Election Reactions Show America’s Clear Divide

Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore, Wikipedia

In the early hours of Nov. 9, it became official: Donald Trump is the next president of the United States. After winning several very important swing states, Trump secured the 270 electoral college votes he needed to defeat Hillary Clinton, bringing to an end one of the most polarizing campaigns in American history.

The campaign trail has been littered with scandal on both sides, causing a deep divide between the American people and leaving the country largely dissatisfied with both candidates. This left many people heading to the polls to vote for which candidate they considered the lesser of two evils.

Although Clinton won the popular vote by a small margin, America has chosen Trump as the lesser evil. Trump’s campaign largely succeeded because he was the unorthodox candidate, a billionaire businessman who is not concerned with being politically correct.

While most major news sources predicted Clinton as the clear winner, she proved unable to inspire voters outside of her base. On the other hand, Trump’s plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act, ban Muslims from entering the country and crack down on illegal immigration spoke to disenfranchised voters who came out to vote for him on Tuesday in a way the media never predicted.

Trump’s campaign relied heavily on his strong stance against illegal immigrants and intentions to build a wall along the Mexican-American border. One of Trump’s biggest promises is to undo much of what the Obama administration did, namely the Affordable Care Act. In an effort to make healthcare more universally available, it lowered costs for some Americans while skyrocketing it for others.

“Ignoring his negativity, he's something different and his experience as a businessman could be good for the country,” said Blake Coppola.

However, many people are unable to move past his negativity, while others are inspired to action by it. The same uncensored comments that helped to win him the election have left other groups feeling polarized and worrying what a Trump presidency means for them.

Since 9/11, Muslims have been one of the most highly targeted victims of racial prejudice. With the rise of ISIS, Muslim-Americans have become a scapegoat for terrorism. As Trump prepares to take office and take action against terrorism by suspending immigration from the Middle East, Muslim-Americans fear the backlash they will receive.

“Hate crimes against Muslims have increased since [Trump] began his campaign and I’ve even received more racist comments in my own personal life as well,” said junior Mounira Elsmra of Cliffside Park.

Muslim-Americans fear people will feel more comfortable expressing racism toward them because of the fact that they don’t fit into Trump’s America.

“I definitely feel that people will be more open of their racist views because they will be able to justify and rationalize it with the election of the President. It may open more doors for obnoxious remarks and unnecessary comments, but there are enough open-minded people to counter that,” said Rand Abdul-Raziq, president of the Muslim Student Association.

The majority of Trump’s uncensored comments have been directed at women, from calling Clinton a “nasty woman” to bragging that his fame allows him to sexually assault women. He has also expressed his desire to overturn Roe v. Wade and give states the ability to make their own laws about abortion.

“I feel Trump doesn't respect women and doesn't know how to put himself in our shoes. I'm scared for my rights to pro choice and access to birth control,” said Paige Bassani of River Vale.

While it seemed that Trump had largely polarized women, 53 percent of white women voted for him according to the New York Times.

“I think we still have a chance to elect a woman president one day,” Bassani continued. “We just have to keep our voices heard and keep fighting.”

Just like Muslim-Americans, many women fear that his comments will make sexism more acceptable.

With the votes split almost exactly down the middle and Americans divided, much of the country is dissatisfied with the results. Regardless, Trump is going to be the next president and more hate and violence is not going to change that.

“Just as there is more of an opportunity for people to be racist and xenophobic,” said Abdul-Raziq, “there is more of an opportunity to combat it with love and justice.”

Additional reporting done by Pauline Park, William Bologna, Erica Deluccia, Adrianna Laskowski, Christina Murphy, Ryan Woods and Josh Kirsten.