Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Cleveland in March.

Mark Makela / The New York Times

Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Cleveland in March.

November 12, 2016

Cornell Swing State Voters Analyze Bitter Divisions in Home States

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Many Cornellians who hail from swing states expressed disappointment with the results of the 2016 election and made predictions about the future of their divided home states moving forward.

Trump won multiple swing states, including Pennsylvania and Florida, by very small margins. In Florida, for example, 49.1 percent voted for Trump and 47.8 percent voted for Clinton, according to CNN.

“Florida’s gone through a lot of hatred and a lot of divide over this past year,” said Lily Garrido ’18, a Latina Florida resident who voted for Clinton. “We had the Orlando shooting, we’ve had various bomb threats in schools. We’re a state that’s divided, and to vote for someone that seems to want to divide us even more is so hard for me to accept.”

Garrido said she anticipates that the election outcome will generate doubt among her friends, teachers and employers and a “lack of trust” across the nation.

“Are the people that I call friends and people that I care about, people that I thought cared for me, are they the ones that believe Trump’s words and side with his views that are against respecting me as a human being?” Garrido said. “Do they see me as a real American citizen or do they see me as some sort of foreigner, or someone that’s below them?”

Garrido said it “hurt” to see Trump win “especially in a state like Florida,” which is known for its racial diversity in its southern regions.

“There is a great divide between southern Florida and northern Florida, but even parts of southern Florida voted for Trump, parts that I didn’t expect to vote for him,” she said.

Jordan Fuller ’19, also a Florida resident, said even though many people from her high school chose Trump based on his tax plan and abortion stance, she is still concerned that they chose to overlook Trump’s racist comments during his campaign.

“A lot of them couldn’t look past Hillary’s emails and Benghazi and cited that as a reason why they chose Trump as well,” she said. “I like to think that none of them voted because they were actively racist, however they chose to look past this.”

Fuller also explained how difficult it was for her that her best friend from high school voted for Trump.

“When somebody votes for somebody with those views, it’s kind of telling you that she doesn’t respect yours,” she said. “As a person of color, it’s really hard, because she knows what I’ve been through, and it’s just incredible to believe that she understands how racism has hurt me in the past and that she can still vote for a candidate that supports things like that.”

Noah Chovanec ’18, a Pennsylvania resident, said he was surprised Pennsylvania — which “has been blue in presidential elections since the 80s” — became a red state this year.

“I was disappointed by the fact that nobody seemed to see this coming,” he said. “A lot of the fault lies on the Democratic National Committee, and I don’t think they did what they needed to do to ensure that Trump wouldn’t get elected.”

Ning Ning Sun ’19, an Ohio resident, described the difference between Ohio’s rural regions and its “progressive” metropolitan areas.

“There’s a barn with a huge roof and it’s just painted the Confederate flag,” he said. “I remember seeing it for the first time when I was seven, not really knowing that there was still racism … I was just shocked because I had learned about the Civil War and [it was] just absolutely mind-blowing that people would still stand for a cause that would allow slavery. It’s a very different place once you get out past the city.”

However, Sun noted that Ohio’s rural regions were not solely responsible for the state turning red this election cycle. He said Democratic turnout decreased this year, in part because Clinton was less “exciting and charismatic” than President Barack Obama.

“Clinton’s perceived lack of honesty and transparency really hurt her, because it fired up the right to take back control of the presidency, even with Trump’s flaws,” he said. “Both are heavily unpopular, but I think that many Ohioans were just sick of the scandals and the political elites running the country and were willing to take a chance on Trump because he was the one who wanted to shake everything up.”