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Why the 2016 Presidential Election and Donald Trump's Victory Hit Me So Hard

Updated on November 30, 2016
Kathleen Odenthal profile image

Kathleen Odenthal is a freelance writer from the NYC area. She has a passion for politics and political movements.

Politicians, Politicians Everywhere, But No One to Elect

Let me first say that I am not a die hard Democrat, in fact, I would consider myself a moderate. I am fiscally quite conservative, but socially I am very liberal. I consider myself relatively knowledgeable when it comes to current affairs, and I was excited going into the election season.

In January of 2016, I gave birth to my first son, who was born during the end of Obama's administration. Unlike many people, I thought President Obama did the best job he could given the obstacles he faced. The Republicans in power did everything they could to prevent him from making positive, lasting changes, so I scoff at those who say that he was incompetent. The odds were just seriously stacked against him.

That being said, going into this election there was a lot more on the line for me now. I have a son, I have a family, and I wanted a president who would help ensure a bright future for my child.

Very rarely do I find that any political figure shares all of my beliefs, because my beliefs come from both the left and the right. I am very anti-guns, but I am also adamantly pro-life. I am against the death penalty, but I believe in the need for government assistance for those who are struggling financially.

I am not in favor of excessively strict immigration laws, because I think that what makes this country great is that people can come here for a better life. If we make it near impossible for immigrants to come to America, I feel like we are doing a disservice to the globe as a whole.

I believe that college tuition makes education too burdensome for way too many people, and that we need a better way of educating our children without causing lifelong debt. I am passionate about the environment and feel that we desperately need to come up with a way to reduce our carbon footprint so that we can protect the world around us.

While there was no one candidate running for office who I related to on everything, I have always been a fan of Bernie Sanders. I love his sincerity and his passion for what he believes in; that being said, I do think that he is a bit idealistic, and that when push came to shove, it would be hard to put his policies in place effectively.

While I wasn't a die hard Hillary fan, after the primaries, I was so disgusted by the fact that Trump had been named the Republican nominee, I knew I had to get in Hillary's corner. I would have gotten behind literally anyone in the world before I got behind Donald Trump.

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Donald Trump, the Candidate I Failed to Take Seriously

When I heard that Donald Trump was running for president, I did what most people did, I laughed uncontrollably. What had become of our country that this man, with absolutely no political experience, was convinced he could run the country? I thought he was a joke, and made the huge mistake of not taking his candidacy seriously.

I looked at the long list of Republicans fighting for the nomination, and never in my wildest dreams (or nightmares) did I imagine that he would become the party nominee. Not only was he inexperienced, but he had spent his entire life voting and living like a Democrat. What changed? Why was he suddenly throwing his name into the running for the Republican nomination?

As the election season painfully dragged on, Republicans began dropping out of the race, one after another. What had once seemed impossible was quickly seeming more and more probable, and more and more frightening to boot. Donald Trump had become a strong contender for the Republican nomination.

Unlike many people, I watched every debate, I watched every town hall, and I either watched or followed up with every press conference held by the candidates. Throughout all of this, I still had no idea what Trump's platform was. Sure, he was going to "make yuge changes" and "make America great again", but how? How was he actually going to do any of the things he was promising? Don't even get me started on "the wall".

He was a very vague candidate throughout the entire race. His promises were vague, his policies were vague, and even the information he provided about himself was vague. Where were his tax statements, where was he detailed plan for following through with his lofty claims to the people?

Much to my own horror, he became the Republican nominee and Hillary Clinton became the Democratic nominee. Was I worried? No. There was no chance in hell that Clinton was going to lose this race. No chance in hell.

Despite the fact that I was convinced Clinton had the race in the bag, I paid careful attention to the entire race between her and Trump. I was mesmerized by the people who supported Trump. What are you supporting? How are you ignoring the horrific things this man has said and done? What is it that he is saying that is so compelling to you? I was literally baffled. Time and again I tried to wrap my head around the thought process of the Trump supporter, and time and again I failed miserably.

The man is homophobic. He is misogynistic. He is narcissistic. He is sexist. He is racist. He is everything I hate, and yet, people I knew, people I cared about were getting behind him and rooting for him. What was I missing?

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The Implications of Donald Trump's Election

Since his election, much has transpired. Hate crimes have skyrocketed. Minorities fear for their safety and security. Hate groups such as the KKK have come out of the shadows to show their support for the country's new leader. This cannot be ignored. Even if Trump says that he doesn't support the actions of these people, he cannot deny that his own actions are what encouraged these events. He ran a campaign of hate, and now we are a nation more divided than ever.

During his transition, he has appointed questionable cabinet members. Steve Bannon, known white supremacist, is now his Chief of Staff. Jeff Sessions, who has a record of racism and bigotry, is going to be our Attorney General. Betsy DeVos, billionaire and top donor to the Trump campaign and firm believer in the dismantling of public education, will now be Education Secretary. And then of course there is Mike Pence, who strongly believes that the LGBQT community deserves no freedoms in this country.

Oh, and since he won the election, Trump has already said that he has no intentions of imprisoning Hillary Clinton. He said that the famous wall he wanted to build may be more like a fence. He also said that he doesn't intend to repeal Obamacare, but rather, he will amend it.

While some Hillary supporters are laughing and saying that they hope the Trump supporters are happy with their new leader, I don't find any of this funny. He may not be my candidate, but unfortunately, he is my president. When he goes down (which Im fairly confident he will), we all go down with him.

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The Impact of Donald Trump's Campaign on My Own Personal Life

Knowing that people I love put their faith in this man shakes me to my core. I still don't know how I am supposed to move on with my life knowing that people I care so much about supported such a hateful man.

This is the bitterest pill to swallow. This is the part of this election that is so deeply troubling to me. This, more than anything, is the part that I am not sure I will ever accept.

Where do I go from here? I have values and beliefs that I cherish so deeply. Values and beliefs I hope to instill in my son. Values and beliefs that completely contradict everything Donald Trump says, does, and claims to believe.

This was not a race between a Republican and a Democrat. This election pitted coworkers against coworkers, friends against friends, and family against family. The disgust I feel towards Donald Trump is a disgust that I cannot help but feel towards those who support him.

I'm not being dramatic when I say that I cried for days after the election results. Sure, some of those tears were because Trump won, but a majority of those tears were due to the fact that so many of my fellow citizens actually believed that he was the better candidate. That speaks volumes to me.

No, not all Trump supporters are racist, misogynist, xenophobes. But what they did was say that it is okay to be racist, misogynistic, and xenophobic. Their votes enabled racism, they enabled misogyny, they enabled xenophobia in the highest halls of our government. Even if they felt that they had no other choice, they need to own what they did. The impact of their votes cannot be ignored.

My friends, my family, voted for ignorance to rule our nation. That is not okay with me, and it will NEVER be okay with me.

© 2016 Kathleen Odenthal Romano

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    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 3 months ago from Texas

      I fear for my country and the irreparable harm that this administration will do to us the middle-class and poor.

      Betsy De-Vos, who does not believe in public education a major advocate for education reform centered on expanding charter schools and private-school vouchers. she wants to do what Jindal did in Louisiana, shut down public schools and give those children vouchers to attend private schools. What happens when the parents of the private school kids say: "wait a minute, we are paying out of our pocket for our children not to have to go to school with the poor kids and now the poor kids are getting vouchers to go to school with private school kids without having to pay, at least until all public schools are closed.

      The man who wants to shut down the EPA trump put in charge of the EPA, the same thing for FEMA. He seems to be gathering his generals to destroy the government entities that are for the welfare and well being of all Americans.

      Thank you for writing this.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 4 months ago from Texas

      Oh my, I thought I was alone in my feelings about the vile man who was chosen by the majority of the Republican electoral college members.

      I had followed and researched the lies perpetrated by the Greedy Old Politicians (GOP) in the past 45- 50 years and how they used those lies to further their own political ambitions.

      It hurts my heart that people cannot see the evil under their nose.

      I thank you so much for writing this.

      Blessings my friend.

    • JoGraceGoldsmith profile image

      JoGraceGoldsmith 5 months ago

      Awesome hub here. I am still not over the reality that this little man with little hands is the next President elect. It is good to know that I wasn't the only one crying non stop and in fits since Nov 8th results.

      Trump will never be my President. I am seriously thinking about moving to a blue state, since my current one is red. I voted for Hillary because I knew a vote for any other candidate would give it to him. If I didn't vote and he won, I would of never forgiven myself. Because maybe it would of been my vote to defeat him.

      All we can do is pray and not allow the evil that embodies trump to steal our joy or our morals. Awesome to read and to the point.

    • profile image

      Sanxuary 5 months ago

      I am one of the 47 percent who never voted Republican or Democrat and despise both parties. Every time they failed for the last 100 years, they have blamed the other party. Not once do they take responsibility for the things they have done. Even Trump calls his own party a failure. Between the two of them they barely got half of the votes in this country. A third party has to win at some point. Leave the radicals in these two parties cursing one another and everyone else and lets get busy finding something else. Both parties are fighting over rich people and taking there money for favours. Trump has the Natzi's, white supremist and anyone who loves talk radio. The Democrats have all the special interest groups and anyone who lives in fear of Trumps propaganda machine. That leaves us people who actually care about the constitution and the laws of this land even if some things need to be changed or clarified. We get whatever Godly people are left who are smart enough to not vote for evil people. We get the middle class and poor who know this nation is not about race, gender and beliefs. Its about individual rights and the ability to practice your beliefs without harming the beliefs of others. Some people are mad about burning the flag but i get more upset when they burn crosses. What kind of crazy religous person believes that God who created all people would be people happy with that? Most of all people want problems to be identified, solved and a plan that works for all people.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 5 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Petreaus? Remember Hillary's email scandal? We have short memories.

    • Kathleen Odenthal profile image
      Author

      Kathleen Odenthal Romano 5 months ago from Bayonne, New Jersey

      Eric, Im sorry that you feel badly for me, but you seem to be a bit mistaken. I don't have clear hatred for opinions that are not my own. What I do hate is clear and blatant ignorance. I do hate racism. I hate sexism. I hate men who think that they can do whatever they want to someone because they have money. As I rape victim, I am personally appalled by the words and actions of Donald Trump. I never claimed that Hillary was a saint. I realize that she has done things that I certainly do not agree with. That doesn't change the fact that she was clearly more fit for the job. How anyone could look at Donald Trump and think that he is qualified and capable for his new position is simply mind boggling. I didn't "ratify" Clinton, but yes, they are that different, plain and simple.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 5 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      I feel really bad for you. I think I get the five stages of grief deal pretty well. And I try to respect Armageddon preaching folks. Chicken Little is alive and well. But I have trouble with the concept of ratifying one of the two major party candidates and hating the other. Really like they are really all that different?

      The hand wringing and the clear hatred of a different opinion is startling. Call it sadness and that is a load of crock. This article shows hatred of an opposing point of view. One would think it better to work on your point of view rather than attacking many millions opinion.

    • lions44 profile image

      CJ Kelly 5 months ago from Auburn, WA

      While I share your negative opinion of Trump (I was a NeverTrump GOPer), I have been heartened by his "interviews" with Romeny, Petreaus and others who appear to be competent and sane. It solidifies my belief that Trump's rhetoric was all BS to get elected. "Draining the swamp" and "Lock her up" turned out to be empty promises.

      But the stain of racism will become permanent on my party. That's why I did not want a good man like Romney to be associated with this craziness. Time will tell.

      One last point - I disagree with your assessment of President Obama. He could have negotiated with the GOP and gotten through Congress effective legislation. Yes, Ryan would have cut deals. But he did not want to do that. Even back in his State Leg days, he avoided tough deal making. Instead, he used executive orders for minor appointments and issues. The Iran deal was never ratified by the Senate. A President has that right. But it will now have grave consequences with Trump in power.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 5 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      "A majority of those tears were due to the fact that so many of my fellow citizens actually believed that he was the better candidate. That speaks volumes to me." Amen, sister. Amen.

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