Updated: 10:35 a.m.
In a night that no one could have predicted and of which polls gave no clue, billionaire Donald Trump took the White House in one of the closest elections in years by holding former Secreatary of State Hillary Clinton off from the needed 270 electoral votes.
However, Clinton held the popular vote taking 59,238,524 votes to Trump’s 59,088,024, making her the fifth presidential candidate in U.S. history to win the popular vote but lose the election, according to NPR.
President Obama congratulated Trump soon after his victory became solidified and invited him to the White House to begin the transition process between administrations.
“Ensuring a smooth transition of power is one of the top priorities the President identified at the beginning of the year and a meeting with the President-elect is the next step,” said a statement released by the White House early Wednesday.
The tense race stretched into the early morning hours Wednesday, but the path to victory for Clinton grew thinner and thinner as time went on, ultimately forcing her to concede the election to Trump, who also becomes the first president to take office with no experience in public office or the military.
“Every single American will have the opportunity to realize his or her fullest potential,” Trump said at his victory party, pledging to rebuild the American infrastructure, “fix” inner cities and help veterans, all campaign promises he made, but provided little detail as to how he would do it.
However, Trump’s ascent to becoming President-Elect was marked through a campaign wrought with racial rhetoric, hostile language, and even vulgarities. It was, in fact, hard to hide the race factor in the campaign in which Trump had called Mexican immigrants “rapists,” and pledged to deport millions of Muslims as well as myriad insults to women.
On CNN, political commentator Van Jones voiced the election in terms of race, perhaps coining a new term. “This is a whitelash against a changing country,” Jones said. “This is a whitelash against a Black president in part and that’s the part where the pain comes.”
Trump is expected to take office in January, succeeding President Obama, who won two terms in which among his major accomplishments were the Affordable Care Act and the capture and execution of terrorist leader Osama bin Laden. But he will also step into a White House in which at least half of the nation was fervently against him. That number includes many Republicans who distanced themselves from him when allegations of sexual misconduct surface against Trump in recent weeks.
Reaction to Clinton’s loss ranged from disapointment to outright disgust, with many Twitter hashtags like #NotMyPresident and #MourninginAmerica popping up.
This sht traces back to the damn OJSimpson verdict.A long trail of Black smiles that the USA got tired of seeing. Its 1877 regurgitated…
— Chuck D (@MrChuckD) November 9, 2016
I was wrong. I thought America couldn’t possibly disappoint me more than it already had. But, I was wrong. RIP America.
— Talib Kweli Greene (@TalibKweli) November 9, 2016
During the campaign Trump also pledged to repeal everything Obama accomplished including the ACA, multiple trade deals and to stop his Supreme Court favorite leaving it with eight members. Although he will enter office with a Republican House and Senate, there are enough Democrats in Congress to create filibusters on each issue, so it remains to be seen what Trump will be able to turnback.
Clinton supporters in New York at first had been told to go home and that there would be no announcement from that camp until the morning, but just before 3 a.m., she called Trump to concede defeat. Trump praised her for a hard fought campaign and her years of public service.
But to the dismay of millions, Trump’s elevation to the presidency is a shocking, catastrophic blow that threatens the security and identity of a bitterly divided nation.
Many see the president-elect as a racist, a bigot and a misogynist unfit for the office.
“He scares the daylights out of me,” said Wendy Bennett, a Democrat and government worker from Reno, Nevada, who cast her ballot for Clinton. “I think his personality is going to start World War III. He reminds me of Hitler.”
Lisa Moore, a registered Republican from Glen Rock, New Jersey, crossed party lines to vote for Clinton, who would have been the nation’s first female president.
“As a woman, in good conscience, and as the mother of a daughter, I can’t vote for somebody who’s so morally reprehensible,” said Moore, an exercise instructor.