Claiming victory, Trump told a rally in New York early Wednesday morning that it's now time to "bind the wounds of division" and promised an era of "national renewal." He said defeated Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton had phoned him to concede and congratulate him, and praised her because she "fought very hard."
He added: "We owe her a major debt of gratitude" for her many years of public service.
As of early Wednesday, Trump, the Republican nominee, had won 48 percent of the popular vote to Clinton's 47 percent, according to CNN. He had won at least 289 electoral votes to Clinton's 218, with 270 needed for victory and some contests yet to be decided.
Trump, 70, a billionaire real estate developer from New York who has never held elected office, defied expectations and won the traditional battlegrounds of Florida, North Carolina and Ohio. He also took Pennsylvania and Wisconsin – states that had been expected to go Democratic. Trump held Republican regions such as the South and rural areas across the country. He rolled up huge majorities among white voters, while the big liberal cities and major states of New York and California went to Clinton. She also did well among minority voters and women, but not well enough to overcome Trump's leads elsewhere.
The vote confounded pollsters, pundits and conventional politicians who had predicted Clinton would win a solid victory. Trump's triumph seemed based on an overwhelming sense in Middle America, the white working class and rural America that the nation's leaders had abandoned them, failed to understand their economic plight, neglected their problems and disrespected their lifestyles and their values.
Addressing these grievances, Trump told his victory rally, "The forgotten men and women of our country will no longer be forgotten."
There was deep anxiety about both major party candidates, according to exit polling by Morning Consult/Politico. Asked to identify the attributes of the candidates, voters described Trump most frequently as "stubborn" (81 percent), "arrogant" (78 percent), someone who "says what he believes" (68 percent), "reckless" (60 percent), "sexist" (59 percent) and a person who "changes his mind" (59 percent).
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