On Tuesday, Donald Trump shocked the world with his election as President of the United States. This decision has sparked widespread debate in dorm rooms, classrooms, and households across America. In this article I will speak to, not only the election result, but also the conversations that have followed it.

I have to admit, I had my doubts about Donald Trump. I wrote him off when he announced his candidacy and then hoped that some third party would slip in after he received the nomination. In other words, I hated that I had to choose Donald Trump on November 8. Nonetheless, I voted for him, and not because I am a racist, homophobic, xenophobic bigot, as some of my peers would like to suggest on social media, but because I am a conservative who believes in the free market and personal responsibility. This rhetoric coming from the left, their loyal college students and professors is the epitome of hypocrisy. This week, I had a friend tell me their professor told a Trump voter in class that “she should be ashamed of her vote,” and I believe other classroom discussions have progressed in similar ways. Liberals in the 21st century have claimed to be champions of, “crossing the aisle,” democracy, diplomacy, diversity, and inclusion, yet when things don’t go their way this is their response to their opposition.

It is even more disheartening that an educator would respond in this way. The point of political discourse is to ask people with differing viewpoints, “What caused you to make that choice,” or more specifically, “What did you see in Mr. Trump that caused you to believe that he was the best person to lead our country?” Questioning, challenging, and discussing other people’s viewpoints is how public policies are advanced, revised, and implemented; it is how opinions are established and solidified. In its purest form, debating issues is where people learn to become more tolerant, accepting, and understanding of others who may disagree. This is how we become educated about the world we live in, and the type of learning I would hope university professors are promoting. It is a shame that a professor would feel that it was their right to stifle discussion and political discourse in this way and the epitome of liberal hypocrisy.

On the other hand, I had a much different experience in one of my classes this week. I had a teacher who was visibly disheartened by the election result. She even broke down into tears while talking about it. However, she said that despite her disappointment with the outcome, she believed only some, but not all, of the people who voted for Trump were racist, xenophobic misogynists as some of her colleagues have suggested. I agree with this statement and believe there were a lot of other reasons to vote for Trump. Some of which are what motivated the majority of uneducated male and female Americans to select Trump on Tuesday.[1]

In his victory speech, President-Elect, Donald Trump said, “This was not a campaign, but a movement.”[2] I believe this statement could not be truer; but I would qualify it by saying that this is global movement, not just an American one. In July, the United Kingdom shockingly voted to leave the European Union. Similarly to Mr. Trump’s election, no one foresaw this decision. During that vote, Brits feared the threat of immigration to their job market and identity of their country as well as its security.[3] This outcome was viewed with indignation by the ruling European elite, as if they were saying “how could these people be so stupid?” Similarly, Hillary Clinton referred to Trump supporters as “deplorables” in early September.[4] However, these are real people and to invalidate their concerns in favor of her own is an incredible threat to the democratic principles she claims to fight to uphold. Donald Trump’s election and the Brexit is a complete and utter repudiation of the liberal ruling elite and their attempts at globalization, aggressive progressiveness, and a denial of external threats.

Along with other people, America’s working class (the group that turned out most for Trump in key states like Iowa, Pennsylvania, and Florida)[5] felt left behind. According to Danielle Pletka, a foreign policy scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, the Trump themes have deeply resonated with Americans. She writes, “We don’t win anymore.” “We have no strategy to fight our enemies. Our allies aren’t paying freight. Defense cuts and feckless leadership are American weaknesses. Trade deals help only some Americans. Washington doesn’t work…[and] the reality is, these complaints make sense.”[6] These people knew they were being left behind, but didn’t understand why and needed someone to represent their feelings and express them to the ‘closed oligarchy’[7] in Washington. Donald Trump, a DC outsider, put words to their concerns, unified their cause, and legitimized their frustrations. Of course, I am not denying that for some the election was about racism, xenophobia, and misogyny, but for many, it was a rebuttal to the ruling elite, who have denied average white Americans access to politics. For those who voted for Trump because of reasons other than racism, xenophobia, and misogyny, I am glad that democracy has served you properly and justly. In 2008, Barack Obama excited millions of African Americans to vote and this week Donald Trump did the same, but for a very different group.

Now, Donald Trump faces an uphill battle as he seeks to unite the nation. In his victory speech on early Wednesday morning he said, “I will be president for all Americans” and “It’s time for us to come together as one people.”[8] I promise to hold Donald Trump accountable to his words and, like President Obama, am “rooting for his success.”[9]

As a staunch republican myself, I am overjoyed by the republican sweep of congress and the presidency, which has not happened since 1928. However, I promise to tread cautiously and with grace as we proceed through the next couple emotional months. I am totally aware of people’s concerns and agree that Donald Trump has stooped low during his path to the White House. In 1865 Abraham Lincoln faced a divided nation. In his second Inaugural address, he said, “let us judge not, that we be not judged.”[10] I promise to uphold these words and I challenge others to do the same.

[1] http://www.bbc.com/news/election-us-2016-37889032

[2] http://www.politico.com/video/2016/11/donald-trump-victory-speech-2016-full-video-061541

[3] http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/27/world/europe/brexit-economy-immigration-britain-european-union-democracy.html?_r=1

[4] http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/11/us/politics/hillary-clinton-basket-of-deplorables.html

[5] http://www.bbc.com/news/election-us-2016-37889032

[6] http://www.aei.org/publication/the-foreign-policy-lessons-of-trump/

[7] A phrase one of my professors used to described the ruling establishment in DC

[8] http://www.politico.com/video/2016/11/donald-trump-victory-speech-2016-full-video-061541

[9] http://www.cnn.com/2016/11/09/politics/obama-congratulates-trump-on-victory/

[10] http://www.bartleby.com/124/pres32.html

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