Just before 3am on Wednesday, Donald Trump walked on to the narrow stage in a hotel ballroom in Manhattan.

In what has been an incredible, outrageous and historic election campaign, this was perhaps the ending that it deserved.

Donald Trump will be the next president of the United States.

A campaign which started with people paid to form part of the crowd, that was derided as a joke, an irrelevance and doomed to failure, has once again upended all political predictions.

Donald Trump has fought a campaign like no other.

He insulted war veterans, mocked the disabled and attacked minorities.

Shifting positions

Trump claimed to see things that never happened, he denied saying things he had said and he shifted positions several times.

All of that would be death to any other candidate, but Donald Trump was no ordinary candidate.

He may be a political neophyte, but he was and is a showman.

He learned how to play the media while the star of the reality TV show The Apprentice.

He had massive name recognition, normally an issue for anyone running for president.

He gained hours of free media.

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American cable channels which always struggle to fill the 24 hours with watchable TV followed his every movement hoping for another outrage.

Trump was great box office. Websites saw their traffic increase when his name was in the headline.

And through each and every controversy, his appeal went up. People liked that he was different.

He spoke his mind.

He insulted those who crossed him.

He talked about returning to America to a better time, to some undefined moment in the past which meant different things to different people, but somehow became a new collective dream.

He ignored the normal political rules.

Energy at rallies

Trump refused to release his tax returns. He didn't win the support of all his party, but he didn't care.

The people loved him and he fed off their energy at rallies.

And when the video was released of him talking about how he could sexually assault women and get away with it, it looked like the end.

But he apologised, dismissed it as "locker room talk" and moved on.

And while many Republicans said they would never, could never support him, millions stuck by him.

And many of those who had taken such a principled stand came back before the election.

Painful reading

The polls made painful reading the day before the election.

He might win a couple of swing states, but this was to be Hillary Clinton's night.

The room that was booked for Trump was not large or grand.

It was the place where concessions speeches are made. No big staging and lights, just some flags and a podium.

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And the words.

Well, there was the praise for his opponent.

Which was both predictable and surprising, if that is possible. Predictable because he has divided a country he now has to unite.

And surprising because he insisted Hillary Clinton should be commended for her service to her country, when 24 hours before I stood at a closing really in New Hampshire as he called her "unbelievably corrupt".

There were thanks for the family, for the big name surrogates, for the campaign workers.

There was no soaring rhetoric, no focused idealism, no memorable phrase that will live long in the memory.

And there was no appeal to make America great again.

But there was a man, who against all the odds, will be America's 45th president. And that is what will be remembered.

Source: Al Jazeera News