Put the pitchforks down: What Trump’s rise really means

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I can speak for our general audience when I say that very few people, conservatives included, expected the landslide victory our country witnessed on November 8th.

Regardless of how you feel about the result, it cannot be ignored that Donald Trump achieved an incredible feat on Tuesday.

He defeated one of the most powerful members of one the most storied political families in American history, and he did it soundly and without debate.

Over sixty million registered voters decided that, in their minds, Trump was the best option. Despite losing the popular vote, Trump’s dominant performance in the electoral college and his overwhelming popularity in the so-called “rust belt” states proved that, this time around, the Republican candidate’s campaign was superior.

Electoral College Votes

  • Hillary Clinton
  • Donald Trump

Popular Votes (Percent)

  • Hillary Clinton
  • Donald Trump

I can see some of you nodding and some of you shaking your heads at the screen. I realize the irony in my previous statement when, in all actuality, the 2016 election was the most polarizing in decades, if not ever. Now, I have to be unbiased. With this being said, we need to dissect both campaigns in order to arrive at the reason for Trump’s victory.

We will start with the victor. Trump’s campaign began its scorched earth assault on America’s TV screens on June 16, 2015 with his announcement speech. When Trump implied that the Mexican government was knowingly and intentionally sending convicted rapists into this country, a line was drawn in the metaphorical sand. From the Wall, to an immigration ban on Muslims from terror-stricken countries, to the abandonment of “failed” trade deals, to his harassment of a handicapped reporter, Trump’s policies seemed destined to cause controversy.

Then came the insults. No one was safe from 140 characters of Trump’s wrath. Marco Rubio, Scott Walker, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Megyn Kelly, Alicia Machado, Elizabeth Warren, Chuck Todd, and Nicole Wallace were just some of his victims. But, through it all, Trump’s supporters shattered records and showed up in droves to cast their ballots.

Trump’s candidacy and ultimately, his election, no matter how unlikely they seemed, were a total rejection and revolution against the Washington establishment.

For many of Trump’s supporters, this establishment is a symbol of corruption that they feel has turned its back on average Americans.

I tried to reach the Clinton campaign for comment on their loss but my message did not seem to reach the proper individual. At this point, you should make it 33,001 emails that apparently were not worth saving. From her first campaign stop to her last, Hillary Clinton seemed to have the presidency signed, sealed, and delivered. She, with Donna Brazile and Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s help, defeated Bernie Sanders in the primary.

Clinton’s candidacy was weighed down, if not ultimately sunk, by political baggage spanning over the last thirty years of her admittedly highly decorated public service. The aforementioned email scandal, the Benghazi incident, the sometimes questionable donors and contributions of the Clinton Foundation, and the deaths of Vince Foster and Seth Rich hung like dark clouds over Clinton’s campaign and ultimately dropped monsoon levels of red-tinted rain on her presidential parade.

Keep in mind, this is being written by someone who openly supported her presidential campaign, and was captivated by the 2012 campaign of President Barack Obama. I am, by no stretch of the imagination, a bleeding heart. I tend to sit pretty much directly in the middle of the fence, politically speaking. However, Donald Trump’s divisive rhetoric ultimately pushed me over the edge and I fell on the left side of the argument in 2016.

This election cycle featured enough riots, protests, and demonstrations to make the outside world think that America the Beautiful was slowly going to tear itself apart from the inside. In a way, the outside world may have been right. Election night saw speechless reporters, crying supporters, and one incredibly sleepy Barron Trump. The dice were cast, and Hillary Clinton did not emerge victorious.

There is a phenomenon that occurs in every living room in America when children have done something dissatisfactory. Parents utter the dreaded phrase, “I’m not mad. I’m just very disappointed.” That pretty much sums up my feelings after November 8th. I am disappointed in the Republican party’s inability to produce a candidate more qualified than the former host of “The Celebrity Apprentice.” I am disappointed in Hillary Clinton’s overwhelming amount of political controversies that too many voters were unable to look beyond.

In spite of this, as President Obama forecasted, the sun did in fact rise on November 9th. It rose on a country with a new leader and an uncertain future. In most elections, this beautiful country of ours goes through cycles of change. America’s stance in the world shifted dramatically in 2000 with George W. Bush’s election to the White House and again in 2008 with Obama’s sweeping victory over John McCain. What I am trying to say is that, no matter how apocalyptic you may feel Trump’s election really is, it is a part of American democracy. To deny him our support as citizens based on personal feelings would be wrong.

I have a message for those individuals who feel the need to burn the Stars and Stripes, curse American democracy, and reject our political process. You are not sending a message, and you are not being patriotic. The true patriots in America are those who, despite protesting the outcome, will swallow their pride and support Donald Trump’s presidency. To burn the American flag is to insult thousands of brave soldiers who have fought and died to protect your right to live as a free individual. To refuse to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance does not show bravery, it shows a lack of respect for our nation.

Donald Trump may very well go on to be one of the greatest leaders in this country’s proud history. He could also plunge this nation into its darkest era.

Such is the case with each and every new president-elect. No one really knows for sure. So as Mike Pence sits in Washington assembling what will be Trump’s cabinet, the rest of America sits with baited breath, some with torches in hand and others still wearing their “Make America Great Again” hats. I offer President-elect Trump a hearty “Felicidades!” and my support. This country may very well be headed for dark days. Prove me wrong, Mr. President.

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Dominic Vela is a member of the National Honor Society, a National Hispanic Scholar, Colombian Squire, Senior Leader, anchor, writer, producer, and play-by-play analyst for the Eagle Broadcast Network, sound engineer for STH Drama, and a senior at St. Thomas. He also happens to be the reigning Editor in Chief of The Eagle. In other words, he never has enough going on.

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