Donald Trump has won a stunning victory over Hillary Clinton, wrongfooting investors around the world and defying the political establishment with his message of making America great again.
The political outsider’s victory, accompanied by a Republican sweep of the House and Senate, marks a repudiation of Barack Obama’s record after eight years marked by a backlash against globalisation in the aftermath of the global financial crisis.
Mr Trump’s victories in critical swing states such as Ohio and Pennsylvania pointed to the likelihood that many white, working class “Trump Democrats” in the midwest had crossed party lines to vote for a businessman who vowed to bring jobs back to the US — echoing Ronald Reagan’s victory against Jimmy Carter in 1980.
CNN reported that Mrs Clinton had called Mr Trump to concede the election.
Mr Trump’s gains led to sharp swings in financial markets. The Mexican peso — seen as the prime gauge of the candidate’s fortunes — tumbled over 13 per cent, its biggest drop since the country’s 1994-1995 devaluation crisis to a record low of 20.7 to the dollar.
The dollar fell 3 per cent against the yen and 2.1 per cent against the euro. S&P 500 futures were down 5 per cent and gold was up 4.1 per cent. Investors marked the odds of a December rate rise down from 84 per cent to below 50 per cent.
Before the Associated Press called the race at 2.30am New York time, John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, told shell-shocked supporters at Manhattan’s Javits Center to go home, indicating that the former secretary of state had no plans to speak.
At a Trump event in the Hilton Hotel in midtown Manhattan, supporters became increasingly euphoric as news of his wins came through on large screens on either side of the ballroom stage. As Fox News called Wisconsin and Iowa for Mr Trump the crowd erupted with shouts of “USA, USA”, while images of despondent Democratic supporters at Mrs Clinton’s gathering prompted boos and shouts of “drain the swamp”.
“Thank God for Donald Trump. This is once in ten lifetimes that you see something like this,” said Joe Sparacio, a New York lawyer who had volunteered for the candidate and lived in one of his father’s buildings as a boy. “The American people are the greatest and they are a lot smarter than all these politicians give them credit for.”
The initially jubilant Clinton campaign party quickly turned sour as returns showed the tightening races in Virginia, Michigan, and Pennsylvania and Mr Trump running away with Ohio and Florida. The Clinton campaign, which had earlier broadcast details of everything from the Clintons’ dinner menu to the Election Day outfit of Mrs Clinton’s granddaughter, embarked on an hours-long radio silence with reporters.
In the VIP audience, Mrs Clinton’s friends and supporters stood shell-shocked underneath a glass ceiling which remained decidedly un-shattered, as people close to the campaign tried to comprehend how their internal polling had been so wrong.
Vin Weber, a former congressman who is close to House speaker Paul Ryan and was a vocal critic of Mr Trump, said: “Americas role in the world is suddenly an open question. But I wouldn’t assume the worst. I’d assume a question mark.”