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Trump moves within reach of White House

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, accompanied by her husband, former President Bill Clinton, right, gave a thumbs-up to supporters outside Douglas G. Grafflin School in Chappaqua, N.Y., today, after voting.

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, accompanied by his wife Melania, gave a thumbs-up after casting his ballot at PS-59, today, in New York.

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    This combination of photos taken at late-night campaign rallies shortly after midnight on Tuesday, shows Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in Raleigh, N.C., and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in Grand Rapids, Mich. A polarized America went to the polls today to pick its 45th president.

WASHINGTON » Donald Trump moved within reach of the White House Tuesday night, capturing crucial victories over Hillary Clinton in Florida, Ohio and North Carolina, a remarkable show of strength in an unexpectedly tight race for the presidency.

Trump also battled for a breakthrough in the upper Midwest, a region that reliably backed Democrats in presidential elections for three decades. His victories left Clinton with a perilously narrow path and no margin for error in battleground states where votes were still being counted.

As the race lurched past midnight, neither candidate had cleared the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the White House. Trump stood at 244 to Clinton’s 215.

The uncertainty sent Dow Jones futures and Asian markets tumbling, reflecting investor alarm over what a Trump presidency might mean for the economy and global trade.

As Clinton’s team anxiously waited for results to roll in, the candidate tweeted to supporters, “Whatever happens tonight, thank you for everything.”

Clinton, a fixture in American politics for decades, was hoping to become the first woman to serve as commander in chief. Her race against Trump, a celebrity businessman with no political experience, was among the nastiest in recent memory, exposing and deepening the nation’s economic and racial divides.

Exit polls underscored the deep divisions that have defined the 2016 contest. Women nationwide supported Clinton by a double-digit margin, while men were significantly more likely to back Trump. More than half of white voters backed the Republican, while nearly 9 in 10 blacks and two-thirds of Hispanics voted for the Democrat.

If Trump pulls off the stunning upset, he’ll likely govern with Congress fully under Republican control. The GOP was poised to fend off a Democratic challenge in the Senate, winning key races in North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, and expected to win a late race in Alaska and a December runoff in Louisiana. The party extended its grip on the House.

Democrats, as well as some Republicans, expected Trump’s unconventional candidacy would damage down-ballot races and even flip some reliably red states in the presidential race. But Trump held on to Republican territory, including in Georgia and Utah, where Clinton’s campaign confidently invested resources.

Clinton carried Virginia, Nevada and Colorado. Her fate hinged in part on wins in Michigan and Wisconsin, states where her campaign spent little time during the general election in anticipation of comfortable victories.

The 45th president will inherit an anxious nation, deeply divided by economic and educational opportunities, race and culture. The economy has rebounded from the depths of recession, though many Americans have yet to benefit. New terror threats from home and abroad have raised security fears.

Clinton asked voters to keep the White House in her party’s hands for a third straight term. She cast herself as heir to President Barack Obama’s legacy and pledged to make good on his unfinished agenda, including passing immigration legislation, tightening restrictions on guns and tweaking his signature health care law.

But she struggled throughout the race with persistent questions about her honesty and trustworthiness. Those troubles flared anew late in the race, when FBI Director James Comey announced a review of new emails from her tenure at the State Department. On Sunday, just two days before Election Day, Comey said there was nothing in the material to warrant criminal charges against Clinton.

Trump, the New York real estate developer who lives in a gold-plated Manhattan penthouse, forged a striking connection with white, working-class Americans who feel left behind in the changing economy and diversifying country. He cast immigration, both from Latin America and the Middle East, as the root of many problems plaguing the nation and called for building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

“I see so many hopes and so many dreams out there that didn’t happen, that could have happened, with leadership, with proper leadership,” he said by telephone on Fox News before casting his own ballot in Manhattan. “And people are hurt so badly.”

Seven in 10 Americans who went to the polls Tuesday said immigrants now in the country illegally should be allowed to stay, while just a quarter said they should be deported. More than half oppose building a border wall, according to the exit polls, which were conducted for The Associated Press and television networks by Edison Research.

The Republican Party’s tortured relationship with its nominee was evident right up to the end. Former President George W. Bush and wife Laura Bush declined to back Trump, instead selecting “none of the above” when they voted for president, according to spokesman Freddy Ford.

Trump set both parties on edge when he refused to say in the third and final debate whether he would accept the election’s results, citing with no evidence the possibility of a rigged outcome. His statement threatened to undermine a fundamental pillar of American democracy and raised the prospect that his fervent supporters would not view Clinton as a legitimate president if she won.

Asked Tuesday in an interview with Fox News if he would accept the election results, Trump continued to demur, saying “We’re going to see how things play out.”

Most problems that did pop up at polling places Tuesday appeared to be routine — the kinds of snags that come every four years, including long lines, machines not working properly and issues with ballots or voter rolls.

Even before Tuesday, almost 45 million people had cast ballots for president. Many expressed relief the end was in sight after an election season in which personal attacks often drowned out the issues.

Clinton has denounced Trump for calling Mexican immigrants “rapists” and promoting a ban on Muslims entering the U.S., and for his long line of remarks about women that culminated in an audio in which he bragged about grabbing their genitals. Her campaign was hoping high turnout among Hispanics push her over the top in states like Florida and Nevada.

“I grew up in a Hispanic family, and the way that Donald Trump has referred to illegal immigrants — being from illegal immigrants, I took that to heart,” said Angel Salazar, a 22-year-old sanitation associate from Oklahoma City. “I don’t like anything that he said. I don’t like his views. So I voted for Hillary Clinton because she supports us.”

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  • Mr. Trump was loudly booed at his polling station. The people of New York City know him best!

    There will be a lot written about how a profoundly mentally ill man was nominated by a major party. Well … at least is used to be a major party. Good riddance to Republicans.

    Thanks for the racists, white supremacists and imbeciles who helped to nominate Mr. Trump!

    • …..read the story again Klas3! Remember “Reading is fundamental”?
      “Trump Booed at polling site ,where Trump is casting his vote”…..Try again!

      FYI: The only people inciting racial slurs, Homophobes, Misogyny, Islamaphobes, Anarchist, Ku Klux Clan, Burning the American Flag are in fact DEMOCRATS and you!
      Give up the “practice in lying” and stick to what you know! Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

      • You lost. The positive news on that is that it might provide an opportunity for you to finally finish intermediate school. Remember, make intermediate school great again!

      • IRT MoiLee, agree with your post. Still cannot say for certain that Mr. Trump will be elected President of the United States with the 270+ electoral votes. The exit poll information are very encouraging. Mr. Trump as President to “Make America Safe and Great Again”.

        • That’s very interesting. Just yesterday, you were so sure of victory!

          It’s called backing a loser.

        • Icky is a few minutes behind the exit poll. Klastri, my position was that if Ms Hillary could stop the Trump/Pence momentum by Friday, the election will trend for a Trump/Pence win and Mr. Trump to the White House. Now, we are receiving actual votes and it will be exciting, for you and Ms Hillary, or for me and Mr. Trump. Just forwarded an hour ago a donation to the Trump/Pence campaign.

        • Kuro, ask if you can get your money refunded…Trump early on getting pounded in FL and NC. If Florida falls early, go to bed….

    • And backed by the Republican Party who endorses all of his ideas and policies and his treatment of women. Emails, emails, emails. Release Trumps and the other Republican members and you’ll see worse. Don’t forget videos of Trump walking into the Teen USA dressing rooms for a sneak peek and hugs.

  • No Body has a “Crystal Ball ! “…… the MSM included!
    We’re just going to have to wait it out and see ! No matter who wins? The country will still remain the “Divided States of America”!

    • So said the Trump supporter that wishes ill on his or her own country. Our country will come out of this, one of the most ugly due to one candidate’s toxic ways, still intact. We will come out stronger. There will always be people that will put down their own country. Let them have at it while we fight on for a greater America. It’s not about making America greater again. It has always been the greatest country on Earth. Don’t let the naysayers feed negativity. No country is perfect. But in our country we vote for our president and that’s democracy. Russia can lay claim to that while rigging their own elections and trying to influence ours in Trump’s favor. America remains strong despite all these attacks by even the Russians and Wikileaks. We are strong and we will prevail.

  • A lot will depend on if the blacks will vote this time around. Not much for them to look forward to. Only four more years of the same ole, same ole if HRC wins. Take a chance with Trump, what have they to lose?

    • You don’t seem to be bothered that HiLIARy can’t seem to tell the truth. She will do whatever it takes to get what she wants, including ruining a good country. When the smoke clears, and we end up with an awful person running our country, will you be happy? Will you really feel that you won? Like our country somehow won?

      • Indeed. It would show the following: someone with a clarity of intellectual thought; someone with a great grasp of specific and granular public policy concepts; and someone who has both the restraint and temperament to ascend to this office.

        • I could respond for days, but don’t have the energy, and it wouldn’t change your mind whatsoever. Say a prayer tonight when it’s all over.

  • I wonder if Trump will win the Nobel Peace Prize like little Barry Hussein did. He’s got a good chance if he closes Gitmo since Barry Hussein was unable/unwilling to do so.

  • Mark my words–who ever wins Florida will win this election. By my calculations, Trump will exceed 270 electoral votes, unless he fails to win Florida.

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