Dissecting Trump's victory in the US Presidential election
Despite a scandal-filled campaign, Trump managed to win over Americans who are angry about how country is changing
He has been called a misogynist, a racist and a serial liar. But yesterday, real estate tycoon and former reality TV star Donald Trump defied the odds to become America's 45th president-elect.
The 70-year-old Republican nominee shocked the world by defeating his Democratic rival, Mrs Hillary Clinton, 69, a seasoned politician.
As of 1am today, he had 289 electoral college votes to Mrs Clinton's 218, reported CNN. The Republicans also retained the House of Representatives and the Senate to record a clean sweep.
Mr Trump's victory defied opinion polls that had Mrs Clinton winning, albeit by a small margin.
Dr Evan Resnick of The S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) told The New Paper yesterday: "It was shocking. It looked like she (Mrs Clinton) was still slightly sufficiently ahead of him to win.
Dr Resnick, who is coordinator of RSIS' United States Programme, added: "Mr Trump's campaign was filled with vicious attacks, making all sorts of wild, ludicrous claims.
"It violated the long-held norms of civil dignified behaviour of presidential campaigning. Yet, that didn't seem to sink him."
With Mr Trump set to take his oath of office on Jan 20, it remains to be seen if his administration will change things at home and abroad.
The key will lie in his economic policies, said RSIS' Dr Lee Chia-yi, who specialises in international politics.
Dr Resnick said: "Judging by the man's past behaviour and by what he's said and done in the public spotlight, it doesn't look promising if you're progressive, if you're not into racism, misogyny and all these other things."
He added that it was possible the gravity of responsibility will force Mr Trump to take a "more mature approach", but he is doubtful.
"The outcome is likely to be pretty dismal," he said.
With everything seemingly against him, how did Mr Trump pull off this unexpected victory?
THE INSECURE AND THE SILENT
Although Mr Trump is a billionaire who lives in a three-storey penthouse apartment in New York's Manhattan, his "America First" approach resonated with white working-class Americans who are less educated and feel marginalised, said Dr Resnick.
They were the key voters in the Rust Belt states - Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin - that were once booming, but are now experiencing economic decline, population loss and urban decay because of trade policies affecting manufacturing industries.
He said: "These are Americans who are angry about the state of social equality. They don't like globalisation, or the difference between urban and suburban areas. They may be less educated and more conservative...
"Frankly, white working-class Americans are extremely insecure. They see the country changing, and it's perceived as threatening.
"Mr Trump hit all the sweet spots in enticing that group," he said.
Some of them were silent about their support for Mr Trump, which could explain the swing in votes, said Dr Lee.
"They don't want to say this loudly, because by declaring themselves as Trump supporters, others will think they are sexist or racist, or that they don't support a female president, just like Mr Trump himself," she said.
HEARTFELT CAMPAIGN SLOGAN
With four words, Mr Trump's campaign slogan, Make America Great Again, promised Americans a future of change and hope.
While simple, the slogan appealed to the hearts of people - something that is not to be underestimated.
MSNBC host Chris Matthews said in September: "A lot of this support for Mr Trump, with all his flaws which he displays regularly, is about the country - patriotic feelings people have, they feel like the country has been let down.
"They believe in their country... (There is a) deep sense that the country is being taken away and betrayed.
"I think that is so deep with people that they're looking at a guy who's flawed as hell like Mr Trump and at least it's a way of saying I am really angry about the way the elite has treated my country.
"And it's so deep that it overwhelms all the bad stuff from Mr Trump. It's that strong. It's a strong force wind."
Mrs Clinton's years of experience as a politician could have worked against her, said Dr Resnick.
"Often, in the US, it helps to be viewed as an outsider, as someone who can fix Washington. And it seems that for a lot of the supporters, having lots of political experience is something you don't want.
"You want to be seen as someone who is not beholden to any special interest, and can clean things up," Dr Resnick said, referring to Mr Trump's comment to "drain the swamp" in Washington, DC.
"Americans are very sceptical of government or professional politicians. They can be seen as the scum of the earth."
It does not help that she was a "terrible campaigner, has no charisma, and is not inspiring in the way she speaks", he said.
There were also trust issues with Mrs Clinton after the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) investigated her e-mail system.
Government watchdogs found that some of her messages had contained classified government secrets while she was secretary of state.
The issue resurfaced after the FBI started a new investigation into newly discovered e-mails, days before the election. By the time the investigation ended, it was too late, said Dr Resnick.
In contrast to Mrs Clinton's seasoned politician image, Mr Trump reminded Americans of a successful businessman held up as a role model, said Dr Resnick.
"It seems like he's a terrible businessman. He couldn't even make money running a casino. But he's very good at manipulating brands," he said.
For instance, Mr Trump hosted The Apprentice, a reality TV show in which hopefuls competed for a chance to work for his organisation.
The image of Mr Trump as a successful entrepreneur with the power to say, "You're fired!" became ingrained in the minds of millions of viewers.
"He seems successful, but the empirical reality is that he was bankrupted six times," said Dr Resnick.
The rise of the Donald
Real estate tycoon Donald Trump, 70, was born and raised in New York City.
After earning a bachelor's degree in economics, he was given control of his father's real estate and construction firm, now known as The Trump Organization.
He owned the Miss USA pageants from 1996 to 2015, and starred in reality TV series The Apprentice from 2004 to 2015.
In June last year, Mr Trump turned his attention to politics and announced his candidacy for president as a Republican. He quickly emerged as the front runner for his party's nomination.
His 18-month campaign was mired in controversy and Americans got to know him as a misogynist, a racist and a serial liar.
He has called women "pig", "dog" and "disgusting animal" among other derogatory terms.
In October, a 2005 recording of Mr Trump bragging about forcibly kissing and groping women surfaced.
He dismissed the comments as "locker room talk". Sexual assault allegations soon followed.
Mr Trump's anti-Muslim rhetoric was a consistent feature during the campaign and he spoke of building a wall on the US-Mexico border to keep out illegal immigrants.
He was also labelled a serial liar after failed attempts to defend his stories.
A Vanity Fair magazine article on his lies had the subhead: "When it comes to telling the truth, Trump may be the least honest politician alive".
Trump promises unity, 'great relationships'
US president-elect Donald Trump said yesterday in his victory speech that it was time for America to bind the wounds of division and come together as one united people.
"We will seek common ground, not hostility, partnership, not conflict," he said at a rally of overjoyed supporters at the New York Hilton Midtown hotel. In a somewhat gracious speech, he commended the campaign effort of his opponent, former first lady and secretary of state Hillary Clinton.
Said the 70-year-old billionaire real estate developer: "We owe her a major debt of gratitude for her service to our country."
Mr Trump called for Americans to come together as a united people, and promised to reach out to voters who had not supported him "so we can work together", Xinhua reported.
He repeated some of his campaign rhetoric and proposals, saying that his administration will fix the country's inner cities, rebuild infrastructure, and "double our growth and have the strongest economy anywhere in the world".
Mr Trump also promised to have "great relationships" with the rest of the world.
He said it was not a campaign but a movement that had won him the White House, comprising "all people of different backgrounds and beliefs", Telegraph reported.
He said victory had been "tough".
"This political stuff is nasty and it's tough," he said while thanking his family.
The crowd was respectful at the mention of Mrs Clinton.
In a conciliatory speech, Mr Trump added: "We will get along with all other nations willing to get along with us.
"We will deal fairly with everyone. We will seek common ground, partnership not conflict.
"America will no longer settle for anything less than the best. We must reclaim our destiny."
At Trump's victory party, where a raucous crowd indulged in a cash bar and wore hats bearing his ubiquitous campaign slogan "Make America Great Again," voters expressed gratification that their voices had, at last, been heard, The New York Times reported.
"He was talking to people who weren't being spoken to," said Mr Joseph Gravagna, 37, a marketing company owner from Rockland County, New York.
"That's how I knew he was going to win."
Meanwhile, in her concession speech last night (Singapore time), Mrs Clinton told a room of bleary-eyed aides and supporters: "I'm sorry that we did not win this election for the values we share and the visions we hold.
"But I feel pride and gratitude ... You represent the best of America.
"This is painful, and it will be for a long time.
"But our campaign was never about one person or one election, it was about the country we love."
She thanked her supporters and her running mate Tim Kaine.
Then, she thanked President Obama and the First Lady: "Our country owes you an enormous bit of debt and gratitude."