On Nov. 8, 2016, millions of Americans gathered around to watch what may be the greatest upset in political history.
In a year of unpredictability, it was only fitting that Donald Trump would defy the polls and statistical models and become the president-elect. The question many are asking now is: where do Democrats go from here? Unfortunately for America, the impacts of this election will range far beyond the next four years, both politically and socially.
Presidential elections do not incite divisions, but rather, they mirror it. Trump was not the root cause of the racial tensions we are currently now seeing, he just exposed it. As Democrats, we must ask, where did we go wrong? The Republicans nominated a bashful, boastful, unfiltered anti-establishment candidate while the Democrats nominated an experienced, disciplined and calculated career politician. From the inside political elite, it was an obvious and easy win for Hillary Clinton. However, the Democrats failed to listen to cries of the progressive wing, “Bernie or Bust!”
Democrats failed to understand the reasons why the Bernie Sanders’s progressive wing gained traction in the first place. It was not just some millennial trend; it was the struggling working class sick and tired of establishment politics. It was the white rural Americans rejecting the trade deals that sent their jobs overseas in the first place. The Democrats thought they could just sweep that under rug, the white working class would just gather around Clinton just like they usually do. But there comes a breaking point for everyone, and 2016 was when the ‘Blue Wall’ broke, not the glass ceiling.
Many people are scared right now. They are fearful of their lives, their families and their futures. It is important that we take this fear and channel it to productive channels to continue the movement. It is time our generation gets engaged politically. The Civil Rights movement did not always win legislatively, neither did the anti-Vietnam movement. However, the movement never gave up and channeled peaceful and productive protests. We have to remember that ‘love always trumps hate,’ and our movement of love cannot turn violent.
For every Democrat out there, remember the words of Michelle Obama, “When they go low, we go high.” We must continue to fight on, we must continue to protest and march for an America we believe in. In times of darkness, we search for light. Be the light that America needs, be the hope that inspired the hearts of millions and most importantly, never stop fighting for an America you believe in. As our own Rhode Island Senator once said, “March on, march on, march on!”