Donald Trump has upended the conventional wisdom of political pundits, pollsters, and the media in a stunning upset over Hillary Clinton to be elected the 45th president of the United States.
Eighteen months after the announcement of his presidential bid was roundly met with guffaws, Trump is set to take control of the Oval Office and all the prerogatives that entails. Trump defied traditional political ideology and ran on a populist platform railing against free trade, promising to avoid messy foreign entanglements, and vowing to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border to stop illegal immigration. He often used racially charged rhetoric, repeated statements that were demonstrably untrue, and faced multiple accusations of sexual assault and harassment. But Trump’s voters either didn’t know or didn’t care.
With Republicans likely to control both houses of Congress, Trump will now have the opportunity to enact his agenda. And given the wide-ranging powers wielded by the chief executive, he will have the ability to almost immediately begin renegotiating international trade deals, withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement, and altering international alliances like NATO — all things he has said he will do.
Trump and his promise to “Make America Great Again” tapped into deep disaffection among primarily white and rural voters who felt left behind in a country dramatically changed by globalization and growing minority populations. On Tuesday those white voters, especially those without college degrees, overwhelmingly cast their ballots for Trump, according to exit polls. (His margin of victory among whites may be even higher — the exit poll’s imperfect methodology led it to undercount white votes in 2012.)
Trump’s victory and the uncertainty it brings to business-as-usual was met with panic in some areas of the country — notably among the establishment in finance, politics, and media — and righteous glee among those who felt they had long been neglected and looked down upon. “You can only keep the middle class of America down for so long,” said popular conservative radio host Laura Ingraham on Twitter. “You can’t use the razzle-dazzle and celebrities to fool the ppl anymore.”
On Wall Street meanwhile, DOW futures immediately went down 800 points in after-hours trading and Japan’s Nikkei dropped 4 percent. Founder of Vox Ezra Klein tweeted that “So many of the people who will truly suffer for this election have not yet been born, and had no chance to vote.”
Before Election Day, almost all professional pollsters predicted a Clinton victory ranging from 2 to 7 points. A fresh round of polling on Monday showed Clinton with a lead of at least 3 points, a margin of victory that had not been overcome in the modern polling era. But when the votes were cast, the polls proved wrong. And Donald Trump is now Mr. President-Elect.
Mimi Dwyer contributed reporting.