US presidential election: How the tide turned in Donald Trump's favour on D-Day

US president-elect Donald Trump and his running mate Mike Pence address their election night rally in Manhattan, New York on Nov 9, 2016.
US president-elect Donald Trump and his running mate Mike Pence address their election night rally in Manhattan, New York on Nov 9, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS

Get used to seeing this: United States President Donald Trump. The billionaire was voted into the White House on Wednesday (Nov 9), and in his victory speech, pledged to rebuild the nation and renew the American dream.

In a speech that had little of his usual bluster, Mr Trump also assured other countries that while the US would always put its interests first, "we will deal fairly with everyone".

He added: "We will seek common ground, not hostility, partnership, not conflict."

 

Mr Trump also had words of praise for his opponent, Mrs Hillary Clinton. "I congratulated her and her family on a very, very hard-fought campaign. I mean she fought very hard."

The President-elect also said that "the forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer".

While his victory seemed unlikely, moments throughout the day showed the tide turning in Mr Trump's favour.

OHIO

Early results were as expected, with no surprises in any of the states called. Then came Ohio. At about 11.20am Singapore time, NBC News tweeted that Mr Trump had won in Ohio, the first of the key swing states.

No Republican candidate has ever won the White House without winning Ohio, leading to the phrase "As Ohio goes, so goes the nation". That victory set the tone for the rest of the night, as more crucial battlegrounds went Mr Trump's way.

FLORIDA

Mr Trump's director of social media Dan Scavino Jr called it first. "Thank you Florida!!!!!!" he tweeted from the Trump Tower at 11.48am, after hours of reports saying that the key state was too close to call.

The losses of both the Sunshine State and North Carolina were crippling for Mrs Clinton, as they had been seen as critical for both candidates. The Guardian called Florida a "stunning win" in a state where Mr Trump looked bad in early voting.

MEDIA OUTLETS

Mr Trump's success surprised many observers, prominent among which were media outlets that had predicted a victory for Mrs Clinton. Nowhere was the candidates' changes of fortune more succinctly captured than in The New York Times' live presidential forecast, where a speedometer-like indicator pointed, in real-time, to the likely result. Readers would have seen the needle pointing in a very different direction at the start of proceedings, before it started swinging the Republican's way, then ended up indicating a "very likely" Trump win.

Another NYT graph also summed it up:


SCREENGRAB: NYTIMES

TAKING A MOMENT

Both so active on Twitter, Mr Trump and Mrs Clinton went radio silent as the results flooded in. But while Mrs Clinton was nowhere to be seen on social media, as she holed up in a hotel suite with her family in New York practising both victory and concession speeches, Mr Trump's visage could still be seen in photos tweeted by his son and others of their "war room", where they monitored the results.

As Mr Trump stormed to a big lead, there came a rare moment of reflection. Senior sources told ABC News reporter John Santucci that Mr Trump had left his campaign headquarters and returned with his wife to their apartment. "He needed a moment, he is taking this in."

PENNSYLVANIA, MICHIGAN, WISCONSIN

With Mr Trump needing just 26 electoral votes to win the presidency, along came a lull. By 2.30pm in Singapore (1.30am on the US east coast), results were still yet to come in from Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and New Hampshire, where the candidates were said to be neck-and-neck.

Then everything sparked to life again. While Mrs Clinton's campaign chairman John Podesta said that the campaign would still wait for votes to be counted, news soon broke that the Democratic candidate had called her Republican rival to concede defeat, after US networks said that Mr Trump had won Wisconsin.