Current Results Fuel Fire for Future Voter

Annette Ungermann, Staff Writer

Donald Trump won the electoral college on November 8, acquiring 279 electoral votes compared to Hillary Clinton’s 228, but lost the popular vote.

I am more than shocked. I am numb.

This election was a nail-biter, despite the fact that one candidate has shown herself to be more suited for political office. When Trump announced his campaign, it was widely considered a joke- and yet, he persevered. On January 20, he will (unless the electors choose to vote for Clinton) be sworn in as President. How did this happen?

What is mystifying to me, in particular, is Trump’s rise to the top. Here is a candidate with no prior political experience in elected office, who in the past, has actually shown himself to be decidedly less conservative than other members of the Republican Party – in 1999, in an interview on Larry King Live, he is quoted as having said that he believed the Republicans were “too far right.” In other old interviews, as reported by Snopes, he has also stated that he was pro-universal health care and pro-choice.

These are fundamentally different views than those he has voiced in this election cycle. Regardless of his past beliefs, he has presented himself as loud-mouthed; many supporters admire how he “speaks his mind” no matter the ramifications. Among one of many such statements is the bold accusation that illegal Mexican immigrants are “rapists” and “murderers.” All things considered, he is not the traditional nominee, personality-wise or politically.

This seismic shift shows America’s desire for an agent of change, as also evidenced by how successful Senator Bernie Sanders was, being a proclaimed democratic-socialist. Compared to candidates that were so far left and so far right, Clinton failed to prove herself as someone fresh, someone new, who could bring justice to the people of America.

According to a poll by CNN on election night, 83% of voters that said they wanted a candidate that “can bring change” voted for Trump. Earlier polls widely projected Clinton as a winner- clearly, we were not paying enough attention. Clearly, we are a nation divided.

But this is where we’re at. This election has been a real wake up call. I’ve spent a long time gathering all my ideas as to how Trump is a racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, and generally bigoted individual. I wish I could deny this outcome. But we cannot. I do not believe that he is a president-elect that reflects what I believe and what I want for the future of our country. I am uncertain and afraid of what these next four years will bring. But I also believe that as students, and as Americans, we must keep our heads up.

The reality of this election is that we have a Republican dominated Senate and House. Coupled with a Republican president and cabinet, as well as the Supreme Court justice seat open, conservative voices are poised to dominate in Washington. Our government has a three branch system, meant to provide checks and balances. This outcome means it is harder for Democrats to push forward their agendas. It’s also not an accurate representation of the views of the country, given that the majority of individual voters cast their ballots for a Democratic candidate.

More than anything, this election is a call to action. If you see anything wrong with this outcome, if you wish to make a change, you should absolutely let your voice be heard. We should not fight hate with hate, but as Americans, we have the right to peacefully protest. We have the right to be angry, and the right to be saddened. We should still reach out.

As students, most of us do not have the means to make sizable donations to institutions that will be threatened by Trump –things like the the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood, which provides women with healthcare-related services. But we can spread the word, we can volunteer, and we can let our voices be heard if we see changes being made that are unjust.

America promises the peaceful transition of power, and I hope, as much as any American, that Trump’s presidency will come and go (quickly) without alienating people or infringing upon civil liberties. He is not the future of politics if you do not want him to be –he is only the present.

As cliche as is sounds, we can be the future of politics. I am deeply saddened by this election’s outcome. I do not want it to define our future.

Most of us will be of voting age in 2020.

We must keep moving forward.