A Centrist’s View on the 2016 Election Results

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Ruth Kramer

By Ruth Kramer ’18, Co-Editor-In-Chief

It’s over. One of the most entertaining, toxic, and insulting Presidential elections in history has finally come to an end. Republican candidate Donald Trump has been voted President of the United States. As a Centrist, a person who does not belong to either of the major political parties and believes that both have their fair share of flaws and excellence, I believe that this election came down to hating one candidate more than another and lack of voter turnout. In the few days since the election results, I have heard more complaints about Donald Trump than ever before. I understand that, for some, this is a devastating election. But, for others, this is a wonderful blessing. And for the rest, this is just an end to an election they didn’t even care about. Common catchphrases of  “Maybe we’ll get lucky and Donald Trump will get impeached” and “The electoral system is stupid, Hillary Clinton should have won because she took the popular vote” are some of the most popular opinions I’ve heard thus far. So, with this article I would like to address this election from the viewpoint of a centrist, that no, these results are not ideal, but we will make it through this and it will be okay.

To begin, I’d like to address all of the comments about how the electoral college system needs to go because it’s not serving the nation like it’s intended to. The electoral college system was established when our nation was founded to best serve the states, to best preserve states’ rights, to protect the everyday man. The electoral college was put in place by our founding fathers, specifically James Madison, to avoid specific groups of citizens from rising up against the common people and pushing their special interests to the forefront, leaving the yeoman farmer or poor manufacturer without a government working for them. Electors, the people who choose which candidate receives  the electoral votes, are usually faithful to their party. However, their first priority is to preserve democracy by voting how the people voted. The idea is that yes, people deserve to choose their president, but those a little more qualified than the average man should cast the final ballot to best protect the country. If someone is completely, totally, unbelievably unfit to be president, the electors will choose the another candidate. While it may seem unfair at times, the electoral college system is in place to protect the citizens of the Unites States.

Donald Trump has said and done some very bad things. Hillary Clinton has also said and done some very bad things. When one stated they were voting for Clinton, insults followed, but when one said they voted for Trump? Attacks ensued, specifically the label of being a sexist homophobe who is also a racist. And this is simply not true. Half of this nation is not racist or homophobic or misogynistic. Yes, some people still harbor these ideas and are public about it, but I refuse to believe that progress for equality among all persons has fallen so short. Perhaps ballots cast for Trump were less a vote for him and rather a vote against Clinton. The hate and disgust shown from this nation towards each other is horrifying and overwhelmingly sad. You can’t say anything about the election without being attacked by someone else. Yet, it’s our right. It’s our right, as deemed by the First Amendment, to the freedom of speech, religion, and expression. If we want to exercise our right to speak, we must respect the right of others to do the same. This country will never totally agree on any issue, but if we respect each other as people first, rather than as races, genders, religions, or political parties, we will move much closer to internal peace. And now more than ever, that is what we need.

Donald Trump is president. There is no changing that. Rather than dwelling on this surprising result, we should look to the future and look to improve. Yet, this will be very hard to do if the idea that we’ll “get lucky” or “catch a break” and Trump will get impeached gains more momentum. Maybe instead of screwing up and hurting the country, Donald Trump will do his job and do it well. Our “best case scenario” is not that he’s removed from office (which would most likely further embarrass America; admitting we made the wrong choice could weaken our reputation with world leaders), but that Donald Trump steps up to the plate and delivers. That, as he said in his victory speech, he will be a President for all Americans. Has he, maybe, done any of that already? I’ve heard people speak about how disgusting it that we’ve voted for a man who was endorsed by the KKK. But everyone seems to ignore the fact that Donald Trump rejected that endorsement and has repeatedly “disavowed” KKK member David Duke after he said he endorsed Trump. Donald Trump has said terrible things about all people, women, African-Americans, Hispanics, immigrants, and many more. Yet, 54% of women that voted on November 8th, voted for him. And 30% of Hispanics voted for him. Though that seemed to be the majority, this was not an election decided purely by white men. Women and African-Americans and Hispanics and immigrants voted him in. But, we shouldn’t even have to look at that. We shouldn’t be shaming our neighbors and friends. Instead of rooting against our country, we need to root for it. We need to hope for success and work our hardest to achieve it. Though this situation is not ideal, we can make it work. But first, we must work for it.

Lastly, I want to say that I think America will come out stronger than ever before. Donald Trump has exposed the fact that, though not all Trump voters are malicious, there is still underlying hate and discrimination in the United States that can no longer be denied. I cherish this country so much and it is extremely disheartening to hear people say that this is the end of this great nation because of one man. Donald Trump cannot and will not take everything good with him. Governmental checks and balances were created so one person or group of people doesn’t have too much power.  No matter how much people hate him, Donald Trump is a still a person. He is still just a man. He is a man with a wife, a sister, a family. And now he’s a man that resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. And no matter what he does or does not do, Donald Trump can never take away the hope of this nation. We will progress forward; gay men and women will be able to marry in all states without social stigmas, women will one day make the same amount of money as men, and racist slurs will someday dry up and fade from our tongues. But we have to believe that this change is still possible. If we give up in the face of struggle, what good does it do? So America, whether you were for, against, or indifferent towards Trump, let’s keep the faith and continue our fight for equality, compassion, and change. This is the greatest country in the world and if any nation is capable of strength and change in difficult times, it is the United States of America. And because of that, I am proud to be an American.