Reactions to Donald Trump’s Election
How do you feel about the election of Donald Trump?
On November 8, 2016, in a historic election, Donald J. Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in a close and divisive election. We here at ConvergingMatters felt moved to comment on the election results, and we wanted to gather a variety of additional viewpoints as well. Each viewpoint will stand alone without cross responses.
Like a number of Americans, I’ve been in a continual state of shock over the presidential campaign of Donald Trump. It often seemed like he combined the worst of Americans into one persona and ran for President unabashedly. His blatant materialism, sexism, racism, xenophobia, arrogance, and more ran from amusing to unbelievable to terrifying. I have rarely been confident that he even believes in the value of democracy.
His unrepentant behavior and attitudes are diametrically opposed to the Bible.
I fear for what he has done to my community of faith. I do not see any evidence that he is a Christian, and in fact I see plenty that he is not. His unrepentant behavior and attitudes are diametrically opposed to the Bible. Yet, exit polls showed that 81% of white evangelical voters chose him. It’s remarkable that out of 5 candidates, two were vaguely spiritual (Johnson and Stein), one was essentially a “none” (Trump), one was a Mormon (McMullin), and one was a Methodist (Clinton). And so many Christians united behind Trump!
No single political party has a lock on Biblical positions. However, the white evangelical church has come to believe that to be a Christian is to be a Republican. They have concluded this on the basis of a few singular social issues while overlooking a wide range of other issues. I would go so far as to say that each party has a roughly equal proportion of “Biblical” values as non-Biblical values. If such a statement surprises you, ask yourself whether care for immigrants, the environment, and outrageous generosity toward the poor are Biblical values.
It goes deeper. When we as a church are willing to overlook an awful lot in favor of a few policies, we’ve lost something. We say “Yeah he’s a narcissistic proto-dictator with profound moral failures, but at least he’s pro-life!” Can you imagine a young woman using the same logic for a man? “Yeah he abuses me, but he’s great in bed!” “Yeah he cheats on me a lot, but it’s just because he’s so smart and funny!” We’d tell her to get out of that relationship immediately!
We have become so segregated from the world, and even from Christian brothers and sisters of other ethnicities.
I understand that Hillary Clinton is a deeply unpopular candidate with moral issues of her own. I share the concerns and do not even come close to agreeing with her on all the issues. I’d like to see a future where Christians are not heavily lopsided toward either party, but instead judge each candidate based on the quality of their character, experience, campaign, and stance on a variety of issues that are important to each person individually.
After the election, I saw an outpouring of emotion online from friends around the country who are different from me. I heard LGBTQ people, people of color, even women who had undergone abortions publicly expressing deep fears and pains over what was happening. I fear that the white evangelical church was deaf to those pains. We have become so segregated from the world, and even from Christian brothers and sisters of other ethnicities, that we think a Supreme Court nominee is all that matters. For a year, Trump has been saying that he was going to reclaim an America that had slipped away. That America no longer exists, and I don’t believe it should, because it wasn’t an America where all people were created in the image of God.
Trump was never my first choice. I found him arrogant, repugnant, and immature. I thought he was a wrecking ball, incapable of complex and nuanced policy positions. No campaign in history was run the way his was, and I thought presidential politics could be ruined forever if he won. But then I started listening.
I have never identified as conservative. In my younger days I was a strictly non-violent self-proclaimed socialist. I played punk rock and fought “the man.” I couldn’t support Bush’s interventionist war-profiteering. I felt answering death and destruction with more death and destruction was short-sighted, and could never align with my religious convictions.
As much as the millennial generation is maligned, they don’t want handouts, they want opportunities.
Today a libertarian lens colors my views. If you poll people around my age without using party labels, I’m not alone. They want to protect the rights of the LGBTQ community, they want to help provide for the marginalized in our society, but they also want the dignity and fulfillment that comes with working a good job. As much as the millennial generation is maligned, they don’t want handouts, they want opportunities.
Recognizing our country is not ready to elect a Libertarian, I began to envision how each presidency would function. Trump, a former Democrat, will enter the office with the most libertarian policies of any president since the 1940s, many of which will be difficult to pass with a republican congress. But he built these policies because he heard a voice. This voice, that also fed Bernie’s campaign, came from average Americans. They never recovered from the great recession, they sent their loved ones to fight in near-constant war, and they felt the economy was rigged against them.
That voice saw Clinton as more of the same, and she saw them as the enemy. She called them deplorable, basement-dwellers, uneducated, racist, misogynist, and worse. She lamented them for voting “against their interests,” which may be the most condescending thing a politician can say to an electorate.
Where I felt Trump was a threat to decency, I felt Clinton was a threat to peaceful democracy.
But my reservations about Clinton were not her words. I dug through Wikileaks. I saw illegal coordination between the campaign and PACs. I saw the suppression of Bernie Sanders. I saw conversations with journalists in media allowing her campaign to cultivate their message. That’s propaganda. I saw that her state department foment violent uprisings in the Middle East, funding the generation of groups like ISIS, leading to the death and displacement of generations. I saw in 2009 she was against gay marriage, I saw her call inner-city black men “super predators.” I listened, in two separate nationally televised events, as she insouciantly called for taking military action against Russia for allegedly hacking the DNC emails. Provoking a nation to war that has the nuclear capacity to destroy the planet is reckless, at best.
I would have preferred a more polished and less obscene candidate to carry that voice’s message. I hurt for those in pain from this result. But where I felt Trump was a threat to decency, I felt Clinton was a threat to peaceful democracy. Today, I am relieved America made that difficult choice.
Thank you very much to our contributing authors:
- Antipas – 31, male, white, Evangelical Christian, loves gardening
- Aurelius – 30, male, white, atheist, liberal, solves math puzzles for fun
- Candide – 30, male, white, Methodist, libertarian, has a Weimaraner named Daphne
- Timotheos – 50, male, white, Evangelical Christian, VP with a European specialty foods company
Note: We are well aware that all four voices are white males. We are actively pursuing additional voices and plan a followup post in the coming days.
I was among the majority of Americans convinced Trump would never become president of the United States. Religiously following 538’s forecast showed me that Trump oscillated between a 10% and occasionally 50% chance of winning, stabilizing around 25%. I liked those odds. They’re the same odds as flipping heads twice in a row, which was unlikely enough for me to be comfortable with my and my family’s future. Now those two heads have landed and I’m in shock. Not because of the odds, which really weren’t that unlikely. I’m in disbelief in how we elected a man who brags about sexual assault, demeans women, may or may not want to ban an entire religion, and who feels like he has to call foul and sue anyone that disagrees with him or gets in his way. Half of the country just voted for this man.
The chief alternative was a career politician, a woman, who had high praise from both Democrats and Republicans who have worked with her. But, she has been battling scandals since entering the public light 25 years ago. Her main criticism leading up to the election was how she mismanaged her emails while Secretary of State. The FBI investigated her thoroughly, which didn’t result in any charges. Meanwhile, Trump managed to continually say and do things that would immediately obliterate any other candidate’s chances. Ignorant, sexist, racist, offensive remarks, met with simultaneous cheers, blind eyes, and disbelief.
The first president my kids will remember is this awful excuse for a man who cares more about the perceived size of his hands than preserving the fundamental religious freedom of our country.
Yet, the American people believed Trump when he said that she was the crooked one, she was the incompetent one, she didn’t have the right temperament. The facts reveal that the opposite is true. I was with her, and I’m proud to have voted for her. Now the first president my kids will remember is this awful excuse for a man who cares more about the perceived size of his hands than preserving the fundamental religious freedom of our country.
This man. This stain on human history. Yes, he will now be in our history books. We wrote him in.
He has promised to “Make America Great Again.” I sincerely hope that he and the other branches of government do so responsibly. The dark campaign he ran is inconsistent with my view of the country. I hope his campaign rhetoric was an attempt to court the previously uncourted, not a foreshadowing of the next 4-8 years. I think we are pretty great right now, and we should continue making progress. Continue to lower the unemployment rate by getting people to work at good-paying jobs, educate people without saddling them with debt, provide health services without burdening people with outrageous hospital bills, intervene in foreign affairs only when human rights or national security are at stake, allow for responsible and legal immigration, and in doing so continue to diversify our country, drive innovation, and grow our economy. As stewards we must take care of the world we have inherited and are creating.
Together we can make our country greater and be proud of what we leave our kids and grandkids.
I saw a bumper sticker a few months ago that has stuck with me. It simply said, Humankind. Be both. Together we can make our country greater and be proud of what we leave our kids and grandkids.
As a kid growing up in the swampy marshlands of New Orleans I was always amazed at how the ships on the other side of the Mississippi river levee appeared to float above me when I peered out of my bedroom window. Of course, anyone with a basic knowledge of geology relative to this city knows that most of it is below sea level and protected only by an elaborate system of pumps and levees that keep “draining the bowl” so to speak. It’s been said that New Orleans is “the inevitable city on the impossible site” and by all geologic standards it should not exist. Still, since the late 1600’s when it was founded this city has defied logic and thrived as a metropolis that is home to 1.1 million people. New Orleans existing, along with many other occurrences and events throughout human history, clearly show that miracles do happen. It shows there are many things that human logic, intellect, science, etc. can’t explain. Such is the case, in my opinion and many others, of a Donald J. Trump presidency.
He listened to the American people and understood with complete clarity.
How did such a man with no political experience, no huge pool of donor money, no real fans on either side of the political aisle or in the media pull off such an impossible and historic upset? It’s really simple. He listened to the American people and understood with complete clarity their plight of being misunderstood, disdained, forgotten and put down by the elite politicians that supposedly represented them. Like Trump, I am a businessman and in business to be successful you have to listen more than you speak. Without taking the time to listen you can’t form a coherent strategy that will produce a solution which tries to benefit all parties involved. The success of Donald Trump’s candidacy from the moment he entered the race emanated from his ability to do this very well. Additionally, you don’t accidentally form a successful brand and multi-billion-dollar company like the Trump Organization by being a bombastic, hard-headed leader that doesn’t listen to their customers and the support staff around you. Instead, you know how to keenly listen, resist giving into emotion or hype, stay focused while pragmatically evaluating next steps and action plans that deliver results.
For me Trump’s strategic thinking skills as a very successful businessman resonated and the fact that he was NOT an elitist, good ole’ boy politician singing the same old song and dance as they do appeal to me. It seemed everyone hated this guy on both sides of the political aisle along with everyone in the media, other countries and anyone else who had an opinion of him. This, of course, made him even more desirable to me as a Presidential candidate and apparently many others. I found it quite refreshing that finally there was someone running for President that was not emboldened to special interest, lobbyist or corporate America. Despite saying some foolish and ignorant things there was no doubt that Donald Trump was sincere in his desire to do as his campaign slogan said, “Make America Great Again”. The political establishment was at least smart enough to recognize the threat he posed, but could do nothing to stop it while he plowed through victory after victory in the primaries overcoming 16 established, capable contenders en route to gaining the improbable Republican nomination. It was at this point that the biased, left leaning media turned their full frontal assault on him while basically ignoring the many irregularities and corruption of the Clinton campaign. If they ever wanted a great sound bite, Clinton would have given it to them, but for whatever reason they were fixated on derailing and destroying the character and candidacy of Donald Trump. Wiki leaks and other credible sources, admissions of carelessness by James Comey of Secretary Clinton’s use of classified information on personal servers proved this was the case, but the media still shrugged it off. Those that didn’t shrug it off were average “Joes” that Washington, pop culture and media elites wrote off, disdained and dismissed. They silently went about their day, ignoring poll takers and generally not letting anyone know of their choice for President for fear they would be labeled homophobes, racists, ignorant or some other derogatory name. They ignored the polls so much that not one poll was even close to predicting the inevitable outcome. On the morning of November 9, everyone was shocked and dismayed but those of us that voted for him and Donald Trump himself were not surprised. Like Donald Trump we listened and rode a wave of Populist fervor to the voting booths where we cast our votes ushering in one of the most unlikely, underdog candidates to ever become President of the United States.
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