By Grady Gillett, Opinions Editor
On November 8, Donald J. Trump shocked the world. He defeated Hillary Clinton, the heavy favorite, with 290 electoral votes to 232, despite Clinton winning the popular vote 47.9 percent to Trump’s 47.2 percent.
Celebrities, politicians, magazines and most mainstream media were reeling around 3 a.m. on the morning of the 9th as the final votes came in from swing states like Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Trump, against all odds, had stolen the election from under Clinton’s nose.
In what has been possibly the most divisive presidential campaign in American history, both Trump and Clinton were lambasted by the public before the election for various reasons, such as as Trump’s pending sexual assault charges and Clinton’s dubious use of a private email server.
“I voted for Clinton because I hate Trump,” senior Julie Rice said. “He hates women and African-Americans. He is a racist who doesn’t want Hispanics living here and that’s just not what America is about.”
Trump’s biggest asset in this political upset was the blue-collar vote from rural, predominantly white, Americans that were largely forgotten by urban voting polls, most of which gave Clinton a large lead. It was this Rust Belt demographic, which voted largely for Barack Obama in 2012, that was attracted to Trump more than Clinton.
“I voted for him mostly because I liked him more than Clinton,” senior Olivia Swanson said.
The fallout of the election over the past few weeks has been tumultuous to say the least, with both nonviolent and violent protests occurring incessantly from New York City to San Francisco. The most common complaints of these protesters have been Trump’s derogatory comments towards women, his Islamophobia and his view on undocumented immigrants.
“I felt like Donald Trump divided the country and played on some of the prejudice that still exists,” World History teacher Fakhria Luna said. “Not all 1.6 billion of the Muslims in the world have terrorist affiliations, so when he suggested that they do I felt personally attacked.”
Luna also felt victimized by Trump’s incendiary remarks about immigrants, being married to a Mexican man with whom she has three children.
“My family and my husband’s family live here and none of them are drug dealers or rapists, or any other of the words that Trump has used,” Luna said.
Of the aforementioned protests most have been peaceful vigils and walks, but several have been violent with civilian shootings and police being targeted.
“I think violent protests are against what all [Clinton supporters] stand for–when they say the nation should be peaceful,” Swanson said.
The people of Winston Salem have been a part of the outcry against the election results, with many people gathering in public places like Merschel Plaza in the heart of downtown with the popular ‘Dump Trump’ signs to show their displeasure with the President-elect.
Both Trump and Clinton supporters have also caused headlines in the aftermath of his victory by partaking in hate crimes, including graffiti and assault.
“I absolutely think people have the freedom to protest or celebrate,” Luna said. “But violence is never the answer, we’ve seen that again and again.”
Photo from Capitol Hill Outsider.