Students, Faculty Respond to the 2016 Election

By Seamus Brennan

At around 3 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 9, Republican candidate Donald J. Trump defeated Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton to win the presidency of the United States.  Trump won 279 electoral votes as opposed to Clinton’s 228 to clinch the presidency in an unforeseen victory.  While Trump won the electoral vote by a significant margin, he lost the popular vote by about 200,000 votes.

In addition to Trump’s historic win, the Republican Party currently has control of the Senate, House of Representatives, majority of governors, and Supreme Court picks.  This election marks the first time Republicans have been in this position since 1928.

Daniel Klinghard, assistant professor of political science at College of the Holy Cross, speculated what a Trump victory could mean for the United States: “I think you might reasonably expect Trump to accelerate the deportations that the Obama administration has been carrying out.  Perhaps there will be a quick shift in how Border Patrol agents do their work.  There will definitely be a slowdown—if not a complete stoppage—of refugees from Muslim nations.  I would not be surprised if he reversed the Obama administration’s orders on transgender bathrooms in public schools.  If he’s serious about getting rid of Obamacare there are steps he can take with executive orders to effectively shut it down – people depending on Obamacare with no state-level backup, such as exists in Massachusetts, might find their coverage affected.  Trump has talked about works projects, which might reasonably be expected to result in a massive creation of jobs, if it is passed, but that will take time.”

Donald Brand, professor of political science, also noted, “[Trump] will embrace policies intended to benefit white working-class men, such as revised trade deals.  I wonder whether this country will come together behind the winner after election day.  The election has been so polarizing that the American tradition of putting aside our differences, uniting behind the winner, and waiting until the next electoral cycle to resume our partisan warfare is in jeopardy.”

Throughout the course of his campaign, President-Elect Trump has made several controversial statements, most notably pertaining to illegal immigration, Islamic terrorism, and the nature of political correctness.  Consequently, Trump’s victory has led to protests and demonstrations throughout the country.

“We are in one of the most polarized times in history.  I absolutely think that we need political parties in order to organize ideologies and achieve agendas, but I think that we have taken membership and identifying within a party too far.  We must, as a nation, focus on unifying as a country, not as two polarized groups of people who detest one another,” said Meredith Coolidge ’19, a Hillary Clinton supporter.

“Good usually comes out of trying situations like these.  God has a plan, and while it seems pretty scary from where I stand, I truly do believe everything is going to be okay in the end,” she said.

Brian Senier ’19, secretary of the Holy Cross College Republicans, congratulated Trump on his victory: “Clearly, Republicans won key races up and down the ballot last night.  Congratulations to Chairman Reince Priebus of the RNC for his leadership of the GOP’s historic winning operation,” Senier said.

“In this bitterly contested presidential race, Mr. Trump prevailed fair and square. We congratulate President-Elect Trump on his impressive victory, and earnestly hope he will begin the important work of uniting America.”

In a letter to the campus community, Rev. Philip L. Boroughs, S.J., president, wrote, “Because we are a diverse community, if we are to move forward together, we are called to listen carefully to one another, to identify our shared commitments and to discern how to work together even when we disagree,”noted Boroughs. “This election has signaled to us that we, the people of the United States, have many challenges ahead in order to heal the wounds which divide us and to find a new sense of shared purpose in a very troubled world.”

In his acceptance speech on the morning of Nov. 9, President-Elect Trump said, “Now it’s time for America to bind the wounds of division,” after being introduced by running mate and Vice President-Elect Mike Pence.  Both Clinton and President Barack Obama have congratulated Trump on his victory and have emphasized the importance of national unity.

President-Elect Trump will be sworn in as the 45th President of the United States on Jan. 20, 2017, at the U.S. Capitol.


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