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The 2016 Election Results: An Optimist’s Perspective

Editor’s note: The opinions and ideas stated in this article are not a direct reflection of those held by Her Campus or Her Campus at UCD. 

Like many others, I felt an extreme disillusion upon hearing that Donald Trump won the U.S. presidency. Throughout the live coverage, I experienced a fluctuation of emotions ranging from indignance (“this is rigged!”) to disbelief (“are people really this sexist and racist?”) to fear (“what’s going to happen to us if he wins?”) to downright sadness (“so I guess people really do hate us”). 

I invoke “us” to mean that I fall under one or more of the groups of people that Trump and his supporters scapegoat. I am a Mexican woman. And up until this election, I had never felt socially sidelined due to my identities. More than anything, this election reminded me of my privilege, especially since many groups— even prior to this election— cannot say the same. For the first time, I feel like my future in this country is uncertain, or worse yet, threatened. Following the results that night, my mom told me, “Now they’ll see your last name on job applications and think twice. You’re going to have to work harder than ever.”

I’m here to say that Trump hasn’t won. He might have won the electoral vote, but he didn’t win the popular vote — Clinton did. That calls for some celebration. Trump’s win has so far been mostly credited to white-lash, a force the media greatly underestimated in the course of this election. Many, including myself, spoke as if Clinton was the imminent winner, and we put our trust in the sound rhetoric against him. Our surprise comes from the fact that Trump’s reason for victory transcended moral reasoning and was instead achieved through an appeal to hatred. 

When I say that Trump hasn’t won, I’m not endorsing denial as a sort of coping mechanism. What I’m saying is, it’s hard to call Trump America’s champion — regardless of what the numbers projected. We can’t change the results, but we can make sure the morale of the country doesn’t take a plunge, and we can ensure that patriotism does not become another word for “white pride.” 

We can also control how we let the media sway us. We’ve been hard-drived to subscribe to publicized opinions and to believe other sources simply because we don’t have direct access to these events. When we share and post articles on social media, we should judge the rhetoric that these sources engage before we consider their claims as truths.

We should still be mindful of the language we use and make sure that we’re being inclusive and tactful, especially when we hear out members of marginalized communities. Trump’s example might be seen as cause to not be “so PC” but we can curtail his negative influence in our persistence for equality.

And we can continue our peaceful protests.

We shouldn’t forget that this narrative — the one involving a self-proclaimed, self-righteous overlord attempting to rule the masses — is not new. We’ve learned that, by working as a collective, we can overcome forces of oppression.

We can both soften our reality with reassurances (“it’s only four years”) or resist it by being outspoken in our concerns for our country. We need a little bit of love right now. I implore that we offer solace to those who have been emotionally shaken by the results and that we re-allocate our sense of lost hope and place it on us as a collective whole. You can very well tell me to just face it, that Trump is our president. But I can just as easily tell you that he isn’t mine.

None of the images/gifs used belong to the author or Her Campus UC Davis.

Jazmin is a fourth year UC Davis student double-majoring in English (Critical Theory and Creative Writing emphases) and Psychology and minoring in Professional Writing. She enjoys drinking coffee, engaging in pop culture scrutiny, and referring to herself in the third person.
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