Trump scores stun­ning vic­tory

Malta Independent - - FRONT PAGE - Julie Pace AP White House Cor­re­spon­dent

Don­ald Trump claimed his place yes­ter­day as Amer­ica’s 45th pres­i­dent, an as­ton­ish­ing vic­tory for the celebrity busi­ness­man and po­lit­i­cal novice who cap­i­talised on vot­ers’ eco­nomic anx­i­eties, took ad­van­tage of racial ten­sions and over­came a string of sex­ual as­sault al­le­ga­tions on his way to the White House.

Trump’s tri­umph over Hil­lary Clin­ton, not de­clared un­til well af­ter mid­night, will end eight years of Demo­cratic dom­i­nance of the White House. He’ll gov­ern with Congress fully un­der Repub­li­can con­trol and lead a coun­try deeply di­vided by his ran­corous cam­paign against Clin­ton. He faces frac­tures within his own party, too, given the nu­mer­ous Repub­li­cans who either tepidly sup­ported his nom­i­na­tion or never backed him at all.

As he claimed vic­tory, Trump urged Amer­i­cans to “come to­gether as one united peo­ple.”

Clin­ton, who hoped to be­come the na­tion’s first fe­male pres­i­dent, called her Repub­li­can ri­val to con­cede but did not plan to speak pub­licly un­til morn­ing. Trump, who spent much of the cam­paign urg­ing his

sup­port­ers on as they chanted “lock her up,” said the na­tion owed Clin­ton “a ma­jor debt of grat­i­tude” for her years of pub­lic ser­vice.

The Repub­li­can blasted through Democrats’ long­stand­ing fire­wall, car­ry­ing Penn­syl­va­nia and Wis­con­sin, states that hadn’t voted for a GOP pres­i­den­tial can­di­date since the 1980s. He needed to win nearly all of the com­pet­i­tive bat­tle­ground states, and he did just that, in­clud­ing Florida, Ohio, North Carolina and oth­ers.

Global stock mar­kets and US stock fu­tures plunged, re­flect­ing in­vestor con­cern over what a Trump­pres­i­dency might mean for the US and world economies and trade.

A New York real es­tate de­vel­oper who lives in a sparkling Man­hat­tan high­rise, Trump forged a strik­ing con­nec­tion with white, work­ing class Amer­i­cans who feel left be­hind in a chang­ing econ­omy and di­ver­si­fy­ing coun­try. He cast im­mi­gra­tion, both from Latin Amer­ica and the Mid­dle East, as the root of the problems plagu­ing many Amer­i­cans and tapped into fears of ter­ror­ism em­a­nat­ing at home and abroad.

GOP Se­nate can­di­dates fended off Demo­cratic chal­lengers in key states, in­clud­ing North Carolina, In­di­ana and Wis­con­sin. Repub­li­cans also main­tained their grip on the House.

Se­nate con­trol means Trump will have great lee­way in ap­point­ing Supreme Court jus­tices, which could mean a shift to the right that would last for decades.

Trump has pledged to usher in sweep­ing changes to US for­eign pol­icy, in­clud­ing build­ing a wall along the US-Mex­ico bor­der and sus­pend­ing im­mi­gra­tion from coun­tries with ter­ror­ism ties. He’s also praised Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin and spo­ken of build­ing a bet­ter re­la­tion­ship with Moscow, wor­ry­ing some in his own party who fear he’ll go easy on Putin’s provo­ca­tions.

Putin sent him a tele­gram of con­grat­u­la­tions early yes­ter­day.

Trump up­ended years of po­lit­i­cal con­ven­tion on his way to the White House, lev­el­ing harshly per­sonal in­sults against his ri­vals, deem­ing Mex­i­can im­mi­grants rapists and mur­der­ers, and vow­ing to tem­po­rar­ily sus­pend Mus­lim im­mi­gra­tion to the US He never re­leased his tax re­turns, break­ing with decades of cam­paign tra­di­tion, and es­chewed the kind of ro­bust data and field ef­forts that helped Obama win two terms in the White House, re­ly­ing in­stead on his large, free­wheel­ing ral­lies to en­er­gize sup­port­ers. His cam­paign was fre­quently in chaos, and he cy­cled through three cam­paign man­agers.

His fi­nal cam­paign man­ager, Kellyanne Con­way, touted the team’s ac­com­plish­ments as the fi­nal re­sults rolled in, writ­ing on Twit­ter that “rally crowds mat­ter” and “we ex­panded the map.”

Clin­ton spent months warn­ing vot­ers that Trump was un­fit and un­qual­i­fied to be pres­i­dent. But the for­mer sen­a­tor and sec­re­tary of state strug­gled to ar­tic­u­late a clear ra­tio­nale for her own can­di­dacy.

She faced per­sis­tent ques­tions about her hon­esty and trust­wor­thi­ness. Those trou­bles flared anew late in the race, when FBI Di­rec­tor James Comey an­nounced a re­view of new emails from her ten­ure at the State Depart­ment. On Sun­day, just two days be­fore Elec­tion Day, Comey said there was noth­ing in the ma­te­rial to war­rant crim­i­nal charges against Clin­ton.

Trump will in­herit an anx­ious na­tion, deeply di­vided by eco­nomic and ed­u­ca­tional op­por­tu­ni­ties, race and cul­ture.

Exit polls un­der­scored the frac­tures: Women na­tion­wide sup­ported Clin­ton by a dou­ble-digit mar­gin, while men were sig­nif­i­cantly more likely to back Trump. More than half of white vot­ers backed the Repub­li­can, while nearly 9 in 10 blacks and twothirds of His­pan­ics voted for the Demo­crat.

Doug Ratliff, a 67-year-old busi­ness­man from Rich­lands, Vir­ginia, said Trump’s elec­tion was one of the hap­pi­est days of his life.

“This county has had no hope,” said Ratliff, who owns strip malls in an area badly beaten by the col­lapse of the coal in­dus­try. “Things will change. I know he’s not go­ing to be per­fect. But he’s got a heart. And he gives peo­ple hope.”

The Repub­li­can Party’s tor­tured re­la­tion­ship with its nom­i­nee was ev­i­dent right to the end. For­mer Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush and wife Laura Bush de­clined to back Trump, in­stead se­lect­ing “none of the above” when they voted for pres­i­dent, ac­cord­ing to spokesman Freddy Ford.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, a re­luc­tant Trump sup­porter, called the busi­ness­man ear­lier in the evening to con­grat­u­late him, ac­cord­ing to a Ryan spokes­woman. Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell said the Amer­i­can peo­ple “have cho­sen a new di­rec­tion for our na­tion.”

Obama, who cam­paigned vig­or­ously for Clin­ton through­out the fall and hoped his own ris­ing pop­u­lar­ity would lift her can­di­dacy, was silent on Trump’s vic­tory, but he is ex­pected to in­vite him to the White House this week.

It will be a po­ten­tially awk­ward meet­ing with the man who pushed false ru­mors that the pres­i­dent might have been born out­side the United States.

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