2016 has been quite possibly one of the most absurd, momentous years in contemporary human history–so much so that historians looking back on this year will likely call it the “Year of the Upset” due to the mass amounts of statistically improbable events that have taken place. Back in May, the British soccer team Leicester City beat the 5,000 to 1 odds against them by winning the 2015-26 Premiere League in what some have called “one of the most remarkable stories in the history of English football”. The following month, the citizens of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union in a move that stunned the world and global markets.
Around the same time, back in the Colonies, the Golden State Warriors blew a 3-1 lead over the Cleveland Cavaliers and lost the 2016 NBA Championship after maintaining the best overall record in the NBA’s history (73-9). More recently, the Chicago Cubs also overcame a 3-1 deficit to beat the Cleveland Indians in the 2016 MLB World Series, gaining them their first pennant in well over 100 years. In Colombia, voters rejected a historic peace deal between the Colombian government and the armed forces of the far-left paramilitary group FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia) that would have ended half a century of insurgency and violence. All these events have one thing in common: they shocked pollsters and statisticians throughout the world who reassured the world that the odds of these events occurring were low and that they simply would not happen.
Last night, Donald Trump defied all expectations and continued this trend of upsets by defeating Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. After a year and a half long battle which saw Trump defeat a range of experienced political opponents to become the GOP presidential nominee, Trump stunned the world and made meme magic come true. Though Trump lost the popular vote 59.8 million votes to 59.5 million votes (as of this writing), Trump gained 279 of the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency, compared to Clinton’s 220.
Last night was also huge victory for the Republican party, as they swept the House, Senate, and the majority of the governorships across the country that were up for reelection. The GOP are now in control of 51 Senate seats and 239 House of Representative seats, giving them the majority needed to expeditiously pass legislature. By proxy, they will also be in control of Supreme Court and federal court nominations.
The election results came as a huge shock to pollsters, the media, the Clinton campaign, and just about everyone else who wasn’t aboard the Trump train. On the very day of the election, the New York Times gave Clinton a comfortable 85% chance at victory. Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight had Clinton’s chance at victory at 72% going into the election. After going 50 for 50 states (plus Puerto Rico) last time around and 49 for 50 in 2008, they went 45 for 50 this year. Most political pundits, analysts, journalists, and politicians from both sides of the aisle never expected Trump to win the Republican nomination, let alone the presidency. Even we here at In Loco Politico predicted that Trump’s campaign wouldn’t last long and would instead, falter and fail in light of his increasingly inflammatory remarks.
But we were all wrong. The polls largely failed at predicting a Trump victory–especially one of this magnitude. Trump took seven of the eleven swing states. He outperformed nearly every single major statistical model that showed he would lose–badly at that. Personally, I believe we underestimated the anger, dissatisfaction, and ignorance of a large swath of Americans who would gladly cut their nose to spite their face if it meant change.
c h a n g e pic.twitter.com/Hu8zCY7mQl
— Alex Norris (@dorrismccomics) November 9, 2016
I’m still in utter shock and disbelief that this is the man our country chose to represent us and quite frankly, I’m torn about it. I’m torn because I know damn well that the racism, misogyny, fear, and hatred that Trump has espoused throughout the course of his campaign is indeed alive and thriving–there’s simply no way he would’ve won the election otherwise. I’m torn because I love the fact that we live in a nation where we are able to elect our leaders democratically, but I despise the fact that so many of us are either utterly misinformed or completely apathetic that we don’t use this privilege appropriately. I’m torn because this is who the American people have voted for, but this shouldn’t be who defines us as a country.
We have a president-elect who launched his campaign by disparaging my countrymen as rapists, criminals, and drug dealers–a president-elect who doesn’t think a judge can adequately perform his job just because of his ethnicity, one who wants to tear apart families and deport bright, young minds. We have a president-elect who has degraded women and who has treated as sex objects–one that has also openly bragged about sexually assaulting women and has been accused of it by dozens of women. We have a president-elect–the first in our nation’s history–with no political or military experience. We have a president-elect who firmly believes that man-made climate change is a “hoax” perpetuated by the Chinese. We have a president-elect who believes American workers are being paid “too much“. We have a president-elect who insulted a Gold Star family and had the audacity to compare the loss of their son to the “lot[s] of sacrifices” he’s had to make in his business career–a president-elect that only respects war heroes that “weren’t caught”, one that got five different deferments for the Vietnam war including one for “bad feet”.
We have a vice president-elect who believes that you can use electricity to turn gay people straight–one who warned marriage equality would lead to “societal collapse”. We have a vice president-elect that signed a law requiring the burial or cremation of aborted fetuses, one who would like to “send Roe v. Wade to the ash heap of history“. We have a vice president-elect who advocated for the teaching of creationism in publicly funded school. We have a vice president who co-sponsored a bill that would overturn the birthright citizenship guaranteed by the fourteenth amendment, a vice president who once wrote that “smoking doesn’t kill” during his campaign for congress.
We have a president and vice president-elect that are so out-of-touch with the changing times of America, ones who deny science and even flat-out lie about the things they’ve said. But perhaps most worryingly of all, we have a president-elect whose own advisers couldn’t trust him with Twitter, and now we’re giving him the codes to the world’s largest nuclear arsenal?
But none of this mattered to the American people–or if it did, not enough to keep them from voting for him. They wanted a break from the status quo, someone to stir up the pot and Donald Trump filled that role to a t. Many of his reluctant supporters who did find issue with his personality have justified their support by saying that Trump’s temperament will change with time and he will sooner or later become “presidential-like”.
Yet we have waited… and waited… and waited… for nearly two years and he shows absolutely no signs of improvement–aside from when he reads off a teleprompter, I’ll give him that. In fact, Trump appears to be getting worse and worse in his rhetoric, in his pettiness, and in his unfitness to be the leader of our great nation. We can’t simply continue waiting for Donald to become presidential–his prior history highlights the fact that this will not happen and that he is entirely unfit to lead our nation–especially in such a time as this.
I’ve seen a lot of people on social media blaming third-party candidates for siphoning away votes from Hillary Clinton, thereby handing Trump a victory in many crucial swing states like Pennsylvania and Florida. However, only slightly over half of all 213 million eligible voters did so. This is despite beliefs that this election would see a record-breaking number of voters due to the perceived significance of it.
Out of the roughly 130 million or so that did vote, 59.4 million of them voted for Trump. That means only 28% of our country’s eligible voters (or 19% of the total US population) chose Trump as our president. If there’s anyone to blame, it should not be the voters who decided to follow their conscious and refused to settle for the less of two evils. Rather, it should be the people who wrote-in Harambe, Hennessy, or some other foolish answer as their choice for president as well as the millions and millions throughout the country who didn’t even bother voting.
America: “we must not let Trump become president!!!”
Also America: pic.twitter.com/C3LNwMzwMM
— kuran (@TheHolyKuran) November 9, 2016
The brunt of the blame for losing the election partially also falls on the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton herself. They angered and disenfranchised many ardent Bernie Sanders supporters through the unfair treatment he received during the Democratic primary. Clinton failed to address the various grievances that Sanders supporters had in regards to her alarmingly comfortable ties with Wall St and repressive foreign governments. It didn’t help that she was extremely tone-deaf when it came to the WikiLeaks DNC and Podesta email leaks in the weeks leading up to election day. Rather than produce the hope and inspiration they did with Obama in 2008 and 2012, the DNC and Clinton’s campaign instead relied on telling skeptical voters that they basically have no other choice but to support her, lest they risk giving the presidency to Trump.
In ridiculing and putting down Bernie supporters and also forcing a highly disliked politician that’s perceived as corrupt and dishonest as our candidate, the Democratic party dug its own grave. Too often they relied on fear mongering and complacency to get people to support Clinton.
This had a particular effect on the voter turnout of the “Obama coalition” which helped him win the presidency twice. Though people of color voted overwhelmingly for Clinton, less of them showed up to the polls in crucial precincts within key swing states. All in all, voters were much less excited about supporting Hillary Clinton than, say, Bernie Sanders or Barack Obama four or eight years ago. No amount of celebrity endorsements or Beyoncé concerts or campaigning on behalf of well-known Democratic surrogates such as Bill Clinton, Michelle Obama, Bernie Sanders, or even the President himself would have been able to remove the bad taste the Democratic party left in their mouths.
But make no mistake about it: Trump does not have the best interests in mind for all, or even the majority, of America. By and large, Trump was elected through the efforts of white Americans, particularly men, older folks, those without college degrees, and those living in rural areas. Trump non-college educated white voters and rural voters by double Clinton’s margin. On the other hand, millennials, gays, and people of color largely voted for Clinton.
Trump’s victory is a victory for white supremacy and “traditional values” that denigrate many Americans to a lesser status. You know it is truly a sad day for American progress when the candidate of choice of white supremacists gets elected as president.
Let me be very clear: it’s not the fact that a Republican won–no, it’s about the fact that Donald Trump, of all people, won. The man who has insulted or criticized nearly everyone and everything under the sun, the Teflon Don. The sad part is that had Obama said anything even close to half the things that Trump has more or less gotten away with saying, he could be crucified by Conservatives more than he already is. But despite being an exemplary family and having no major scandals in their eight years in the White House, the Obama’s have had their patriotism, love for their country, and even their religious beliefs questioned by conservatives for eight years.
Yet Trump, a man with five children from three marriages, a man who seemingly lacks any regard for human beings that don’t agree with him, a man who would likely sell the shirt off a homeless person’s back to buy himself an ice cream is the candidate of choice of the religious, “moral” right and evangelicals throughout the country.
Trump’s victory did not sit well, however, with the people who didn’t support him. The fallout of his election was nearly immediately. Students at universities up and down my home state of California took to the streets in masses shortly after the winner had been declared to voice their frustration and anger at our president-elect.
— Chris Thurman (@cthurmm) November 9, 2016
UC Irvine protest after Donald Trump is announced as the next President. pic.twitter.com/casMrfvzto
— Qumber Ali (@qummingsoon) November 9, 2016
— Kat Gurzhi (@meowerina) November 9, 2016
I am undoubtedly upset and frustrated at the results of last night’s elections, but I can’t say I’m shocked. The plentiful bounty of hatred and distrust that Trump has consistently cultivated throughout his campaign and which he finally harvest last night has long been lingering in the soil of our country. Yet the election of our nation’s first African American president has led many to believe that we live in a post-racial society in which the ills of slavery and Jim Crow are no longer felt.
Too often have I heard white people telling people of color to simply get over it in response to some tragic event such as a police shooting, an invasion of our land, the contamination of our water, or the deportation of our family members. Worse, they often even have the audacity to tell us to get over the genocide of indigenous people, the enslavement of African, the exploitation of Chinese and Mexican labor, the internment of the Japanese, the occupation of the Filipinos, the political and social instability suffered by Central and South Americans, the bombing of Muslims and Arabs… need I go on?
They want us to be quite and accept these events without duress. They want us to be complacent to the injustices committed against us so they can continue living in a country where they are the ones in control, not a bunch of minorities. Many of them much rather flat-out deny certain issues exist than admit that they’re wrong.
However, we cannot address these ills if we remain painfully oblivious and ignorant to the fact that they exist. It has become crystal clear that misogyny, racism, sexism, xenophobia, and Islamophobia are still very much alive and well in the United States. This country has failed Latinxs, women, the LGBT+ community, Muslims, and other people of color and minority groups throughout its history–last night was no different.
As an undocumented student, the results of the election pose an existential risk to myself, my family, and millions of others like us that are hiding in the shadow in absolute fear of Trump’s America. It is now somewhat difficult to focus on my higher education and career, being well-aware that my fifteen years of life in the States can be easily upended overnight. I’ve had nearly all my memorable life experiences happen here in the United States and despite being undocumented, I see myself as more American than Mexican. In our fifteen years here, never have we worried more about the stability of our life in our adoptive country. If we were to get deported, my family and I wouldn’t have it too bad I suppose. We have our own house in Mexico and have enough saved up to get the hell out of this country is worse comes to worse.
However, many people aren’t as fortunate. Some will have no home to go to, little to no knowledge of the country, and may even lack the ability to speak the native tongue. Some will get sent back to countries with bleak economic and social outlooks with little opportunities for a better life. Others will be sent back to war zones where they will most certainly face death. Millions of students, parents, neighbors, employees, friends, relatives, and loved ones all face the scorn of Trump’s proposed policies and rhetoric. No longer will the United States be a refuge for the tired, poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free. Rather, we will be known as the racist, hateful walled-off country that elected a reality TV star with absolutely no experience over a woman with nearly four decades of political experience.
We must not fret though. People of color, the gay community, Muslims, immigrants, and our white allies must be steadfast and unite together in a common front against this threat to our country. If Donald Trump is to be president, then we will do everything within our power to ensure that he is as ineffective as possible and that none of his nefarious, unconstitutional plans for this country come into effect. We will not allow Trump to run our country int our ground or reverse the painstaking progress our country has made since 1776.
— valentina (@PeachyVal__) November 9, 2016