Everyone has something to say on the shock victory, so we gathered the opinions of students around the country
The events of the 8th–9th of November 2016 saw America vote for Donald Trump as their new president, shocking the world. Although we’re thousands of miles away from the White House, we turned to students in the UK to hear what they had to say on this divisive and polarising outcome.
Len Cotton, Womens’ Officer at the University of Manchester’s Students’ Union says:
“To anyone who says that feminism in the 21st century is redundant, attention-seeking and outdated I hope this election result has shed some new light on your views. A man who has been accused of over 10 counts of sexual assault, who has referred to women in the most demeaning, derogatory terms has now become the leader of one of (if not the) most powerful countries in the world. For all her sins, (and I know there were many), Hillary Clinton as a president would have symbolised that politics is not an exclusively male domain. It’s been almost one hundred years since women gained the vote and still we have not gained political equality.
“Yes, Hillary was white and middle class and yes, she had some sketchy and questionable views, but were they really as bad as the blatant racism and misogyny that Trump has forged his campaign on? Hillary has over 30 years of political experience making her vastly more qualified for the role. Yet, somehow, Donald was seen as more ‘fit’ to be a leader. Clearly this evidences that the ‘glass ceiling’ is not a myth, it’s an accurate representation of how women the world over are constantly being held back from gaining key positions of power, despite their best efforts.
“‘A vote for Trump is a vote for change’ is the biggest pile of bollocks I have ever heard. Electing a rich, white, right-wing man is not revolutionary — it’s a reversion of and insult to the years of tireless campaigning that women across the world have undertaken in the plight for equality. I’m so angry and disappointed, and… [am in] despair.”
Conversely, Leeds University student, Elrica Degirmen, said that Trump’s election brought a sense of hope to America:
“Trump’s victory signals a victory for those who feel that the current establishment were not addressing the issues they felt most strongly about. People felt they could relate to the message that he was saying of making America great again. Those words resonate a sense of hope for the country that the Clinton failed to emulate. People wanted change and people believed that Trump would be the best person to deliver it. Although the result of the US election was a shock, it wasn’t surprising that someone who could connect with disenfranchised Americans won over an individual who relied on her gender as her winning card. People may disagree with some of the policies he proposed, but many felt they could get behind his vision and leadership for the country.”
Nathan, a University of Manchester alumnus said that Trump’s win “[is] disappointing. I’m hopeful that progressives will be able to reorganise and reach the pissed-off people through the grassroots.”
University of Manchester English Language student, Laura Joyce shared a similar feeling saying: “Obama’s time in office was all about progress, and bringing society up to date. Obama had a modern outlook on acceptance, unity, equal rights and safety. Electing Trump is basically America saying, “We’ve made progress, let’s turn back the clock.” For the majority of Americans they’ll be going back to the middle ages, women will have the same value as objects and attitudes towards racism and homophobia will reverse. His head also looks like road kill.”
Newcastle University student Jordan Taylor Scudder said, “He’s what’s needed to defeat mecha-Hitler.”
Will Kelly, a University of Manchester alumnus says, “I think we are on a road to a revolution, where the entire political system will be upstaged. It’s very worrying what is going to come next.
The big question is how far he will try to put into effect some of the ideas he has mooted – scrapping trade agreements and imposing tariffs, ignoring climate change initiatives, leaving NATO, keeping immigrants out and expelling those in the US illegally. Many of these things will be very difficult to do and would have swift adverse effects on financial markets. Perhaps even more worrying is what this might mean for the Far Right in France and Germany and the impact it will have on Putin. I suspect the leaders of the Baltic states will not be sleeping easily from now on. Change is certainly needed and the liberal world needs to wake up and get itself sorted out. In reality, I guess we get the governments we deserve.”
Rosie Kennedy Ward, a Film Production student at London School of Film, Media and Design shared this: “I think the real issue is not the man himself, he’s a Republican. You only have to do your research to see the insane things representatives of that party have said… He is just a person like anybody else who when they want something they become ruthless. He wanted to be president and so that was his target. The real sadness is how he managed to become president. Through by the most part… simple racism. People who are uneducated and do not have any motivation other than hate. But just like you can’t generalise people of a certain religion, you can’t generalise people who voted for someone. Some voters for Trump will just be disgruntled Americans who took part in a protest and used the only power given to them by the the government. When people say they can’t believe he succeeded because he’s not a politician, the reality of it is that is the exact reason why he succeeded.”
Echoing the sentiment of many women around the globe, Caitlin Hughes, a University of Manchester History student, had this to say: “Do you know how it feels to be a woman, waking up to the news that the most powerful job in the world has been handed to a man, a man who said it’s more than okay to grab girls by the pussy? When you can’t even walk home by yourself after 6pm without a rape alarm or your keys between your fingers? People say they voted for change but a vote for this rich, white, privileged man is not a vote for change. It’s a vote for misogyny, a vote for reclaiming white and male privilege. A vote to turn the clock back on women’s rights, the rights of minorities, our basic human rights. White, male supremacy is happening again, right before our eyes, and it’s absolutely terrifying.”