- Category: Volume 88 (Fall 2016 - Spring 2017)
- Published: 09 November 2016
- Written by JASMINE RAMOS & BRENDEN GREVE | CO-POLITICS EDITORS
Donald J. Trump has been elected as the 45th president of the United States of America on Nov. 8th 2016— performing a surprising victory as many polls and political pundits doubted his ability to gain the votes necessary to win the presidency.
This year, Trump was able to tap into the anger and frustration of the voters in a way that no candidate has been able to do in many years. Assistant Professor of Political Science at Monmouth University, Dr. Stephen Chapman, said, “In an increasingly polar political climate, he’s run a populist campaign that rings true to many Americans.”
Americans that Trump resonated with were those who were disappointed with the political establishment in Washington D.C. Associate Professor of Political Science, Dr. Joseph Patten, said that if Trump wins, it will be, “because people hate Washington D.C.”
Monmouth University alumnus and assistant campaign manager for the Pennsylvania GOP, Tyler Vandegrift said, “I voted for Trump because the country is moving in the wrong direction, and Clinton would only make it worse.”
Trump appealed was to many of the downtrodden families that are of the former middle class. This showed in the election results as he won swing states like Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Chapman said that Trump “does not have a path without Pennsylvania.” According to Trump, these are the areas that were affected by trade deals such as the North American Free Trade Agreement, otherwise known as NAFTA, and others that have led manufacturing jobs to other countries and out of the United States. This outflow of American jobs has been blamed on the career politicians of both political parties.
This campaign had become less ideological and much more cultural to lower middle class areas in these parts of the country. Associate Professor of Sociology, Dr. Nancy Mezey said, “There are many sociological reasons why white, working-class men in particular, but other groups as well, feel politically disempowered.” She continued, “therefore, we cannot really be surprised that Trump’s main supporters come from working-class white backgrounds.”
Patten said, “People aren’t really caring about policy.” Mezey said, “Many Trump supporters were either willing to overlook Trump’s misogynistic, anti-immigrant, racist rhetoric, or they embraced such rhetoric.”
Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton, also helped pave his path to victory— even though he had high unfavorable ratings himself. Associate Professor of Political Science, Dr. Kevin Dooley said, “I think both parties nominated two incredibly unfavorable candidates and if you look at both unfavorable ratings with voters they are some of the highest in history.”
However, he said of Clinton, “I think first it was the Clinton legacy was perceived by a lot of people as being negative” and that, “many people do not want that in the White House anymore.”
Trump was continuously criticized by many who did not believe he had the temperament and qualifications to be president. Professor Patten said that if Hillary wins, “it will be because people feel Donald Trump isn’t qualified to president.” Patten continued, “this race is a little bit like the 1980 election when the big question was whether Ronald Reagan was made of presidential timber.” In the end, this election was analogous to that as Trump ultimately became the choice of the American people, as did Reagan.
Trump’s win came as a surprise to many and was certainly not what the polls have predicted. Just two days ago, the Monmouth University Polling Institute ran a poll that had Trump trailing Clinton by six percent nationally. Many polls had Trump losing by even more. The only state that could have been predicted by the polls was Pennsylvania, in which the Monmouth poll found a statistical tie between the two candidates. However, no polls predicted Trump victories in the swing states that he flipped, such as Wisconsin and Michigan. Even polls that Republicans were more optimistic about such as North Carolina, Florida, and Ohio predicted Clinton having the slight edge.
Not everyone was pleased about Trump’s victory. Monmouth political science student, Kate McGuire, said, “I am very nervous because to me, he is more of a businessman. I don’t really think that he is someone who knows how to run the country, but I guess he will have to learn.” She continued, “honestly, because of his past comments… as president, he now has to focus on his anger and temperament because he is now the face of America. If he does one thing that really screws us up, we will have to deal with the repercussions for a really long time.
Additional reporting was done by Danielle Schipani, Editor-in-Chief.
Image taken from www.amongelite.com