College Reacts to Shocking Trump Upset
Businessman Donald J. Trump, a Republican, is President-Elect.
Trump shocked Democrat Hillary Clinton Tuesday, riding a wave of populist furor to narrow victories in the key states of Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, taking at least 290 electoral votes. Clinton won at least 228. The states of Michigan and New Hampshire are still too close to call as of press time.
Like the rest of the country, much of the campus is sharply divided over 2016.
“I’m not so happy about it, but at this point there’s nothing we can really do. So I think we should just see how he does and then go from there,” said student Lisette Vincent. Vincent was not a Trump supporter, but she is willing to give the President-Elect a chance.
“Obama’s economic policies have killed our country, and Trump’s are different. And Hillary’s were just going to be the same the same is him,” said an anonymous Trump supporter. “I don’t see how he couldn’t be [a good President].”
Junior psychology major Siobhan Noonan feels alienated by Trump and betrayed by the country in the wake of the results. Noonan voted for Clinton.
“I think this really shows how little Americans care about women, care about women of color, people of color, their fellow Muslim citizens, their L.G.B.T. citizens. Because his entire campaign was built on hate, hate-speech towards Muslims, hate-speech towards people of color, derogatory speech towards woman and it just shows how little people actually care… about us,” Noonan said.
Polls showed Clinton with the edge heading to election night, but by 11:00 p.m. Tuesday it had become clear that Trump had the inside track to victory. By 3:30 a.m. Wednesday, Clinton had conceded to Trump in a phone call, and Trump had declared victory in a speech to supporters at the New York Hilton in Midtown.
“You make certain assumptions in constructing a poll and interpreting your results, and, maybe not deliberately, sometimes people’s assumptions lead them to make wrong guesses about what’s going to happen,” Margaret Groarke, Ph.D., an associate professor of government, said.
But Groarke argued that the polling was not off by that much, saying that the final national vote was within the margin of error of polling averages.
But the shock wave that reverberated across the country on election night shook many students on campus as well.
“I thought it was surreal… I honestly didn’t think he was going to win,” freshman Maggie McCourt said. “Once I saw that he got Florida, I was like, ‘oh boy.”
“The moment I realized it was kind of a moment of shock. My friends and I just kind of sat stunned looking at the T.V. A few of them started crying… I didn’t start crying until much later,” Noonan said of the moment she realized Trump had won the election, saying that the shock of the election night anchors on M.S.N.B.C. mirrored her own.
Clinton gave a formal concession speech late Wednesday morning at the Wyndham New Yorker Hotel in Manhattan. Clinton told supporters, “We owe [Trump] an open mind and the chance to lead.”
Most students applauded the tone of Clinton’s concession, even some of those who had been rooting for her to win.
“I think that was probably the best thing to have said,” freshman Sophia Misiakiewicz said.
“I’m not too fond of the things he said, or his ideology, but he’s now the President-Elect, and we have to just give him a chance and see what happens,” Vincent said.
Other Clinton supporters are less willing to embrace Trump.
“He’s not my President,” Noonan said. “He will never be the President that I need, as a woman. He will never be the President that Muslim people and that people of color need and that immigrants need.”
Since the election, protests have erupted around the country, including in Manhattan, where protestors marched from Union Square to Trump Tower Wednesday night.
“I can appreciate the rage, and the upset about it. And I do… I can completely understand that. And, it’s sort of like inspiring that people go out and express their opinions,” Misiakiewicz said.
“We had a democratic election. We may have chosen a candidate that you didn’t vote for, but that’s how the democratic process works. There have been years when the Democrat candidate won, and we didn’t go out in the streets and protest,” one Republican and Trump supporter said.
Many Trump supporters are still having a hard time talking openly about their political views on campus.
“I only feel unsafe because people are doing things that are illogical at the moment. So, beating up a single Trump supporter, we’ve seen that in the city before… we’ve seen that in the city this week,” one Trump voter said.
Over the course of “Manhattan Caucus,” The Quadrangle has encountered numerous Trump supporters willing to speak only under the condition of anonymity for fear of being ostracized within the community.
The college has scheduled a few programs this week to promote open and honest political discussion between students of differing views as the fallout from 2016 continues.
In an email to the community college President Brennan O’Donnell, Ph.D., wrote, “Manhattan College is a Lasallian, Catholic college which calls for acting with civility and with respect for the dignity of all people at all times. While we defend and support our Constitutional right to free speech, we are committed to preserving a safe and civil environment for students, faculty, staff, and alumni of all walks of life.”