By Lauren Grimaldi
In what will perhaps stand as the most surprising development in the history of the nation, businessman and Republican Donald Trump has been elected as the 45th President of the United States.
Because virtually every reputable media outlet predicted that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would be elected, these results have caused a myriad of reactions across the country and college campuses.
Many are struggling to come to a concrete explanation as to how Mr. Trump was elected, though the coming days and months will likely lead to searching for answers in the Democratic party and beyond.
Charlie Madigan, a Roosevelt journalism professor, offered some insight on the results of this election.
“Donald Trump was elected by a coalition of rightfully angry people who grew weary of the inefficiencies of Congress, the inabilities to get anything done and the sense that change in the nation was somehow stripping them of a birthright they never really had in the first place,” said Madigan.
Madigan, who worked as a political reporter for several decades, believes that a variety of factors came into play.
“The media misled everyone in so many ways it should be ashamed. The emphasis on prediction at the New York Times and elsewhere blinded everyone, I would suggest, to the real passion unfolding beneath the radar,” said Madigan. “…Finally, I think liberals were a little too smug about the process, saw Trump as a buffoon instead of as the beacon he was to the people who backed him.”
David Faris, the department chair of political science and public administration at Roosevelt, offered his input on the election results. He cited low voter turnout in metropolitan areas of states as one of the reasons for Trump’s victory. Additionally, Faris echoed Professor Madigan’s thoughts that Trump reached out to a voter base that feel the political elites have ignored them.
“Those voters appear to have turned out in much higher than anticipated numbers. They didn’t make it through the pollsters’ likely voters screens and that threw off the predictions. No one in the professional forecasting or polling community saw this coming,” Faris said.
Though the presidential race was perhaps the most significant part of the 2016 election, it is important to be aware of the congressional race results as well. The Republicans were able to retain control in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, giving the GOP full control of the United States government through at least 2018.
While he will take office with this majority control, it is still uncertain that the 45th president will be able to enact the policies he proposed throughout his campaign. Professor Faris explains that while the Trump administration will have a wide latitude to enact their legislation, some particular policies may not come easy.
“The wild card is that several planks of Trump’s agenda, particularly his hostility to free trade, is at odds with Republican dogma and especially the GOP donor class. This goes for Trump’s hostility to international alliances like NATO too. It will be interesting to see how this plays out but it is certainly possible that Trump will not be able to muster majorities in his own party for some of these policies,” Faris said.
Roosevelt students also expressed their feelings on this election. Becca Wojcicki, a student organizer for the campus organization RISE, said that she was not expecting this outcome in the presidential race. She also expressed her sentiments on where those opposed to the outcome can go from here.
“We need to transform the Democratic party into something that people can believe in again and that works for all of us, not the wealthy elites. People like the Clintons have no place in the new version of the Democratic Party that will be build on populism and democratic socialism,” said Wojcicki.
Integrated Marketing Communications major Yasmeen Lipprand expressed her shock at Trump’s victory.
“The polls were wrong and the media. I am a little numb to the situation, but as an American, I hope that he and Congress help as many of us as they can,” Lipprand said.
While it is well known that Roosevelt is a very progressive university, it does not mean that only liberal students attend the institution.
Alena Pacheco, a senior History Education major, who worked in grassroots politics over the summer was happy with the results and is a Trump supporter.
“Election night, for me at least, represented a culmination of a lot of work. It was so rewarding to see all of the Congressional districts I had door knocked or called into light up red,” Pacheco said.
Pacheco explained, however, that she was not expecting for Trump to win. She believes that the results of this race will send a message overall.
“People are tired of corrupt politicians like Hillary Clinton. So many are ignoring the large number of voters like myself who voted for Obama in ’12 and switched to Trump this year after they felt the effects of Obama’s administration,” said Pacheco.
Brianna McCormick, a freshman special education major, also supports Donald Trump and said she does not agree with those who have reacted so negatively to his victory.
“It’s kind of disheartening though to see the disrespect that has festered on social media. You can disagree with candidates or people’s opinions but to outright hate on others for their freedom of speech is wrong and that’s disappointing to me,” McCormick said.
Because of Trump’s divisive campaign in which he threatened to build a wall across the border of Mexico and the U.S., many are dismayed at his win. His rhetoric against Muslims and Syrian refugees as well as many other minority groups was also especially hurtful.
Student Government Association President Nathan Stoll shared his worries for people of color and others as Trump assumes office in January.
“I weep at the thought of the violence that already exists in our country that targets people of color, women, trans individuals, Muslim Americans, and other marginalized people. I’m beginning to fear that it’s only going to get worse,” Stoll said.
Still, Stoll offered that the future will be hard but that students and millennials in general can act to see the change that they want to see.
“For now we grieve, but soon there will come a time where we can act. For me, I’m going forward seeking to find a way to be a part of a coalition that stands in solidarity against those who use violence and hate to keep us from progress and equality,” Stoll said.