Defying nearly every poll, Donald Trump will be the next president of the United States.
Most poll aggregators had given Trump no greater than a 20% chance of winning the presidency going into the election, but Trump defied expectations, sweeping to victory in swing states most pundits had thought safe for Clinton. Trump opened up an early lead by taking several traditionally safe Republican states like Indiana and South Carolina. But then he took the crucial swing states of Ohio, North Carolina and Florida.
But vote totals in the swing states of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin were stubbornly slow coming in. A little after 2 a.m. EST, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta, told crowds at her campaign that she wouldn’t be speaking that night.
While Clinton trailed in all three states Tuesday, vote totals were still coming in from heavily Democratic districts — and Clinton would have won the presidency should she have taken all three contested states. However, faced with the inevitable electoral math, Clinton called Trump at around 2:45 a.m. to concede the race.
In his victory speech, Trump struck a conciliatory note, praising Clinton and insisting that he would reach across the aisle.
“I’ve just received a call from Secretary Clinton. She congratulated us — it’s about us — about our victory, and I congratulated her and her family on a very, very hard-fought campaign,” Trump said. “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. Now it’s time to bind the wounds of division in our country.
“I pledge to every citizen of our land, that I will be president to all Americans, and this is so important to me,” he said. “For those who’ve chosen not to support me in the past — and there were a few people — I’m reaching out to you for your guidance and your help, so together we can unify our great country.”
Journalists covering the election seemed gobsmacked by the distance between pollsters’ predictions and the result of the election.
“We’re going to study this for awhile, I think,” MSNBC commentator Chris Matthews said.
“For awhile? Try the Civil War!” Democratic commentator James Carville said. “There’ll be a Ken Burns film about this.”
Investors worldwide responded to Trump's election with a "frantic sell-off," according to the Los Angeles TImes. Dow Jones futures plummeted by as much as 800 points as markets reacted to a probable Trump presidency, and were still down by about 350 points before the New York Stock Exchange opened Wednesday. At one point, the Mexican peso had fallen more than 10% against the dollar, and gold rose as investors took shelter in its relative safety.
However, markets largely recovered after the initial shock, and major US stock indexes were up about 1% by midday, according to a New York Times report.