Trump, in an upset for the ages, defeated former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton by running the table in battleground states across the country — from Florida and North Carolina to Ohio and Pennsylvania.
“THE FORGOTTEN MEN AND WOMEN OF OUR COUNTRY WILL BE FORGOTTEN NO LONGER”
He declared victory Tuesday night before a large crowd of enthusiastic supporters, pledging to help unite the country after his rancorous battle with Clinton.
“Now it’s time for America to bind the wounds of division,” Trump said at the Midtown Hilton in New York City. “I say it is time for us to come together as one united people.” He congratulated Clinton on a “very, very hard-fought campaign.”
Clinton called Trump sometime after 2 a.m. ET to concede the race, he told supporters.
She did not address her supporters on Tuesday night and her campaign chairman John Podesta told her stunned followers not to give up hope in the face of likely defeat.
“Let’s get those votes counted and let’s bring this home,” he told a subdued crowd from the stage of the Javits Center in Manhattan.
Trump, 70, triumphed across the South, Plains and the Rust Belt, where the Republican candidate’s volatile mix of economic populism and freewheeling bravado resonated with millions of white working-class voters alienated by globalization and cultural change.
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Trump forges ‘white, working class path’ 3:06
“The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer,” Trump said during his victory speech.
Clinton, 69, who entered Election Day with a modest lead in most national polls, saw her narrow advantage fizzle away in crucial states like Pennsylvania and North Carolina. She carried traditional Democratic strongholds in the Northeast, the West, and her home state of Illinois, earning her at least 218 electoral votes.
But it was not enough. And now President-elect Trump is poised to be the first person to be sworn in as commander-in-chief without having held elected office or served in the U.S. armed forces.
His unexpected victory also dashed the dreams of millions of women who had hoped Clinton would shatter the last glass ceiling and become the nation’s first female U.S. president.
Here’s the current tally, according to NBC News projections:
California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine (three of four electoral votes), Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Mexico, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington state and Washington, D.C.
Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida (apparent winner), Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Montana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska (four of five electoral votes), North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Too close to call: Arizona, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota and New Hampshire.
Trump’s victory gives the GOP a lock on power in Washington. NBC News projects that Republicans will retain control of the Senate and the House of Representatives.
He won despite the fact that early exit polls showed that large majorities of voters had an unfavorable view of both him and Clinton.
Trump’s victory capped a brutal campaign that left his reputation — and that of his rival — in shreds.
Considered the longest of long-shots, Trump launched his presidential bid last year as an outsider and quickly rose to the top of a crowded Republican field.
He persevered despite a series of self-inflicted errors like attacking the family of a fallen soldier and the intense scrutiny of his charitable foundation and real estate holdings. The release of audio that featured Trump bragging about sexually assaulting women, and the flurry of women who came forward accusing him of sexual misconduct, threatened to derail his chances in the final weeks of the election.
Meanwhile, Clinton entered the race as a Democratic favorite who was pulled to the left by a strong primary challenge from Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. But the controversy over her use of a private email server while secretary of state hung like a dark cloud hung over her campaign. Questions over whether she compromised classified secrets continued to dog her until just days before voters went to the polls.
Heading into Election Day, Clinton was leading Trump by 4 points in the last NBC/Wall Street Journal poll taken before Tuesday. By that evening, it became clear that that narrow advantage was a mirage.