It was the election many experts predicted Hillary Clinton would win.
But in results that have shocked many, Donald Trump hasn't just done better than expected, he's clinched victory.
So how did it go so very wrong for the person who was tipped to become the first female president of the United States?
Professor of Political Science at the University of Minnesota Ron Krebs told news.com.au that many Americans, both Republicans and Democrats, lost trust in Ms Clinton following her email scandal.
Prof Krebs said it was a scandal which she wasn't able to bounce back from and if she had been open about why she used a private email server sooner she may not be in the position she is in now.
"There is plenty of dislike for her even among Democrats," he told news.com.au
"Even though they regard her as more competent, they don't trust her."
He said this was mirrored in how many Americans felt about her.
Just two days ago, FBI Director James Comey rocked the presidential campaign by announcing the FBI had discovered new emails connected to its investigation into her private server, leading to a massive dip in her poll lead.
When she became Secretary of State in 2009, Ms Clinton set up a private server for her emails instead of using the official government system.
That server's existence was first revealed to the public in March 2015, months after she left the State Department.
Despite the FBI clearing her of any wrongdoing, the saga left many Americans more cynical of her than ever, Prof Krebs said.
He said Ms Clinton had a "tortured relationship with the truth" and she was now paying the price.
"If she had been more honest at the start she might not be in this position," he said.
Prof Krebs said he felt part of her not wanting to appear as if she had made a mistake may be due to her feeling that as a woman such an admission could be regarded as a sign of weakness.
"The element of trust may be justified to an extent but that doesn't explain the level of vitriol she has been exposed to," he said.
The other key factor he was that her rival understood the political system and that you had to "pay to play".
"He's a creature of the political system," he said.
According to Aaron Connelly, a research fellow in the East Asia Program at the Lowy Institute for International Policy, Mr Trump's victory is an absolute disaster for Australia.
He told news.com.au that the email saga served as dose of hypocrisy seeing as though we had seen thousands of Ms Clinton's emails and none of Mr Trump's.
"We have however heard plenty of his comments and talk in private," he said.
Mr Connelly said the FBI's investigation while clearing Ms Clinton of any wrongdoing showed many Americans didn't understand the complex system surrounding that.
He also said it appeared the Clinton campaign didn't appeal as widely to the African-American as Barack Obama did in 2008 and 2012.
"The outcome has certainly come as a surprise and a shock," he said.
"Nobody was prepared for this."
Mr Connelly said President Trump would have enormous implications for Australia and would have a devastating impact in East Asia as well.
Despite Ms Clinton being endorsed by major superstars such as Beyonce, Jay Z, and Lady Gaga, the celebrity factor failed to resonate with voters.
Some commentators even went so far as to say it worked against her.
Online lecturer in politics and PhD candidate at Swinburne University, Bryan Cranston, previously said it was mathematically impossible for Mr Trump to win the US election.
Mr Cranston said while Ms Clinton appeared to be on track for victory, a number of factors such as a failure to fully grasp the level of discontent by the voters could have contributed to the shock outcome.
Mr Cranston said the email scandal against Ms Clinton resonated with voters or it could be down to the fact that Mr Trump is being carried by the coat-tails of down-ticket races.
"Most statewide candidates ran their own race, and many Republicans have performed well," he said.
"Usually a presidential ticket carries down-ticket, but this year we could be seeing a reverse. We won't know until we see final results in states so we can compare vote totals."
Nicolle Wallace, a former Republican strategist, told an NBC panel she didn't believe the election was about race - it was about "class warfare".
"I think there was something happening in this country that we all missed."
She said it was a clear divide had erupted between the elites and others in the community.
She said Mr Trump was not your typical Republican and predicted many in that party, as well as the Democrats, would struggle to accept his election.
Ben Domenech, an American writer and blogger, told CBS the motivation of Ms Clinton supporters to get out and vote was overwhelmed by that of Mr Trump supporters.
Leslie Sanchez, also on the CBS panel, said Mr Clinton had failed to mobilise the Obama vote - and in fact support he had gathered across two elections had gone backwards.
"There are two big factors here ... 7/10 of voters are just sick of politics and government. And in every age group [Clinton] has gone backwards from where Obama was."
Meanwhile Conservative political commentator Ben Shapiro tweeted: "Facts don't care about your feelings".
Earlier, he said Barack Obama had been a "disaster" for the country. "And now for the Democrats."
- with Andrew Koubaridis