In a stunning upset, Republican candidate Donald Trump rode a wave to victory as voters elected him the 45th President of the United States. Americans had to wait until the early hours of November 9 to find out the results. But by 2 a.m., it was clear that Trump had defeated the Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. Trump, 70, is a successful businessman and reality-TV star. He has never served in government.
At 2:47 a.m., the president-elect took the stage in a packed ballroom at the New York Hilton Hotel in midtown Manhattan. “It is time for us to come together as one united people,” he said as his supporters cheered. “Working together, we will begin the urgent task of rebuilding our nation and renewing the American dream.”
A Hard-Fought Battle
Around the country, voter turnout was up more than 4% from the last presidential election. A record 46 million ballots were cast before Election Day, according to the Associated Press. For several hours on Election night, races in key states like Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina were too close to call. These states have a significant number of Electoral College votes. To win the presidency, a candidate needed 270 electoral votes. By 2:30 a.m., Trump had already amassed 276 electoral votes to Clinton’s 218.
Trump’s victory surprised many experts and pollsters who had predicted Clinton would come out on top. The results of the TIME For Kids election poll also favored Clinton. She won that vote 6,893 to 3,540. Throughout the campaign, one of Trump’s main challenges was to persuade voters that he has the attitude, knowledge, and judgment to be president. In the end, he was able to attract more than enough voters to his side. Clinton, however, appeared to have won the popular vote nationally. As of 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, the popular vote was 59,203,857 million for Trump and 59,367,983 for Clinton.
Clinton conceded the election to Trump in a phone call at around 2:30 a.m. “Hillary has worked very long and very hard over a long period of time,” Trump told his supporters during his victory speech. “We owe her a major debt of gratitude for her service to our country.”
Clinton delivered her concession speech later in the day. Her family and her running mate, Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia, were at her side. “We must accept this result and then look to the future,” Clinton told her disappointed supporters. “Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead.”
Addressing young Americans, Clinton noted that throughout her career, she has experienced many successes and setbacks. “This loss hurts,” she said. “But please, never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it.”
Trump’s rise to the presidency comes after a long career as a real-estate developer. He built skyscrapers, casinos, resorts, and golf courses. He also ventured into other businesses, introducing Trump Steaks, Trump Natural Spring Water, and an airline called Trump Shuttle. In 2004, he became a TV star with the reality show The Apprentice. He then starred in its spin-off, The Celebrity Apprentice, which launched in 2008.
The Challenges Ahead
The new president and his vice president, Governor Mike Pence of Indiana, will take office on January 20. They can expect support from Congress. In addition to the White House, Republicans will control both the House of Representatives and the Senate with majorities in both Houses.
But Trump and his team will have to confront many difficult challenges. They will have to work to bring the country together after a divisive campaign that upset millions of Americans. Throughout the country, millions of Americans are out of work and struggling to make ends meet. The new president must also address international issues. They include the war on terrorism and the refugee crisis.
Still, Trump says he sees a bright future ahead. “Every single American will have the opportunity to realize his or her fullest potential,” he told his supporters. “Nothing we want for our future is beyond our reach.”
Americans must be 18 years old to vote. But that doesn’t mean kids can’t make their voices heard, too. More than 10,000 TFK readers made their choice for President by voting in TFK’s presidential poll. Hillary Clinton won TFK’s poll (now closed) with 66% of the votes.