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  1. ITV Report

Five reasons Donald Trump won the US presidential election

How did Donald Trump become the American president. Credit: Reuters

Donald Trump's winning the US presidential election over Democratic rival Hillary Clinton has surprised America - and the world.

There could be many reasons why the former reality TV star - who during the divisive campaign mocked a man's disability, picked a fight with a Fox News presenter, insulted war veteran John McCain and boasted of making unwanted sexual advances - got handed the keys to the White House by the American people.

Here, ITV News looks at five big reasons why Mr Trump was triumphant.

  • Appealing to middle America

The 'Rust Belt' - the region straddling the Great Lakes and the Midwest States - has, like the former industrial heartlands of the UK, been in economic decline since the 1980s.

The traditionally Democrat voting states Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin have been slowly turning red and the working classes increasingly looked to Mr Trump to restore the glory days of car manufacturing and the steel industry.

Mr Trump tapped into this disillusionment with stirring pledges.

He told gathered crowds in Michigan he'd levy a 35% tariff on any Mexican-built cars shipped back to the United States. At another rally in Virginia, he said he'd get Apple to "start building their damn computers and things in this country instead of in other countries". He stirred anti-Clinton feeling by saying her support of the North American Free Trade Agreement had destroyed industries in these already deprived areas.

And on the night, Mr Trump overwhelmingly won votes of whites in rural areas without college degrees.

Credit: PA
  • A vote against the establishment

President Obama's assertion that Hillary Clinton was one of the most qualified presidential candidates ever was largely true, but Mrs Clinton's White House experience actually counted against her for many people across America's heartlands.

She was much criticised for seemingly being too involved with policy decisions during her husband Bill's time as President and her years as Secretary of State (2009 to 2013) were plagued by controversy, most notably the Benghazi attacks in Libya where four Americans died.

Mr Trump's very lack of political experience put him on a more human level. He was, for many Americans, simply a vote for change - a vote to shake up the establishment.

Credit: PA
  • Trump's ability to survive scandal

Donald Trump barely flinched whenever a new scandal hit him.

When a leaked video surfaced of him boasting about making sexual advances towards women, he half-halfheartedly apologised and moved on.

He was hit by a law suit - which was dropped the Friday before the election - by a woman alleging that he raped her several times when she was 13.

He refused requests to disclose his income tax returns and said not paying federal income tax "makes me smart.

He said John McCain wasn't a war hero because he was taken prisoner of war in Vietnam.

He mocked a reporter with a congenital joint condition.

But he - and the electorate - brushed them all off.

Credit: PA
  • Clinton's emails

While Mr Trump seemed to be able to survive any scandal thrown at him, Mrs Clinton couldn't shake off the one that followed her around: sending classified emails from a private email server.

During her time as Secretary of State, Mrs Clinton did not use a state.gov email account, which would have been hosted on servers owned and managed by the US government.

In July, an FBI investigation said that while Mrs Clinton and her aides had been "extremely careless" in their handling of classified information, they concluded no "reasonable prosecutor" would bring a criminal case against her.

Then, less than two weeks before the election, James Comey made public the discovery of new, Clinton-related emails and, while again, she was cleared of any criminal wrong doing, her reputation as untrustworthy was cemented among American voters, even many those who voted for her.

Credit: PA
  • Obamacare

The Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, was President Obama's radical reform of America's healthcare that was signed into law in 2010.

The policy provides insurance to the tens of millions of Americans unable to afford health care and some 11 million Americans are now enrolled in state or federal marketplace insurance plans created under Obama's 2010 law.

But is has been hugely controversial from its inception and has never been a hit with many voters. Polls in 2013 said 53% wanted opponents to “continue trying to change or stop it.”

Mr Trump made repealing the legislation a central part of his campaign. Republicans in Congress have tried 60 times to repeal Obamacare since it was passed, but have repeatedly failed.

Now, with their man in charge, they may just succeed.

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