Trump flummoxes experts, wins

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AP

Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally, Sunday, Nov. 6, 2016, in Sioux City, Iowa. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

In the closest presidential election since 2000, Republican Donald Trump stunned the country by upsetting Democrat Hillary Clinton to capture the Oval Office.

Early Wednesday morning, the Associated Press declared Trump the winner with more than the requisite 270 electoral votes.

Trump won in Iowa, propelled by voters who are deeply unhappy with the federal government and say they want change, even though many have reservations about both candidates, according to exit polls conducted by Edison Research for the Associated Press and television networks.

Trump won the support of white men and those with less than a college education, while Democrat Hillary Clinton drew support from college-educated women, minority voters, and younger voters. At the same time, voters were skeptical, doubting the honesty and trustworthiness of both candidates.

John Lichtey, 64, of West Des Moines, who voted Democratic across the board, said Trump could say whatever he wanted and still be supported.

“He doesn’t even have to be truthful, he doesn’t even have to be decent,” Lichtey said. “I’m nervous. I’m leaving the country if Trump wins.”

Jake Nolan, a University of Iowa graduate, said he voted for Hillary Clinton because she’s a proponent for women’s rights.

“Why Donald Trump has made it this far is because the Republican Party is so fragmented and crazy,” Nolan said.

Some Iowans, though, went with Trump because of his outsider status.

Katie Zordani, a graduate student at the University of Iowa, said she voted for Donald Trump because he is a businessman and said a lot of people consider that this country needs to change.

“He comes from a completely different background than we’ve ever seen,” Zordini said. “Our country is continuing to evolve.”

The moods at each candidate’s election watch party changed drastically as more and more results rolled in.

The mood was dark at Clinton’s election night party.

Stony-faced supporters were crying and anxiously staring at the big screens showing election results. Some began leaving as the race wore on into the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Thousands had gathered at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City for Clinton’s election night party. The glass-ceilinged building was picked as a nod to what aides expected would be the historic election of the first female U.S. president.

Clinton, her family, and close aides have spent hours ensconced in a suite at the Peninsula New York, a luxury hotel in midtown Manhattan.

Meanwhile, Trump’s campaign manager Kellyanne Conway described the mood inside Trump Tower as “buoyant.”

She told the Associated Press that the team remained hopeful as results continued to roll in.

The Trump victory represented (would represent) a stunning upset against his Clinton.

Thousands of his supporters gathered in a midtown Manhattan hotel ballroom watching the results on Fox.

Capping a presidential campaign of venom, audacity and history, Donald Trump scored major victories in Florida, Ohio and North Carolina on Tuesday, building steam in a stunningly competitive contest with Hillary Clinton that raged across battlegrounds late into the night.

Clinton pocketed Virginia — a squeaker like Florida — and both candidates rolled up victories in their predictable strongholds. But nothing else was predictable as the man who faced a narrow path to the presidency inched closer to it, in an election that laid bare the divisions gnawing at the nation.

Trump flipped Iowa, a state that twice voted for Democrat Barack Obama. He won Utah, a slam-dunk for most Republicans but a state where many die-hard Republicans were said to find him intolerable.

The quest to become the 45th president came down to still-inconclusive contests in Arizona, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

Both candidates left multitudes of Americans dissatisfied with their choices.

The struggle over whom to support was voiced by two voters in Independence, Missouri, after casting their ballots.

“I had such a hard time, harder than I’ve ever had,” said Joyce Dayhill, 59, a school-bus driver who “reluctantly” voted for Trump. “I just prayed on it as hard as I could and felt this was the right decision.”

Said Clinton voter Richard Clevenger, 58: “I think Trump’s not stable. But I can’t say there was really anything Hillary’s shown me that made me feel like voting for her. But Trump just doesn’t know what the hell he’s doing, and he’s surrounded by the Mickey Mouse Club.”

The first states to be decided Tuesday night produced expected results: Kentucky, Indiana, Oklahoma, West Virginia, South Carolina and Tennessee went for Trump; Vermont, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, Delaware and the District of Columbia for Clinton.

In later waves, Trump added Texas, Kansas, Georgia, and more to his column while Clinton took New York and Illinois, each reaping significant gains in the contest for 270 electoral votes but still searching for a breakout. Trump’s trio of wins in Florida, Ohio, and North Carolina may have provided it.

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