It has been a month since the presidential election, which declared Donald J. Trump as the 45th president of the United States of America… in case anyone missed it. The results followed one of the most controversial and unpredictable campaigns in the history of this country, and the aftermath of the election has been rough for everyone, no matter the political alignment. But what about Castleton? We have decided to ask Vanessa Robertson and Quinn O’ Riley, respectively leaders of the university’s Democratic and Republican club.
Question: A month after the election results, how would you say they have impacted the country so far?
Robertson: They have made a lot of people scared. There has definitely not been much mend, which people highly hoped for. This has been the most real for women and minorities.
O’ Riley: I think a lot of people were surprised, including professionals. As a Republican, I was a little surprised, too. I think a lot of people realized Trump will not govern in the same way as he declared during the campaign, and he will be more of a normal president than people thought.
Q: Immediately after the election, a lot of fear invaded the country. Do you feel like it has somehow faded away now?
R: I don’t think it has faded away, or that people have been less vocal about it. Maybe social media calmed down a bit over the last few weeks, after the immediate explosion, but the news still covers hate crimes related to the election results and this general, legitimate fear. It might be less talked about, now that it is not “new” anymore, but overall it hasn’t subsided.
O’R: I don’t know, I think a lot of people are still suspicious. President-elect Trump has made people uncomfortable, and they need to be reassured. He still has to prove himself.
Q: As a leader of a politics-centered club on campus, have you had to explain these results to your younger fellow members, and guide them through the acceptance of them?
R: I definitely had conversations with people who were worried. I also talked to professors about what we should say now: so many people feel like freedoms are taken away from them. Personally I feel like people put too much faith in the executive branch and overestimate its power. My response to anyone who is afraid is to focus more on congress, and on its power to stop potentially dangerous actions.
O’R: Most of the people I talk to are literate about politics, they understand the results and what they mean. A lot of republicans I know were not excessively surprised, and I have not really had to explain results. In my opinion it was more of a referendum on politics than it would normally be, because this time the candidate was an outsider to the world of politics.
Q: I am sure you are aware that people are trying to get members of the Electoral College to change the election results. Do you think that could ever work?
R: I don’t think it could ever be effective. If people want to switch to popular vote, it is a realistic goal to focus on over the course of four or eight years, but not over a month. I would be very surprised if there were to be a turnover.
O’R: It seems very unlikely to me. There is certainly a legal argument to it, but I am pretty sure the electors will go for their original choice.
Q: Final question: although it might be a little early on for this, do you think President Trump could obtain a second term?
R: As of right now, I don’t. I am actually writing a thesis about the election results, focusing on “blowouts” in particular: what I am trying to prove is that when people are almost certain that a candidate will win, less people show up to vote. I believe that was the case with Hillary Clinton, and I am using her as an example. Moreover, people were not as passionate about either candidate this time around, and I think that really made a difference.
O’R: Trump has been very unpredictable. I think what could happen is he might just get bored of being President and say, “you know what? I’m out of here”. If he were up to run for a second term, I don’t know if he would get elected. What I am confident in is that people will be surprised by the next four years. I think he will be a pragmatic president, rather than an ideological one. We will see.