Donald Trump, defying the pundits and polls to the end, was projected to defeat Hillary Clinton in Tuesday’s presidential election and claim an establishment-stunning victory that exposes the depth of voter dissatisfaction – and signals immense changes ahead for American policy at home and abroad.
Seventeen months after the billionaire tycoon’s Trump Tower entrance into the race, the first-time candidate once dismissed by the political elite will become the 45th president, Fox News projects.
Trump will be the oldest president in U.S. history, entering the Oval Office at age 70. With her defeat, Clinton falls short in her second bid to become the first female president of the United States.
Trump told supporters early Wednesday morning that Clinton has called to congratulate them.
“It is time for us to come together as one united people,” Trump told a cheering crowd in New York.
Amid Trump’s victory, Republicans also held onto their majority in the House and were close to doing so in the Senate, improving Trump’s chances of advancing his agenda in office.
A surge of support in key battlegrounds – and especially surprise victories in states like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin – helped propel Trump to victory. The GOP nominee built a commanding lead early on with wins in heavily contested North Carolina, Florida, Ohio and Iowa.
Clinton won her share of battlegrounds, including Virginia and Nevada and Colorado, but could not make up for Trump’s strong performance in other states thought to favor the Democrat.
The billionaire businessman’s victory marked a remarkable upset and turnaround, after he had been complaining amid a rough patch just weeks ago the vote could be “rigged” against him.
Clinton was still thought to have the clear advantage in the electoral map going into Tuesday’s vote, yet the polls had been tightening in the race’s closing days.
His victory could demonstrate just how much the dynamics were shifting in his favor – and perhaps how his true support was elusive all along to pollsters and others gauging the race.