Before you jump to conclusions, let me explain.
If I could’ve named this column, I would’ve called it, “President-elect Trump or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.” However, that’s too long of a title.
I still remain a staunch critic of Donald Trump, his campaign and his vision for this country. I still think he is a dangerous, ignorant man who is quite obviously the most unqualified person to be elected president. I believe that he will set this country on an uncertain path that could result in irreparable damage, both regarding his foreign policy decisions and proposed domestic policies.
All of that considered, it must be acknowledged and agreed upon that he is our president-elect. Donald Trump now represents us, no matter how much we don’t want him to. He won, and on Jan. 20, 2017, he will be sworn in as the 45th president. This is how our incredibly imperfect democracy works. These are among the rules that we agree to when we engage in politics, regardless of whether you’re liberal, conservative or independent. Whoever the winner is, we must rally behind them for the good of the country.
What I have seen on this campus and across the country have been people exercising their wholly worthy constitutional right to assemble. They have protested a man whose newly granted power will likely prove detrimental to the lives of the LGBTQIA+ community, Hispanics, African Americans, Muslims and women. The week before the election, I organized an anti-Trump editorial with four other SUNY newspapers, which I saw as a proactive measure to voice similar concerns.
However, I absolutely disagree with people waving “Not My President” signs or those urging electors to bypass the voice of the voters in America and cast their votes for Hillary Clinton instead. To be clear, if the electors pursued this course of action, it would be unprecedented and cause unfathomable societal unrest. This would not be a weeklong bout with chaos, as we’ve seen. There would be serious rioting, there would be existential outrage across the country and a high probability of violence.
As a student of political science, I am well aware of the problems with the Electoral College, but abolishing it won’t fix the underlying issues facing this nation. Both sides now need to train their focus on the issues raised in this campaign and work with the incoming Trump administration to address them. There needs to be effective and reasonable solutions to issues like immigration, income inequality, trade and how we should operate our foreign policy. Both parties have glaring weaknesses, though the extremists on each side would argue otherwise. They’re wrong.
Republicans may have won this election, but that was with a celebrity candidate, the likes of which has never been seen before in national politics. Their agenda is nonexistent, it doesn’t even belong to them anymore, it belongs to a seemingly unhinged orange-faced man who was a registered Democrat until 2009.
What Republicans also haven’t talked about is the shrinking electorate due to their association with the alt-right movement and the fact that Breitbart is now leading their messaging campaign. Consider that within the next 30 years, Hispanics will be the dominant voting bloc and their views on issues like immigration and healthcare will be the primary concern of any political party seeking viability. After this campaign, it’s obvious that Republicans did absolutely nothing to endear them with who will be the majority of the country. They only endeared themselves to those who already are the majority.
Meanwhile, Democrats failed to understand the lingering economic circumstances that led to Trump’s election. Yes, the unemployment rate is 4.9 percent, but the participation rate of workers in the labor force is the lowest since 1977. The Obama administration did manage to avoid a full-scale meltdown in the form of an economic depression, but their response to the Great Recession remained patently incomplete.
People are still hurting, even years after the economy rebounded to where it was before 2008. The Dow Jones finished at an all-time high this week, but most don’t realize it’s that high. There is a true disconnect between those with job security and a steady income, and those who once had decent jobs and now work part-time, if they work at all.
I’ve been told by dozens of Trump supporters that I will be thanking them for electing Trump to the highest office in the land. I love this country and so badly want to be proven wrong. I want this man, (the first person elected to the presidency without prior service in government or the military), to ultimately succeed. I want to eat crow and have people give me a hard time for being opposed to his candidacy since June of 2015.
I’m fearful that I’m going to be right, that things won’t get better and we will take a serious step back as a country. But in the meantime, I’ll be praying for my country, and President Donald Trump, to do well. For the sake of this beautiful country, I urge you to do the same.