Trump wins, campus reacts with mixed emotions


Elizabeth Worthington, News Editor

“The world we woke up in this morning is not the same one we went to sleep in,” Stephen Hollinshead ’18 said, accurately summing up the campus’ reaction the morning after Donald Trump shocked the nation by winning the 45th presidential election.

On Nov. 9, students and faculty either woke up to the shocking news or stayed up Nov. 8 into the early hours of the morning awaiting the results. Whatever the case, student reactions were strong.

President of the College Democrats, Brady Clapp ‘17, said, “I think that this election is incredibly disappointing for the future of this country. Far too many students woke up on Wednesday feeling that they weren’t welcome in America, that because of their race or gender or identity that they looked down upon by almost half of this country[…] However it is important to remember that he actually lost the popular vote. We can take solace in the fact that a majority of America actually rejected his xenophobia, misogyny, and anti-intellectualism.”

“The main problem I see with these results, as many have already said, is that one of the most qualified presidential candidates ever lost to a hateful, underqualified, and poorly spoken man […] What this election has told me is no matter how qualified I am, I will most likely lose a job opportunity or promotion to a man, even if that man is less qualified than me,” Carolyn Tella ’19 said.

“Money should never trump humanity, yet here we are. Obama created an environment where I felt like I didn’t have to care about the color of my skin to get what I wanted. I don’t know what anyone is thinking but I don’t feel safe,” Tooba Ali ’17 said.

“The election of Donald Trump shows loud and clear the American people’s disapproval of President Obama’s presidency,” Michael Banks ’20 said.

“Goodbye corruption, hello justice!” Kurtis Monahan ’19 said.

“It’s rather clear that the electorate wanted drastic change, I just don’t believe that it is this kind of change that will be positive for our country,” Hollinshead said.

“The 2016 election has been an unwavering repudiation of the mainstream media and the political establishment by Americans who have long resented being slandered as racist or sexist by those who engage in the worst form of identity politics,” Kevin Chabrier ’20 said.

On the morning of Nov. 9, messages of support such as “claim our future,” “black lives matter,” and “fight the violence” were seen written in chalk on the Vaughan Literature building and Bertrand Library.

Later that evening, Jorden Sneed ’17, Andrew Farley ’18 and graduate student Mona Mohammed organized a solidarity rally at 6 p.m. on the Malesardi Quadrangle. The rally drew a large crowd outside Bertrand Library and students were given the opportunity to share their feelings about the election results. Calls to action were made and speakers encouraged those in attendance to come together as a community to fight hatred and potential violence that may stem from a Trump presidency.

After the rally, students who wanted to continue the discussion were invited to join a forum facilitated by Multicultural Student Services in Walls Lounge.

According to Director for Multicultural Student Services, Rosalie Rodriguez, the event was originally meant to be a workshop on intersectionality, but “based on the tenor of emotions from students I talked with throughout the day I felt it was important to provide a space for students who were feeling hurt, angry, scared, etc. to come together and talk in a supportive space.”

The reaction was equally strong among members of the political science department. Students gathered in the Academic West lounge at noon on Nov. 9 to hear Associate Professors of Political Science Chris Ellis and Scott Meinke analyze the results and discuss what a Trump presidency means for the future. Both professors admitted how the outcome defied their expectations and left many political scientists stumped.

“I was dead wrong about this result, and so were most of the people in my profession,” Ellis said.

Meinke largely attributed the results to partisanship and voters “coming home” to the party with which they are affiliated, especially white female voters.

“[Partisanship is] a pretty powerful drug, more powerful than I thought it was,” Meinke said.

Meinke remains unconvinced of the “shy Trump voter theory” which holds that many voters were afraid to publicly announce their support for the controversial candidate and instead points to the surprisingly high turnout of white non-college voters who may have been underrepresented in likely-voter polls, but “came home” to the Republican party last minute.

In terms of discussing “Where do the parties go from here?,” Ellis predicts an “ugly” Democratic civil war. He reasoned that white working class voters, who represented a large swath of Trump’s supporters, “voted in good numbers for Obama, and used to be a core part of the Democratic coalition for decades” but extreme views within the party have become unappealing to these voters and they have since switched alliances.

“In short, the party needs to find some way to get over the condescension and mockery that some on the extremes of the party  have for those who don’t share their cultural customs. The first step would be to package up the John Oliver/Lena Dunham/-type wing of the party, and make sure it can’t be the voice of the party anymore,” Ellis said.

For Republicans, Ellis predicts a Trump presidency will largely resemble a traditional Republican one. He does not think Trump cares enough about policy to pass legislation or select Supreme Court nominees, so he will likely leave that to his vice president, Mike Pence.

“The Republican party will be fighting an in-party battle, though, to see if ‘Trumpism’ is the new Republican party, or if people like Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell will still be steering the ship,” Ellis said.

Meinke echoed this sentiment by highlighting how Trump capitalized on the fractured Republican party to gain momentum and now he must decide what the party stands for. Will he keep it conventional or move the party in a new direction?

When asked by an attendee what these results say about the two-party system as it exists currently, Ellis pointed to the results further down the ballot, where most incumbents won. So while Trump supporters often held an anti-establishment stance, they must not have been angry enough with the political parties to do anything else about it.

Meinke stressed how this election should serve as a “reminder that healthy political parties matter,” as the Republican party was unable to accomplish its main priority this year: selecting a nominee in accordance with the party’s platform.

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