Steve Taylor, Maxwell’s owner
Thank you to the Index for asking me for my thoughts. As a point of conscious decision I will not waste one word telling you why I did not want Hillary Clinton elected, but rather will focus all my time and energy on explaining why I am thrilled Donald Trump did prevail. I am a veteran, proud of my service and as proud of my commitment to serve this country. I am writing to express my profound gladness at the election results but not in a way many readers might think. This is not crowing or fist-pumping, not the one-sided elation of a person who “got their way” at the cost of another’s contentment. Rather, this is a letter of reconciliation to everyone who was for and against Donald Trump.
I am writing because I truly am optimistic about the future and about the coming presidency. So much has been written or said to foster the negativity in the country. I would like to stand to say we must come together as Americans. I truly believe Trump’s stance on trade and immigration will make our country better than it has been for a long time. As a serial entrepreneur, I believe his pro-business, pro-growth and limited government will help our economy recover the strength it has been lacking. I was very dismayed that so many people took his slogan “Make America Great Again” as some derisive slur that we aren’t great — we are — but there are so many issues in this country that need a leader with his eye on the future, and I believe Mr. Trump does.
In closing, my true intention is for everyone to welcome our president-elect with an open mind. We all might have different opinions, but the one thing for sure is we are all Americans and all need to be united. I got into some controversy for having a Trump flag at my business this summer. What struck me the most was the comprehension by some people that because I was expressing my opinion I was somehow trying to negate theirs. I was disheartened that so many people were adamantly upset by my stance and surprised at the perception of Trump supporters. The one thing I took away from this experience was the lesson that people need to realize voicing one’s opinion should never be a source of anger or derision. We need, now more than ever, to have dialogue and be respectful of each other so we can all move forward together. I wanted to write this as one of Trump’s strongest proponents to illustrate that the win was not viewed by many Americans as a celebration of us over them, as I feel many opponents viewed it, but rather request that we all view this new presidency with an open mind. It is the least we can do for America.
Junior Jacob Brooke
In her concession speech on Nov. 9, Hillary Clinton asked us to be open-minded and to give the president-elect the opportunity to lead. It is a challenge to understate the disappointment and shock Clinton’s request was for millions of supporters. For most voters, this result was simply shocking, but for many this was a resounding defeat of the inclusive values which once told them they had a place in American life.
A campaign of divisive rhetoric with too many insults and outrageous statements to list lead our next president to the Oval Office. Donald Trump is now the leader, not only of a movement against the liberal norms of politically correct culture but of millions who feel his campaign represented the lowest point in American history. Trump’s remarkable reversal on a number of his most crowd-pleasing, impossible campaign promises has been as sudden and shocking as his victory. Trump has demurred on his threats to jail his political opponent, to build a border wall and make Mexico pay for it, to completely repeal Obamacare and to ban all Muslims from entering the United States. This seems to offer hope to Americans for whom these promises were nothing less than an all-out assault on American values and the Constitution.
It has now become easier to give the president-elect the benefit of the doubt. As he tells reporters, he will continue to seek advice and counsel from President Barack Obama and back down on his bigoted, hateful and demeaning rhetoric. It almost seems possible to think that the weight of the presidency and the Republican establishment might simply crush him into submission.
While it seems possible that Trump will quickly abandon his supporters and their hopes, it is far too early for the #ImWithHer camp to rejoice over Trump’s come-to-Jesus moment.
Trump’s presidency still poses major threats to American values to an unprecedented degree. His post-victory pause in spewing hatred and filth might be fleeting, and nothing should excuse the racism, xenophobia and sexism he attempted to normalize during his campaign. He has still appointed a white supremacist and alleged domestic abuser to serve as a chief advisor. He continues to ignore science by denying climate change and remains in opposition to the right of women to control their bodies.
To the liberals and Hillary supporters who have begun to take heart in Trump’s reversals — do not be encouraged by the words of a man whose only consistency has been inconsistency. Do not hope that a man who has lied repeatedly and boldly and demeaned women his entire life will suddenly feel the importance of the White House and straighten up like a naughty schoolboy. Trump remains a threat to years of progress towards inclusivity, tolerance and hopefulness.
Freshman Adam Vonarx
In an interesting turn of events Donald Trump has been elected to be the 45th president of the United States of America. This is the first election I have been able to vote in, and I can tell you that I am quite pleased with the results. Unlike a lot of people who voted for Trump, I did not do it simply for the fact that he was not Hillary Clinton. By the end of the election cycle I really did support Trump, even though in the beginning I was not his biggest supporter. There were many reasons for this but namely his policies on the refugee crisis, the 2nd Amendment, and the Supreme Court nominations are the biggest reasons I am quite happy that Donald Trump is going to be our next president.
I’m very happy we have a president who is going to keep the refugees in the Middle East, but intends to help them in the Middle East, which will help us from not having a situation such as the ones France, England, Germany and Sweden are having right now. This will be good for the U.S. as it will allow us to be able to help more of these refugees, because it will not require as much vetting and money to bring them into the country, while at the same time not having the same problems others are having with rape and terrorism in Europe. The most important reason I support Trump — though probably not the most important reason for most — is his views on the 2nd Amendment. His policies of making a nation-wide concealed carry policy as well as a much better background check process is something that is very important to me. As both a gun owner and a stepson to a gunsmith, I am very passionate about 2nd Amendment rights. This will also help the current problem of states not accepting other states’ permits, like states already do with drivers licenses. Finally, the most important issue for the whole country is nominating a conservative Supreme Court Justice. This is important, in my opinion, because with the death of Justice Antonin Scalia there is an imbalance in the court with 4 liberal justices, 1 moderate and only 3 conservatives — which Trump intends to balance by appointing a conservative to the Supreme Court. This keeps the court fair and balanced for the entire country.
These are the reasons that I, a young conservative, am very excited to have Donald Trump as my next president — the fact he will keep this country safe from the problems Europe is having with refugees, help protect 2nd Amendment rights and keep the Supreme Court balanced.
Marc Becker, history professor
Trump’s election is a direct result of the failures of capitalism. Capitalism is a nice idea in theory, but it does not work well in practice. Capitalism promises us efficiency and productivity that is supposed to deliver us better products at lower prices. Instead, it takes resources away from marginalized people who have little, and delivers them instead to the rich and powerful who never seem to have enough.
Trump effectively played into the class resentments resulting from this upward redistribution of wealth to win election. But his victory is a classic example of the fox raiding the hen house. Trump is a member of the capitalist class who has excelled at depriving workers of their fair wages and decent working conditions. If someone is to blame for the economic crisis we face, it is those of Trump’s ilk. Far from creating decent and well-paying jobs, or having an interest in the working class, Trump greedily grabs as much wealth as he can to line his own golden lair.
Rather than accurately analyzing the structural roots of the pain that workers feel, Trump effectively deflects anger toward even more marginalized members of society: immigrants, people of color, members of the LGBT community, etc. He divides and conquers. If all of us who have been ravaged by the scourge of capitalism turn our attacks against each other, it allows capitalists to continue to injure all of us.
Whether or not Trump is personally a racist or sexist is irrelevant. Notwithstanding the very real racist and sexist threats that his incendiary rhetoric have launched against marginalized communities, focusing exclusively on those issues has the danger of ignoring underlying structural inequalities that allow for the emergence of discriminatory and exclusionary systems of repression.
The vast majority of Trump’s supporters do not and will not benefit from Republican policy initiatives. Republicans pledge to cut corporate and top income bracket tax rates while slashing social spending and services. These policies benefit Trump, but hurt workers. The Republican Party has historically been the party of the wealthy and propertied class, and that has not changed.
While previously the Democratic Party laid claim to defending the interests of labor unions and the working class, those positions have been significantly eroded by decades of conservative party rule. Although Bernie Sanders effectively pushed the Democratic Party platform in a progressive direction, it is painfully apparent that Hillary Clinton represents Wall Street. Clinton could not appeal to the interests of an injured working class because she is beholden to those corporate interests that traditionally have formed the base of the Republican Party.
What we are missing in this country is a working-class party — one that represents those of us who have been harmed with the upward redistributionary policies of the capitalist class. Such a socialist approach would create a truly democratic society. Instead of our currently limited options under the duopoly of the Republican and Democratic system where we chose between two candidates who rule in the interests of the top 1, or 0.1, percent of the income holders, we need to organize an inclusive and participatory system that works to provide decent and well-paying jobs, universal healthcare, free education, a clean environment, and nutritious food for all of us. Neither Trump nor Clinton are interested in such policies because they do not serve their class interests. We can only make such dreams a reality when we put aside politics of fear and repression, and work together in our common interests.