As the race for president heated up, the candidates finally crossed the finish line, with Donald Trump coming in first place.
The nation was shocked and uncertain as the businessman/reality tv star took the stage to make his acceptance speech. For some, it was a triumph – for others, it was an utter defeat.
Students at St. Cloud State watched the election in great anticipation Tuesday evening in the Atwood Alumni Room. The atmosphere was filled with mostly apathy.
A large number of students said they weren’t going to be satisfied with the outcome because of their distaste for both candidates.
“I believe this political season has been very polarized because we have lost contact with what our country needs,” said Kate Smith. “I find it hard to vote for Hillary because her husband is a sexual predator and I find it hard to vote for Donald Trump because he is a sexual predator.”
While the number of students who were indifferent were high about, others came out in full support for Trump, who was not popular amongst many millennial voters in the general election.
Three men sat outside the party with their, “Make America Great Again” hats urging students to support the republican nominee.
Damien Koutoupas, a junior at SCSU says that Trump is a “cultural revolution president” much like Andrew Jackson and Teddy Roosevelt.
“They always stirred up popular opinion in American history, they were very good at tapping into the public conscience and figuring out what people really wanted,” Koutoupas said. “They made personality just as important as policy.”
Trump caught the attention of many Americans after his campaign announcement speech in June of 2015, calling hispanics “criminals” and “rapists”, along with proposing a complete shutdown of muslims coming into the country later that year.
Koutoupas says he doesn’t know how this will affect Trump’s presidency overall, but that watching him speak is really exciting as a young voter.
“At the beginning of this election I was really pessimistic about all of the candidates, but once Trump gave his foreign policy speech that we will no longer align with globalism and that our nation is the true foundation of harmony, these were policies that I could start getting behind, so I did my research on all of the candidates and Trump came out on top.”
Many millennial voters coin Donald Trump as an establishment candidate because of his ties to big business, but Koutoupas thinks that Donald Trump is recognizing the problem and attempting to help everyday Americans do what they can to take their country back.
“People are always asking him how he knows the system is rigged and he says he takes advantage of it all the time, but so do Clinton’s endorsements and all of her donors,” he said. “He also doesn’t have to do this, he is worth billions of dollars and sits pretty comfortably, so it feels genuine to me.”
Patrick Nelson, a transfer student at SCSU says watching Trump has been massively entertaining and that every election after this one, will mirror its instability.
“You cannot go back to a regular election after a social media influenced, populist vote race and going for the most persuasive arguments, which aren’t even logical, you cannot beat anyone playing this new game,” he said.
Nelson says he likes Trump because he doesn’t believe that he will get impeached and that no one will have arguments over him.
“Donald Trump will offend many Democrats, but they won’t try to impeach him, there won’t be any disputes, there will be no fight once he’s in office because once he’s in office, he’s in office.”
As Trump made headlines recently being the first gay-friendly and anti-war republican candidate, Nelson says there is finally a conservative leader who aligns with his social viewpoints. For many liberals – who generally support LGBT rights, Nelson claims that Trump can offer them protection from terroristic threats, such as those in the Orlando night-club shooting.
“I am for the Muslim ban, in places like Orlando and countries like Saudi-Arbia – they practice Sharia Law and with Sharia Law, they believe that gays should be stoned to death and there is no movement in the Muslim community in order to change that,” he said. “In the Catholic Church, the Pope has the ability to change things he doesn’t agree with. There has been no change in the Muslim community over time.”
Donald Trump’s largest controversy involved his remarks on sexual assault towards women, which were caught on tape that the Washington Post released in early October. Nelson said he doesn’t approve of the comments, but that when he listens to those tapes, he hears men just joking around.
“I think about all the times I’ve said something as a joke, I know people who have said worse things than Donald Trump as a joke, I’ve said worse than that and with all the people coming forward about him sexually assaulting them, that worried me a little bit, but that’s just not true, they figured out it was just a hoax.”
As for other students on campus, many do not feel the same enthusiasm about the new president as they do. Many voted for Hillary Clinton and others took a stab at a third party vote, but in the end… the Donald supporters trumped the results by a thin margin.