Today in History: Trump wins the presidency, defeats Hillary Clinton

by Alex Caldwell

Photo: Alamy

Businessman Donald Trump, a political outsider, was elected the 45th President of the United States on Nov. 8, 2016, one of the most stunning upsets in history.

Despite his being down in nearly all polls, the tycoon and television star defeated the former Democrat Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with an impressive win in the Electoral College.

Trump had been severely underestimated by pundits since he first launched his campaign at Trump Tower. He went on to first defeat 16 GOP candidates during the primaries, and later inspired a coalition of working-class voters fed up with the status quo to propel him to victory in the general election.

Virtually all media outlets predicted a landslide win for Clinton. Newsweek even printed a magazine edition titled “Madam President” with a cover picture of Clinton. The magazine later had to reprint the edition to feature President Trump.

Commentator Candace Owens posted a picture of her copy of the famous magazine, which she had signed by Trump, to her account on X (formerly Twitter), saying that the edition will “someday be in a museum.”

The New York Times election forecast also gave Clinton an 85 percent chance of winning, and 538’s forecast gave her a 71 percent chance of victory, predicting she would win states such as Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

Trump ultimately won these three rustbelt states and many others, becoming the first Republican presidential candidate since then-Vice President George H.W. Bush in 1988 to break the rustbelt’s reliably blue wall.

Along with carrying all of the states won by Mitt Romney in 2012, Trump flipped states like Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, winning 304 Electoral College votes against Clinton’s 227.

Clinton, who was so confident she would win that she did not even have a concession speech prepared, called Trump to concede the race on election night just before 3:00 a.m. ET.

Trump became the fifth president to lose the popular vote but win the election. He was also at the time the oldest person to be elected president at age 70, and was the first to have not held prior elected office or serve in the armed forces.

Trump succeeded former President Barack Obama, and was sworn in as president on Jan. 20, 2017.

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