12 December 2018
US President-elect Donald Trump shakes hands with running mate Mike Pence after delivering his victory speech in New York. Photo: Reuters
US President-elect Donald Trump shakes hands with running mate Mike Pence after delivering his victory speech in New York. Photo: Reuters

Trump defeats Clinton in stunning upset, rattles world markets

Donald Trump was elected the 45th president of the United States in a repudiation of the political establishment that jolted financial markets, and likely will reorder the nation’s priorities and fundamentally alter America’s relationship with the world.

The real-estate developer and reality-TV star, a Republican who has never held public office, defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton after a punishing campaign that exposed searing divides in the American public, Bloomberg reports.

She would have been America’s first woman president.

Trump, 70, was projected to be the victor early Wednesday by the Associated Press and television networks after Wisconsin pushed him over the 270 Electoral College vote threshold needed to become president-elect.

When sworn in on Jan. 20, Trump will preside over a government he’s called corrupt and unworthy of trust.

In financial markets, panicked traders rushed to unwind bets they piled into over the last two days amid polls suggesting Clinton would sweep to victory.

Futures on the Standard & Poors 500 plunged by 5 percent, triggering trading limits.

Mexico’s peso, which has weakened as Trump’s prospects improved, sank by the most in two decades on concern a Trump win would lead to more protectionist US trade policies.

Republicans also maintained their control of the Senate as they scored wins in a handful of tight races among the 34 being contested.

In the House, all 435 seats were on the ballot across the country and Republicans were forecast to hold their majority, though with a slimmer margin.

That will give Republicans the opportunity to enact the agenda that Trump rode to victory, including repealing the Affordable Care Act, cracking down on immigration and rewriting trade deals.

Trump tallied up victory after victory in Republican strongholds and crucial swing states including Florida, North Carolina, Iowa and Ohio.

By Wednesday morning he had breached Clinton’s electoral firewall in the Rust Belt by winning Pennsylvania, a state that had been in the Democratic column since 1992.

Both Trump and Clinton had historically low popularity ratings, although Trump’s were worse than Clinton’s, in an election that many voters characterized as a choice between two unpleasant alternatives, Reuters said.

Before Tuesday’s voting, Clinton led Trump, 44 percent to 39 percent in the last Reuters/Ipsos national tracking poll.

A Reuters/Ipsos national Election Day poll offered some clues to Clinton’s weakness.

It found she underperformed expectations with women, winning their vote by only about 7 percent, similar to President Barack Obama when he won re-election in 2012.

And while she won Hispanics, black and millennial voters, Clinton did not win those groups by greater margins than Obama did in 2012.

Younger blacks did not support Clinton like they did Obama, as she won eight of 10 black voters between the ages of 35 and 54. Obama won almost 100 percent of those voters in 2012.

As Trump’s chances of winning the presidency increased, Mexico’s peso plunged to its lowest-ever levels.

In a presidential campaign that focused more on the character of the candidates than on policy, Clinton and Trump accused each other of being fundamentally unfit to lead the country, Reuters said.

Trump entered the race 17 months ago and defeated a field of some 16 rival Republican candidates in the primary contests to win his party’s presidential nomination.

He survived a series of seemingly crippling blows, many of them self-inflicted, including the emergence in October of a 2005 video in which he boasted about making unwanted sexual advances on women.

He apologized but within days, several women emerged to say he had groped them, allegations he denied.

He was judged the loser of all three presidential debates with Clinton and she led him by varying margins for months in opinion polls.

Trump won avid support among a core base of white non-college educated workers with his promise to be the “greatest jobs president that God ever created”.

He has vowed to impose a 35 percent tariff on goods exported to the US by US companies that went abroad.

His unpredictable nature, frequent insults and unorthodox proposals led to campaign feuds with a long list of people, including Muslims, the disabled, Republican US Senator John McCain, Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, the family of a slain Muslim-American soldier, a Miss Universe winner and a federal judge of Mexican heritage.

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