On This Day: When Donald Trump caused 'the biggest political upset in history'

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Donald Trump elected US President November 8 2016
Donald Trump elected US President November 8 2016

This article is part of Yahoo's 'On This Day' series

It was just before 3am when Donald Trump made his entrance to a victory party at the Hilton hotel in Manhattan, with the theme tune to the thriller Air Force One playing and a crowd chanting, ‘USA! USA!’

At 70, Trump was the oldest person ever to assume the Presidency, in a victory that was described as the biggest political upset in American history.

When Trump took the state of Ohio at 10.39pm , his supporters at the party began to hope that a win was possible: 15 minutes later he took the key battleground state of Florida.

NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 9: Supporters of President-elect Donald Trump of Republican Party,celebrate after the results of the 2016 Presidential Elections in Manhattan, New York, United States on November 9, 2016. Republican nominee Donald Trump won victory against Democratic challenger Hillary Clinton on US presidential election.


 (Photo by Mohammed Elshamy/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Trump supporters celebrate after the results of the 2016 Presidential Elections in Manhattan, New York (Photo by Mohammed Elshamy/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks during the final session of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 21, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks during the final session of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 21, 2016 (Getty)

By 2.30am on this day in 2016, his lead was unassailable, as he took the state of Wisconsin and its 10 electoral votes, with supporters chanting, “Lock her up! Lock her up!” in reference to supposed crimes committed by Trump’s rival Hillary Clinton.

When he took the stage at 3am, Trump had only just written his victory speech, having been superstitious about writing it in advance.

A political outsider, Trump had never held elected office before, and pollsters had predicted from the outset that he would lose.

London, England - November 10, 2016: British newspaper front pages reporting on the US presidential election result in which Donald Trump became the 45th president of the United States.
British newspaper front pages reporting on the US presidential election result in which Donald Trump became the 45th president of the United States (Getty)

The world was stunned: the Dow Futures sank 750 points, and the Mexican peso slumped, after months of divisive rhetoric from Trump over building a wall on the border.

Other markets crashed around the world (although they later recovered).

Trump’s speech emphasised the working-class voters who had catapulted him to his unexpected victory.

He said, “The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer. It is time for us to come together as one united people. It’s time.”

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Trump’s campaign had been brutal, calling attention to the infidelities of Hillary Clinton’s husband, suggesting she would be jailed, and calling her a “nasty woman” in a TV debate.

But in victory, he was more conciliatory, saying, "I've just received a call from Secretary Clinton. She congratulated us - it's about us - on our victory and I congratulated her and her family on a very, very, hard-fought campaign. We owe her a major debt of gratitude for her service to our country. Now it's time for America to bind the wounds of division.”

Backed by polls and pundits, Clinton had already planned a victory party under a symbolic glass ceiling.

Clinton secured more votes than Trump - but due to America’s electoral college system, lost the presidency: the last person to have won the popular vote but not the presidency was Al Gore in 2000.

Trump later baselessly claimed that Clinton’s victory in the popular vote was due to votes cast by undocumented migrants.

Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump (L) greets vice presidential nominee Mike Pence after Pence spoke at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 20, 2016.  REUTERS/Mike Segar
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump greets vice presidential nominee Mike Pence after Pence spoke at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland (Reuters)

House Speaker Paul Ryan said that Trump had ‘turned politics on its head’.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said that he hoped Trump’s victory could restore the relationship between the two countries from a “critical condition”.

In 2020, Trump once again lost the popular vote - and this time lost the presidency to Joe Biden.

Trump’s handling of the coronavirus crisis had not impressed voters, with his approval rating dipping to 38% at one point, according to Gallup.

At a rally just before the election, Trump said, “With the fake news, everything is Covid, Covid, Covid, Covid!”

Trump's divisive rhetoric had worn thin with suburban voters, who turned to Joe Biden, with some citing a wish for a return to normality.

Donald Trump has not yet formally announced plans to run again for president in 2024, but some polls have already suggested he could win.

Watch: Hillary Clinton continues blame game in new book

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