Donald Trump’s election came as a shock to many, including a significant number of Cornell students. His victory is surprising for many reasons: Trump will be the first president with no formal political or military experience before entering the White House; he began his campaign with a promise to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border and have Mexico pay for it; throughout his campaign, Trump has made racist, sexist, Islamophobic and otherwise hateful comments. Yet it should be less of a surprise that rural voters overwhelmingly supported Trump, especially since the Democratic establishment and progressive elites have dismissed them throughout the campaign and for the past several years. This should not surprise Cornell students and faculty, who live in deep blue Ithaca but are surrounded by a sea of red. Every county adjoining Tompkins County — which Hillary won with more than 60 percent of votes — supported Trump.
The New York Times exit polls reported that neither major party candidate reached a 50 percent favorability rating; 18 percent of voters did not have a favorable view of either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, according to Fox News exit polls.
Late last night, the voters of this country elected Donald J. Trump the 45th president of the United States. Despite running a campaign distorted by hints of authoritarianism, building a platform based in racism and misogyny and despite the appalling personal inadequacy of Trump govern this great nation, in January he will ascend to the White House. Cornellians last night and today reacted with an outpouring of horror and sadness. Many minority students fear they could face deportation. Women are anxious about the decisions that will be made by a Republican Congress and right-leaning Court, and wonder about the implications of elevating a man who brags about sexually assaulting women to the Oval Office.
I have a lot of questions at the end of this election cycle. Why did immigration become such an intense focal point this year? Why doesn’t Hillary bring up the progress of the current economy more? Who decided that Trump’s son should have any kind of presence on Twitter? At times, I’ve questioned why Hillary wanted to run again at all.
Several Cornell professors and students tell different stories of the roots and implications of Trump’s rise through GOP ranks. Their analysis diverges on whether the candidate has corrupted the Republican party or merely carried conservatives’ policy and rhetoric to their logical conclusions.
In some ways, the Cornell Republicans have been examples of this movement: the group broke party lines to endorse Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson over the Republican nominee on Sep. 4. Almost immediately after this decision, the New York Federation of College Republicans revoked the chapter’s credentials, chastising the organization for supporting another party’s candidate.