Majority of UNH students shocked by Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 election
Throughout the history of the United States of America, there have been 44 influential men who have fiercely led this country through the ups, downs and in-betweens of the complicated and unpredictable history of the nation. Within this list of politicians have been men from various states, socioeconomic statuses, backgrounds and levels of political experience who have contributed to the history of the nation through their fearless leadership, famous and infamous political decisions, and undeniably important terms within the Oval Office.
As of the early morning of Wednesday, Nov. 9, Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump, against all odds, has been added to this list.
After a nail-biting battle for the ages between Trump and Democratic candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Republican ultimately pulled through with 279 electoral votes versus Clinton’s 228, though Clinton won the popular vote by about 200,000 counts.
This marks the fifth time in the United States presidential history that a president has been the victor of an election without winning the popular vote. There have been a total of 57 presidential elections in the country’s history.
This outcome was seen as detrimental by a great deal of individuals, due to the winning candidate’s controversial views on social issues, with some exclaiming that racist, homophobic and misogynistic undertones can be found in the highlights of his speeches and policies. However, many others found him to be the change this country has been waiting for.
UNH students have expressed both opinions in regard to this outcome. Some were unable or unwilling to speak of the results and the disappointment on their faces was explanation enough.
At the official Durham polls, there were 9,633 votes, 6,501 of which went to Clinton and 2,450 of which went to Trump.
According to a poll conducted by The New Hampshire in early October, 71 percent of students who answered were set to vote for Clinton at the polls, making this outcome a shocking devastation for a large portion of the UNH student body. In fact, the morale on campus on Nov. 9 was silent and disappointed. The best term to use in describing the day was somber.
According to senior environmental resource economics major and Student Environmental Action Coalition (SEAC) Community Organizer Griffin Sinclair-Wingate, there could not have been a worse outcome.
“The thought of [the United States] not being able to survive a Trump presidency crossed my mind this morning,” Sinclair-Wingate said.
A big climate change movement advocate, Sinclaire-Wingate said that electing a “climate denier” into office makes him feel “crushed.” He also said he believes that Trump’s win is detrimental for reasons beside the environment.
“Trump is a fascist and a racist and a sexist and a climate denier,” Sinclair-Wingate said. “I think that global leaders around the world are probably going to be interacting with the U.S. in a lot of different ways. I think this is hugely beneficial for ISIS… It’s exactly how they recruit people.”
Sinclair-Wingate also said he believes that others feel just as discouraged as he does. With the amount of Clinton support on campus, including a visit from current two-term President Barack Obama in her favor that attracted approximately 8,000 people, her loss came as a shock and devastation to many. Due to this, the vibe of the campus the day after the results felt heavy as many students walked through the world sighing with each step.
“Even just walking around so far this morning there is not someone I haven’t made eye contact with that there isn’t that understanding [that] we woke up in a different world this morning,” Sinclair-Wingate said.
In response to this outcome, the UNH College Democrats have released a statement, which said that though they may not agree on the outcome of the presidential election, they would continue to fight for their beliefs.
“We are so incredibly thankful for all of the work that Secretary Hillary Clinton has done for women, for people of color, for the LGBTQ+ community,” the UNH College Democrats said in the official statement. “The message of her campaign, stronger together, is an important one. Together we can combat racism, homophobia, classism and sexism. President-elect Donald J. Trump will hear us because we believe college aged students can be the loudest in this fight. We must get up, dust ourselves off and keep fighting for those who do not have a voice.”
Though a large amount of students may feel discouraged about this election, there are plenty of Trump supporters on campus who believe that this election may be the change that the United States has been waiting for.
Junior political science major Kaila Stewart is one student on this campus with a positive outlook on the election outcome.
“I’m actually happy,” Stewart said when asked about her opinion of the presidential election. “It came down to a lot more than me being offended by certain things people can say.”
Stewart said that she actually identifies as Libertarian due to her socially liberal but fiscally conservative outlook. Her decision to vote for Trump depended mainly on her opinions about repealing Obamacare and implementing a health care system that does not drive up the cost of private health insurance, she said.
Stewart also said she was happy with Trump’s win due to her “anti-establishment” view.
“I think that no one’s really been thinking in the direction of ‘for the people,’” Stewart said. “I feel like we used to think like that, that a candidate was by the people for the people… I felt like we aren’t deciding anymore… Honestly, that’s why I voted for him.”
Stewart did admit to being nervous about the social issues, but her happiness with this outcome was for strictly fiscal reasons, and, ultimately, she said she thinks that they will not be an issue.
“I think people need to remember that we don’t have a monarchy here, and that our president doesn’t decide everything,” Stewart said. “There’s many more heads that decide what happen to us, not just one person.”
On why she believes this outcome progressed the way that it did, Stewart said, “People in this election really did want change. That was, I think, the deciding vote.”
In a statement on behalf of the UNH College Republicans, External Director Scott Myers said, “While not all races ended the way we would have liked, we are excited for the future. We are willing to work for a better New Hampshire with both Republicans and Democrats, and we know that the future for New Hampshire and America is a bright one. We look forward to see what lies ahead for us as an organization, as a state and as a nation.”
Although the president holds substantial power over the country’s national affairs, his or her influence in their ability to invoke change relies on their congressional power in the House and the Senate. It would appear that Trump is not going to face much opposition in the coming years in regard to his vision to progress America forward. National results have confirmed that Republicans make up the majority of the House and Senate and it is expected that Trump will assign an individual to assume a conservative role within the lone empty seat of the Supreme Court.
Though the national polls reflect Republican majority wins in all areas of Congress, Democratic nominees in the non-presidential election received victories on the state level in New Hampshire.
Among the most campaigned for on campus is newly Senator-elect Maggie Hassan, who battled an exceptionally tight race with opposing Republican nominee and incumbent Senator Kelly Ayotte. Additionally, the race between Carol Shea-Porter and Frank Guinta was given attention, though not to the extent the senate race was.
After months of campaigning and hard work to convince fellow UNH peers to vote up and down the ballot, UNH students and student organizations had some words to say.
Speaking on behalf of UNH College Democrats, sophomore Russian and Italian studies dual major Kai Forcey-Rodriguez said, “I feel that we all are really happy with Maggie Hassan’s success because she is a great candidate for U.S. Senate.”
Accordimg to Forcey-Rodriguez, Hassan’s ambition to pass marriage equality while she was a New Hampshire State Senator, along with her efforts as governor to minimize college debt and expand affordable healthcare to all those in need, was what ultimately drove the majority vote for Hassan.
“[Hassan] cares a lot about the people of New Hampshire and our traditions,” Forcey-Rodriguez said. He also shared thoughts on State Representative Shea-Porter, identifying her as a “strong supporter of Pell grants for students and deserves to be back in the U.S. House representing [New Hampshire].”
Accepting the defeat, UNH Students for Kelly Ayotte and UNH College Republicans both remained extremely proud of the work they dedicated on campus in an attempt to spread their campaign. “No group on campus worked harder than the College Republicans and the Students for Kelly,” Myers said.
“Republicans did not do as well as they usually do in upscale suburban areas of the state. That’s why Governor Hassan defeated Senator Ayotte,” political science associate professor Dante Scala said.
According to WMURTV, Ayotte said the following in a press release announcing that she was conceding the race to Hassan:
“It has been a tremendous privilege to serve New Hampshire in the Senate and to make progress on addressing our heroin epidemic, making it easier for our small businesses to create good paying jobs, and supporting those who keep us safe in a dangerous world. This is a critical time for New Hampshire and our country, and now more than ever, we need to work together to address our challenges. The voters have spoken and now it’s time [for] all of us to come together to get things done for the people of the greatest state in this nation and for the greatest country on Earth.”
Additionally, Democratic State Representative Shea-Porter of District 1 just barely gained a victory over opposing Republican nominee Frank Guinta.
“[Shea-Porter] has a lot of work ahead of her,” Sinclair-Wingate said. “I don’t even think the Democrats elected are even going to be on the offense. They are going to be on the defense for the next two years…until midterm elections.”
“It is unfortunate to see Guinta lose the seat, but the College Republicans are looking forward to the future,” Myers said. “We hope in 2018 that the GOP can fight back strong.”
Governor-elect Chris Sununu will be bringing his Republican platform to the New Hampshire government.
In response the Republican Party’s triumph in the gubernatorial race, “[The College Republicans] would like to congratulate Governor Sununu for winning a very contested race,” Myers said. “He is a great man who will do great things for the state of New Hampshire.”
This perspective did not resonate well with Sinclair-Wingate, who said he believes that the supposed “climate-denying governor” will terminate any chance the state and the university will have in working together with Offshore Wind in order to reduce fossil fuel emissions.
Regardless of UNH student opinions and the outcome of the statewide New Hampshire election, the Republican Party has officially overtaken the executive and legislative branches of the federal government.
With Trump as the new President-elect, the United States will officially move into a new era of Republican-driven politics, and, according to the winner, this era will be one not of division, but of unity.
“Now it’s time for America to bind the wounds of division; have to get together,” Trump said in his victory speech. “To all Republicans and Democrats and independents across this nation, I say it is time for us to come together as one united people.”