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Donald Trump has been elected the 45th president of the United States. His victory is an almost wholly unexpected end to a wild and careening campaign that plumbed new lows and takes the U.S. into uncharted territory. Never before has someone with so little experience and such wild temperament occupied the White House. The Republican Party also controls both houses of Congress, which means that Trump has the power to press his agenda of transformation. The problem for the country and the rest of the world is that the contents of that agenda — apart from “making American great again” — are unclear.

As of Thursday morning U.S. time, Trump secured 279 of the 538 electoral votes — topping the 270 needed to clinch the race — against 228 won by Democratic Party nominee Hillary Clinton, with several states yet to be called. With more than 90 percent of the votes counted, Clinton won 47.7 percent of the popular vote against Trump’s 47.5 percent, possibly making him the fifth winner of the election who did not gain the most votes. But the widely anticipated groundswell of support for Clinton never materialized. Clinton — a candidate whose unfavorable ratings were exceeded only by those of Trump — never managed to excite key elements of the Obama constituency, and her failure to mobilize them spelled defeat for her.

For his part, Trump never lost faith in his instincts, and remained convinced that he spoke for an untapped and under-represented constituency: disenfranchised, angry and anxious whites. The resulting effort broke all the rules and shattered the decorum of a presidential campaign. Since declaring his candidacy, Trump has offended or attacked many ethnic groups, showed flagrant disregard for the truth, displayed a meandering and undisciplined style on the stump and still managed to defeat a candidate who had perhaps the best resume of any White House hopeful.

Like virtually all his predecessors, Trump called for unity after his victory was confirmed. That is easier said than done after his slash and burn campaign. There were reports of protests after the results were known and anger may continue to mount as those who oppose Trump get over the shock of defeat and contemplate just what his presidency may yield.

And that is the big question: Just what does it mean to “make America great again”? Trump has promised “winning” but his campaign was long on rhetoric and short on policy. The proposals that did get public scrutiny were typically inconsistent, incomplete and often contradicted by the candidate or his surrogates when pressed for details.

Broadly speaking, Trump promised tax reform to stimulate the economy — with a goal of doubling current growth rates — but experts calculate that his proposals will explode the deficit. He has pledged to tear up trade deals and renegotiate them to win better terms for the U.S. and to impose punitive taxes on companies that export manufacturing operations and jobs out of the country. He also promised to deport undocumented aliens from the U.S. to halt crime and prop up wages, as well as ban all immigration from “suspect countries” to ensure that no terrorists get into the country. President Barack Obama’s signature health care plan would be terminated on the first day of Trump’s presidency.

On foreign policy, Trump promised to win back respect for the U.S., which he claimed was lost during the Obama years. He would tear up the nuclear deal with Iran, and work more closely with Russia to address international problems, including the threat of IS radicals in the Mideast. He has said that he would look hard at U.S. alliances and commit to defend only to those partners who pay their fair share — in some cases 100 percent — of alliance costs. During the campaign, he seemed blase about the prospects of nuclear proliferation by some allies — Japan included — reversing decades of U.S. policy.

Significantly, other Republicans rode Trump’s coattails and the GOP retained its majorities in both houses of Congress. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell applauded the election results, saying that they indicate that “Americans chose a new direction” for the nation. The GOP now controls both the White House and the Congress and as soon as he takes office, Trump can fulfill his campaign promise to nominate conservative Supreme Court justices, filling the empty seat on the highest court and giving Republicans control of all three branches of government. No president in recent history has taken office with such a strong hand.

GOP stalwarts believe that the party will provide the policy details that Trump lacks. True conservatives like Speaker of the House Paul Ryan held their nose and backed the party’s nominee — sometimes preferring that label to actually saying his name — anticipating that they would provide the legislative agenda for a Trump presidency and that he would routinely sign the bills that they send to the White House.

That may prove as fantastic as Clinton’s election prospects. Trump’s views have careened wildly and he may prove no more committed to conservative principles than he was to liberal ideas two decades ago. Throughout the campaign, he warned the GOP establishment that it was a part of “the system” and thus a target of the wrecking ball mentality that drove his candidacy. And President Trump is likely to remember the slights inflicted by fellow Republicans during the campaign and be ready to make them pay.

The Trump victory means that U.S. politics and policies have entered vast and uncharted waters. Old mariners’ maps cautioned that in those empty spaces, “Here there be dragons.” No warning ever seemed more appropriate.

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