The derision that overlooks the 2016 election
By Alex Romano, Staff Writer
Well, it’s over. Tuesday, November 8, is now just a date on a calendar page that has been ripped off and tossed into the wastebasket. The wait is over, and the long-hanging cloud of anticipation now lifted. The rallies have ended, the suspense has died, the polls have closed and the winner has been announced. The bloodiest and most toxic campaign season in the modern age has concluded with an unexpected result. And now the American people have Donald Trump’s inauguration as president of the United States to look forward to this January.
Trump’s victory came as a shock to many–if not most–Americans, as they tuned in to their respective news stations to watch the returns for the general election broadcast. I was one such surprised viewer, staring incredulously at my laptop screen as it live-streamed the results and repeating the names of the states that swung Trump’s way to my poor roommate, who humored me with an occasional response. I knew that I was becoming a nuisance by relaying the information to someone who was already well within earshot of the television, but I simply could not help myself: Michigan, Wisconsin, Florida and Pennsylvania were all tipping Trump’s way, in addition to a number of other key states. The Rust Belt suddenly started to look the shade of the autumn leaves, and several critical counties nationwide that had supported Obama in 2012 turned to the Right this time in 2016. By the early morning hours of Wednesday, November 9, Trump had secured 247 electoral votes compared to rival Hillary Clinton’s 215. Pennsylvania was still up in the air when I went to bed, and given his present lead in the polls, I thought it was a safe to predict that if Trump won Pennsylvania instead of Clinton, he would be the next President of the United States. I went to bed at 2:00 a.m., leaving the tabs on my laptop open and setting my alarm for 3:30 am. I figured that Wolf Blitzer’s panel would have declared a decisive winner by the time that my alarm sounded. Just moments before I drifted off to sleep, I saw that Trump had taken Pennsylvania. And that’s the ballgame, folks.
Nobody seemed more surprised with Donald Trump’s victory in the election than Donald Trump himself. One can only imagine how electrified he must have felt when Clinton called to concede, and how dejected Clinton must have felt when she dialed his number. It was a night of strong emotion for all involved, candidates, campaign staff, journalists, commentators and viewers alike, all of whom definitely had some powerful feelings regarding the victor. However, no matter what the degree of Trump’s excitement or the depth of Clinton’s disappointment were the early morning hours of November 9, neither contender’s emotion matched in power the intensity of the contempt with which many vocal members of the Left received after the election results.
The list of actions taken by youthful liberals to protest the election is by now common knowledge: people taking to the streets and marching out on the highways, students holding vigils and opting out of taking midterms and colleges cancelling classes and making final exams optional. But, considering the fact that Trump did not seize the presidency by means of a military coup and did not steal the election (as opponents accused old W. of doing in 2000) through a heated Supreme Court battle, these protests all appear frivolous and unfounded. They may not be, though, to some. Trump won the White House while failing to gain the majority of the popular vote, and cleaned up the delegate count only, which is always a controversial development in an election cycle. Protesters do have a point as far as wanting the popular vote to be the deciding factor in electing the president.
But the demand for the decisive power going to the popular vote is just an excuse. Judging by their democratic leanings, those upset by the results of the contest do not so much mind the electoral college deciding the president as they do seeing Donald trump over Hillary and being given the reigns of government. The sudden pro-direct democracy rhetoric of liberal protesters is a facade for their dislike of Trump and fear of a new leader who will strip minorities of civil liberties, set back reproductive rights to pre- Roe v. Wade times and engage the United States in a nuclear confrontation (none of which events will happen). But none of the protests will do any good; they are all a waste of time, as there is a new sheriff in town, like it or not. So rather than continue this waste of time, perhaps Trump’s opponents ought to figure out what they should do now that their nemesis is in office. It is too late to stop him; now you will have to work with him.
To be fair, Trump is somewhat to blame for this heated reaction. He is an abrasive old man, a thunderous boar whose apparent lack of a mental-verbal filter has caused him to make alarming oratorical assaults on Muslims and other minority groups. In this way, as I wrote in my last article for the paper (an underwhelming piece that I am relieved will never see the light of day in the physical Gettysburgian), Trump appears merely “half-presidential.” No worries, though, to all those protesters, objectors, and other concerned Americans out there. Now that Trump is president-elect, he will certainly act more presidential. He has no choice.