I’m going to be straight up with you: I am shocked Donald Trump became the President-Elect. His behavior and attitudes towards women are repulsive, his racism and xenophobia frightening, and his political experience questionable at best. In my eyes, everything he stands for embodies the worst qualities America has to offer; his victory symbolizes that a huge portion of the nation embraces those qualities rather than reject them. At least half the country agrees with me.
Not to mention, both the Senate and the House of Representatives are dominated by Republican politicians. While this doesn’t necessarily mean that they will agree with everything Trump suggests, it is more likely he will get the support he needs on his ideas for running the country. This could be potentially disastrous.
Although the future seems bleak to many of us right now, we mustn’t let it weaken our resolve to better our nation. We mustn’t let despair sink in and make us apathetic, no matter how exhausted we may feel. While Trump may have won the Presidency, there are other smaller victories that we can celebrate and hope for. If you’re having election anxiety right now, here are five things to focus on:
These minority women who were elected to public office
Although both the Senate and the House are primarily Republican, there are many people that were elected who bring cause for celebration. There are many firsts in public office this year with regards to diversity. For example, Nevada elected Catherine Cortez Masto (D), who is the first Latina Senator ever.
Tammy Duckworth of Illinois (D) is not only the first Thai-American Senator, but is also the first female veteran Senator to be elected at all. She is joined by another Asian-American woman, Kamala Harris of California (D). Harris is the first Indian-American Senator in office. Minnesota elected the nation’s first ever Somali-American Muslim woman to the House of Representatives, Ilhan Omar (D).
We also gained our first openly LGBTQ+ Senator in Kate Brown of Oregon (D). These women bring loads of determination and knowledge with them, giving those of us who feel alienated by the Republican-heavy Congress some hope.
First female campaign manager to successfully run a presidential campaign
Even though it was Trump’s campaign, it’s still a great achievement to acknowledge. Kellyanne Conway is not only the first woman to run a Republican presidential campaign, but she is the first female campaign manager to have her candidate win. Conway, 49, is particularly effective in advising politicians on how to appeal to more female voters. She is well-versed in politics, having graduated magna cum laude at Trinity College in D.C., as well as being a law graduate of George Washington University.
It’s clear that Conway’s work directly influenced the success of Trump’s campaign, especially in helping him when he began going down in the polls. As a female figure heavily involved in politics, we can see that she is someone to be admired for this accomplishment, regardless of political standpoints.
Bernie Sanders isn’t out of the running yet
In terms of white male politicians, Bernie Sanders is about as great as you can get. The Democrats lost him way back in June when Clinton was chosen as the party’s preferred nominee. But that doesn’t mean he’s taking a back seat. He spent much of the remaining time in the election advocating for Clinton, urging his supporters to do everything they could to work against Trump. And it doesn’t seem like Sanders is taking a break any time soon.
The Washington Post reports that Sanders has hinted he may run for President again in 2020. “We’ll take one thing at a time, but I’m not ruling out anything,” Sanders said. He also noted that he is up for re-election for Senate in 2018. He and fellow Senator, Elizabeth Warren, have indicated their extreme discontent with a Trump presidency; both have explicitly promised to fight for the principles many Democrats believe in.
People are protesting
This might not initially seem like a good thing, but there is a positive side to this. Protesting proves that we as a nation care about this. We care that the least qualified candidate won over one of the most qualified candidates. We care that half our country believed that the man who openly discriminates and promotes hatred is warming up his chair in the Oval Office. It’s especially important to note that millenials, who are constantly accused of not caring about anything but themselves, are protesting all over the nation. While we shouldn’t condone violence, we should recognize the power of fighting back.
People are also questioning the electoral college, whether it actually violates the concept of America being a democracy. Since we don’t directly elect our President, doesn’t that imply us as more of a pseudo-democratic autocracy? Not to mention that the electorate actually stems from our history with slavery. Protesting against the use of the electoral college indicates that our nation is ready for more progress towards equality.
Hillary Clinton may have lost but her achievements are still noteworthy
Whatever your thoughts on Clinton’s politics are, you have to admit that her election run was seriously impressive. Imagine how absolutely frustrating it must be to run against someone so unqualified for the job, someone who constantly interrupts and belittles you, only to have to keep as professional a demeanor as possible.
In the face of adversity against her gender, Clinton held her head up high and continued to stick by her politics. She didn’t lose to Trump by much; in fact, she ended up winning the popular vote. While she didn’t shatter the glass ceiling like she had hoped, she definitely cracked it. Clinton may not be the first woman to run for President, but she is the first one to get so close to victory. She has definitely carved out the path to be marginally easier for the next female candidate, and that’s worth celebrating.
If you’re feeling fearful, anxious or disenfranchised by the Trump election, that’s okay. But remember that not all hope is lost. One man won’t reverse all of our progress unless we as a nation allow it to happen. And I know we won’t.