Trump pulls off triumph by wooing white working-class voters into fold
Donald Trump pulled off his shock election victory by reviving support among white working-class voters who had deserted the Republican party for two decades.
The so-called 'Reagan Democrats' returned to the party in numbers not seen since the 1980s, when they helped Ronald Reagan to win election to the Oval Office twice.
They confounded the polls by turning out across a swathe of swing states and the Midwest to hand a humiliating defeat to Hillary Clinton.
Tens of millions of women and Hispanics - thought to have been alienated by Mr Trump - also backed the Republican.
Mr Trump will today travel to Washington to meet Barack Obama at the White House. He pledged to heal America after a bruising campaign, saying that the "forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer".
He told supporters: "Now it's time for America to bind the wounds of division. It is time for us to come together as one united people." Less than a day after leading chants of "lock her up", Mr Trump said Mrs Clinton was owed "a major debt of gratitude for her service to our country".
Mr Trump's election sparked some protests in the US, with thousands of demonstrators taking to the streets of New York last night and other protests taking place in Oakland, Oregon, Seattle, California, and Arizona.
On the day after one of the most dramatic elections in US history:
- Mrs Clinton delivered a frank concession speech, holding back tears as she apologised to supporters and admitted that defeat was "disappointing and painful".
- Taoiseach Enda Kenny defended describing Mr Trump as "racist and dangerous" during the election campaign, saying he was referring to comments the businessman made in "the heat of battle in a primary election".
- British Prime Minister Theresa May said she was looking forward to working with Mr Trump and building on the "enduring and special relationship" between the US and the UK.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin congrated Mr Trump and said he wanted to "restore" relations with the US, while German Chancellor Angela Merkel offered a more lukewarm welcome.
- Mr Obama said "we're all on the same team now", adding that the whole nation was "rooting" for Mr Trump.
Mrs Clinton had entered election day with a small but significant lead in the vast majority of opinion polls. Exit polls published after many of the state ballots closed also suggested she was on course for the White House.
But Mr Trump had gathered substantial support from voters who had not been expected to turn out for him in such large numbers. His victory owed much to his appeal among white, working-class voters in key swing states.
He won the support of 67 per cent of voters without a college degree, a swing of 14 per cent for the Republicans compared with 2012.
Since the 'Reagan Democrats' helped the Republicans to a landslide in the 1980s, the party's presidential candidates have repeatedly tried and failed to win back their support.
"The blue-blooded Bushes did not inspire them, and Mitt Romney left them cold. Trump brought them back," said former US ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton.
His promise to take on the "corrupt" elites proved decisive, along with his pledge to repeal the Obamacare health insurance system amid concerns about spiralling premiums.
Mr Trump became the first Republican candidate to win the key swing state of Wisconsin since Mr Reagan in 1984. In Pennsylvania and Michigan, he was the first Republican winner since 1988.
Despite a series of scandals during the campaign, including a leaked tape in which he discussed groping women, Mr Trump managed to secure 42 per cent of the female vote compared with Mrs Clinton's 54 per cent, a swing of just one per cent to the Democrat candidate since 2012. Mr Trump won the support of the majority of white women.
He also secured more Latino voters than Mr Romney, the Republican candidate four years ago, despite pledging to build a "great wall" on the Mexican border. Their support was probably decisive in Florida.
The Republicans also retained control of the Senate and Congress, suggesting Mr Trump may find it easier than Mr Obama to pass legislation.
After losing a series of key states, Mrs Clinton eventually conceded defeat during a phone call early yesterday morning. (©Daily Telegraph, London)