By Sean Tseng
Just before midnight on Tues., Nov. 8, Donald J. Trump won the 2016 presidential elections in a turnout that shook Americans all across the nation. The result elicited emotions from heartbreak to elation, but perhaps the most immediate reaction was surprise.
Leading up to Election Day, renowned pollsters like The New York Times’ Upshot.com had projected an 85% chance of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton winning. With the media all but calling the election days before, one could easily have felt blindsided when the electoral votes for Trump broke through the majority threshold of 270.
While many factors likely contributed to the shocking result, political pundits have already begun zeroing in on what exactly led to Trump’s victory. NPR lists several reasons, one of which being Clinton’s failure to obtain the amount of votes President Barack Obama had four years ago. The Los Angeles Times also points to the state of the economy. According to reporter Brad Schiller, if the economy is healthy, voters are likely to support the party currently in office. However, if voters find the economy unsatisfactory, they tend to vote in the opposing party for a change in political pace.
“Every percentage point of inflation…is a negative for the incumbent party,” states Schiller.
Whatever allowed Trump to win, his victory means new realities for Americans in the coming months, the most imminent being the onslaught of protests spawning across the nation. Almost immediately after Election Day, anti-Trump protesters took to the streets to challenge the results. These demonstrations have spotlighted both the new threats that minorities now face and the unfairness of the Electoral College system. With Clinton’s lead of over a million popular votes and counting, as reported by The Nation, her supporters are objecting fiercely to Trump’s victory and the entire electoral system.
As these protests play out across the nation, they are also occurring much closer to home. The controversial outcome sparked volatile emotions, and the East Side district has felt firsthand some of its effects. Students at Milpitas High School led a walk-out on Thurs., Nov. 10 to protest Trump’s victory. According to The Mercury News, the protest gave a chance for students to share their concerns regarding the election, and many spoke of their fears as minorities or members of the LGBTQ community. Their principal also spoke out, though he was consequently put on administrative leave for using profanity in a closing comment about Trump. During his leave, students took it upon themselves to create a petition via Change.org calling for his return. He was allowed to return to campus last Tuesday.
On the same day of the walk-out, Superintendent Chris Funk sent out an email to reassure families of the district’s goal of inclusiveness and safety for all students.
“The President of the United States has no authority over our schools and how we run them,” he writes in the email, emphasizing the core values of the district. He also calls for students and families to find common ground as the transition of presidential power takes place.
Undoubtedly, as the election continues to drive people toward opposite ends of extremes, this election will go down as one of the most divisive and disconcerting in American history. In its aftermath, San Jose Mayor Sam Licardo has issued a statement via Medium.com to quell the fear in many diverse neighborhoods and reinforce the city’s commitment to protecting its residents.
“I have sought…to convey a simple message to our wonderfully diverse community,” he expresses to those in fear or distress. “We’ve got your back.”