Trumped: A reaction to a new president

by Caleb McCullough | Class of 2018 | Oct. 15, 2016

   On November 8, 2016, the world was waiting with baited breath. At the end of a contentious, brutal campaign season, it was finally time for the American people to cast their ballots and choose their leader for the next four years. 

 

   I watched with nervous excitement, later and later into the night, and became more and more worried. As Trump was snatching electoral votes left and right, my brain frantically began to calculate possible ways that Clinton could win. And I was convinced, somehow, that she would pull it off. She had to pull it off.

   I drifted off to sleep around midnight, still confident that I would wake up to a second President Clinton. 

   I did not. 

   Instead my eyes opened to find Mike Pence giving a speech to a roaring crowd. I checked the time: 2 a.m. It was surreal and confusing. I still wasn’t sure what was happening as Mr. Trump took the stage.

   My heart sank as I came to the stunning realization that, for the next four years, this man would be the head of my country. 

Unlike many others that were “with her”, I was not mourning this “tragedy”. I completely understood the results.

   Donald Trump was adored by voters who felt they had been ignored for a long time. He appealed to predominantly white, working class people. 

 

   He appealed to people who saw Clinton as a manifestation of everything wrong with the political system. He appealed to the fear, anger, and helplessness of a demographic who feel their interests have been ignored in Washington.

 

   Director Michael Moore put it best in his documentary, Michael Moore in Trumpland: “He is the human hand grenade that they can legally throw into the system that stole their lives from them”. 

 

   So what does all this mean for the future? Make no mistake

about it: A Donald Trump presidency is going to be worse for American progress than any other candidate on the ticket this November.

 

   Mitch McConnell’s conservative congress is going to wreak havoc on nearly everything Obama has achieved and then some. The Affordable Care Act will be first on the chopping block. Even worse, after all of President Obama’s hard work on climate change and clean energy, the Republicans will continue to ignore facts and carry on with their irresponsible crusade to burn the earth as quickly as possible. 

 

   I still maintain Donald Trump was the wrong pick for the presidency. Any other populist, anti-establishment leader, any other year, would have been better than Hillary Clinton. But this ignorant megalomaniac is not the man we should have chosen. The next four years will be worse in the short term. Years of progress will be removed, and Trump himself doesn’t offer much hope for reform. From considering thoroughly “establishment” picks for his cabinet, to already going back on a number of campaign promises, he’s very likely not very intent on “draining the swamp” and rooting out corruption. His rhetoric though, is more important to the big picture than his actual actions. 

 

   He is a shock, a brutal wake-up call, to two equally corrupt parties that are bogged down by partisanship and self-serving Washington insiders. Billing himself as the president for every man, he gave life to a powerful, energetic movement- a radical belief that the government should work for its people. All its people.

 

   Regardless of what the next four years might hold, we will recover. Millennials are, on both sides of the coin, wildly more progressive than their parents. They will shape the future of their parties, and they won’t stand for the social injustices that prevail in the modern thought of the Republican party. 

 

   But perhaps president-elect Trump- this hand grenade, this wrench in the machine- will bring a new era to American politics, where anti-establishment is the new normal and the modern establishment fades away.