In a historic upset, Donald Trump won the 2016 Presidential Election in one of the closest elections in history, marking the second time in less than two decades a presidential candidate has won the presidency without having the majority of the popular vote.
Naturally, many Americans are shocked. Protests, riots and demonstrations have erupted across the nation, and many are expressing their fear and uncertainty. Here at the University of Rhode Island, the backlash is no different, as tensions have run high with the clashing of political differences.
Of 19 students surveyed, the vast majority voted for Hillary Clinton. This is unsurprising, considering this is a liberal institution in a historically Democratic state. It is therefore also understandable that the majority of these students felt unsatisfied by the outcome of the election. When asked to explain why, most cited Trump specifically rather than the party he represents.
“I honestly do not care that our president elect is a Republican, although I identify as a Democrat,” one student said. “[Trump] openly condemned many communities across that country, then had the audacity to say he will unify those same said communities in his acceptance speech.”
“I did not love either candidate, but I am concerned about the negative impact President Elect Trump could have on our country,” another student, who was mainly concerned with the after-effects of the election, said.
Though 73 percent of student respondents marked that they were unsatisfied with the outcome of the election, only 57 percent thought Trump would be an ineffective president.
“He mentioned unity in his victory speech, but his campaign rhetoric has promoted anything but,” a senior surveyed said, who was unsatisfied with the election outcome.
“He is racist, misogynistic, and xenophobic,” the senior student said. “I am sure he will work hard to accomplish what he claims he will do, but I do not think that those things are right for America and moving our country forward.”
Another senior felt less sure.
“It’s more of a maybe- Trump has alienated so many politicians throughout his campaign- and he lacks the social graces and cooperation to work with people whose opinions differ from his own,” the senior said. “However, with a republican congress, who knows how much [expletive] he’ll be able to accomplish.”
When asked about any other thoughts on the election, one student spoke out in favor of Trump.
“It was a difficult decision this year, and the proverbial ‘lesser of the two evils’ deeply came into play,” the student said. “I’m confident that Trump can fix our broken system.”
All that is certain now is that the country is seeing an extremely wide partisan divide, one that only appears to be getting worse as public outcry against the results continues to grow. The rest will have to wait for the inauguration.