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Donald Trump won the White House by re-assembling the Reagan Rust Belt coalition

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UPDATE: Here's Trump's first tweet as President-elect.

Donald Trump won the White House by re-assembling the Reagan Rust Belt coalition

WATCH  | Pundits, pollsters and prognosticators be damned. Donald Trump, the unapologetically sharp-tongued populist with a simple pledge to “Make America Great Again“ will be the nation’s 45th president.

The scene outside Trump Tower in Manhattan

A lot like Reagan

Backing up his boastful and improbable predictions, Trump re-drew a quarter-century of political maps Tuesday night by putting together a Rust Belt coalition of white working-class voters, much like Ronald Reagan, to grab an election most media had declared Democrat Hillary Clinton’s to win.


It completed one of the most stunning election upsets in history, the first time a person who never served in government or the military scored the highest office in the land on his first try.

'Serve the people it will'


To roaring cheers and victorious music, Trump walked into a New York City hotel early Wednesday morning to accept his victory, graciously thanking Clinton for her service to the country and a hard-fought campaign.

"It is the time for America to bind the wounds of division," Trump said, making a call for the country to reunite around fixing inner cities, rebuilding infrastructure, growing the economy and making government work for everyday Americans. "Serve the people it will," Trump said of government.

The scene at the White House after Trump's victory was announced

Populist message

The New York billionaire did it with a relentlessly populist message to undo trade deals seen as unfair to blue collar workers, to build a wall to stop the flow of illegal immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border, to crush Islamist terrorism and to dislodge a politically correct elite that has ruled Washington for too long.


Swept swing states

Trump’s movement unexpectedly swept the big prizes of Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and North Carolina on his way to securing at least 289 electoral votes, 19 more than needed to win. And he helped Republicans keep control of Congress, setting himself up to pursue an aggressive 100-day agenda.

Clinton called Trump to concede the race around 2:30a.m. EST, shortly after her campaign chairman John Podesta sent her celebration attendees home.

What's next?

Trump’s first mission is to calm global financial markets shaken by his improbable win and uncertain about how his trade policies will impact global commerce. 

Then he needs to start to build his cabinet -- loyalists Rudy Giuliani and Newt Gingrich are early favorites -- while healing a nation exhausted by a bitterly divisive election.

Changed the party 

Trump’s strategy pitted frustrated rural residents and gun-loving Americans -- once derided by his Democratic challenger as “deplorables” -- against urban and suburban voters. He flipped white male union workers to the GOP column and kept traditional evangelical voters in his coalition.

He also won blue states like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, securing at least 289 electoral votes and narrowly capturing the popular vote.

I think they voted their anger.
Brandon Rosner of the Midwest Growth PAC

"I think the voters of Wisconsin, those blue-collar people that are fed up with politics in general, came out," explained Brandon Rosner of the Midwest Growth PAC.

No Republican had won Wisconsin since Reagan, and no Republican had won Pennsylvania since the late 1980s. Those wins signaled Trump had realigned the political map and set up a new way of governing Washington.

Live from the Trump victory party at the Midtown Hilton in NYC

Not all voters were exactly fans

While many voters questioned his temperament, they ultimately bought Trump’s argument that he couldn’t be bought, and that he was the right person to send a shockwave to realign Washington.

In so doing, he dashed Clinton’s ambition to smash the ultimate political glass ceiling for women and capture a White House that her husband Bill reigned over for eight years in the 1990s.


Keeping comments under control

Trump suffered several self-inflicted wounds early on -- from controversial tweets to campaign shake-ups -- but ultimately settled on a team led by media executive Steve Bannon and pollster Kellyanne Conway. 

They persuaded him to read from a teleprompter and avoid off-the-cuff comments, and to show more discipline on Twitter. In the final weeks he did just that. He also got some help from an announcement that the FBI had restarted a Clinton email investigation 11 days before the election.

Where Hillary stumbled 

Trump’s path to the White House was as amazing as it was improbable, dispatching 16 more experienced Republicans to win the primary and secure the nomination. 

Clinton underperformed in key swing states like Ohio, Florida. North Carolina, Michigan and New Hampshire, failing to draw hoped-for numbers with the minority vote, millennials and women that helped Barack Obama enjoy eight years in the White House.


Shocked response

Stunned Democrats are certain to undergo a period of armchair quarterbacking, pointing to missed opportunities like Clinton’s failure to make a single general election visit to Wisconsin.

And they’ll look to the leaders of the party’s liberal wing, primarily Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, to help Democrats regain forsaken parts of their coalition.

Van Jones: "This was a whitelash against a changing country"

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