Article originally published in The Westerner, Thursday November 10, 2016
Photo Source: Slate
Donald Trump won the election for President on Tuesday night, defeating Hillary Clinton in a close and historic election showdown. While Clinton supporters throughout the country expected to revel in electing the first female President of the Union, it is the Trump camp that celebrates.
The Trump victory was an uphill climb that lasted all night on Tuesday, and it surprised many, especially students at Western New England University.
“Trump now has control of the nuclear codes. I can’t believe it. I absolutely do not trust Donald Trump,” said Zachary Newman, sophomore at Western New England University.
Newman was among those who described himself as disappointed in the election results throughout the year. As a former supporter of Bernie Sanders, he looked to Clinton as a last resort.
“From the millennial perspective, Clinton was the lesser of two evils,” Newman went on to say.
Where it seemed to be a concern before the election whether or not Trump supporters would accept the outcome of the election, now the tables are turned and it are Clinton supporters who are expected to accept the election results.
“I do not expect all Americans to like Donald Trump as the 45th US President, but I do expect Trump opponents, mainly Clinton supporters, to accept the election results and the US democratic process,” said Dr. Laura Janik, Professor in the Department of History and Political Science at Western New England University.
Many young voters throughout the election were skeptical of both Trump and Clinton. Whether or not the young voter block had a strong impact on Tuesday’s election is unclear. What is clear is that there are already calls for reform to the democratic process.
“I think it’s pretty typical,” said Brianna Muir, sophomore at Western New England.
“Both Clinton and Trump were terrible candidates. The third party presented better options, but because of the system, neither one had a chance to win,” Muir said.
It is now officially Trump’s Republican Party, and Trump’s White House. It will bring a wave of change to the country that in recent weeks wasn’t expected.
Dr. Tim Vercellotti, Professor of Political Science and Director of the Polling Institute at Western New England notes that a President-elect Trump makes a lot of Americans very happy.
“Half of the country will breathe a sigh of relief that an anti-establishment candidate has won, and they will be eager to see dramatic change,” the Polling Institute Director said.
“The other half will react angrily that a race that the Democrats should have won has slipped away,” Dr. Vercellotti added speaking about the other half of the electorate.
Photo Source: USA Today
RealClearPolitics polling averages had Clinton up in key states which ended up favoring Trump, particularly in the upper Midwest. It are these results that gave Trump the Presidency, but didn’t come as a surprise to voters with Trump.
“I grew to believe Trump was unfit to be President,” said Ashton Bourbonnais, sophomore at Western New England.
Bourbonnais, who described himself as once being a Trump supporter who then considered not voting, had an interesting struggle during the long election process.
“But I would rather him than Hillary, so I ended up voting for him,” said Bourbonnais with enthusiasm.
With what now is a Republican controlled country, the many defectors within the party may find themselves supporting Trump, and having to work with him to pass legislation and appoint Supreme Court Justices.
“Leaders of the Republican Party will have to decide whether to embrace the president’s agenda and work with him, or demand concessions in exchange for their support,” said Dr. Vercellotti confirming the reality of this inter-party dynamic.
In the immediate aftermath of the election there is a sense of shock. Not just among the young voters on the campus of Western New England, but around the country. Polls and pundits had Clinton leading the race, though it did narrow in recent weeks with continued concerns over Clinton’s use of a private email server.
The Trump persona was unique only to him, and against all odds has earned him the White House.
“Trump is a big personality with celebrity status,” Dr. Janik said.
“He is not afraid to offend or be politically incorrect, and for some people, this is a good thing,” the professor went on to say.
The movement that began on June 16, 2015 to “make America great again,” will continue beyond Election Day. What has made its way from the halls of Trump Tower will make its way to the Oval Office on January 20, 2017.