BC professors surprised by Trump’s win

Veronica Morley, Reporter

This last election season drew out a great deal of attention, reaction and outrage. Since Election Day concluded with the announcement of Donald Trump as the new President-elect, protests and riots have ensued in multiple cities and universities throughout the country and social media. Two Bakersfield College professors weighed in with their professional opinions and views on the election and the current President-elect.

According to BC’s political science professor Edward Borgens, “As the new president, Mr. Trump needs to set a good example of focusing on positive messages and finding common ground with political opponents.”

Borgens was one of the many who was surprised by the news of Trump’s victory. “Even on the day of the election, it was predicted by most pollsters that he would lose both the Electoral College vote and the national popular vote.” Based on exit polls, Trump overwhelmingly won the votes of whites without college degrees and white working class who were able to push him over the edge.

“Given the lower turnout this time from previous recent Presidential elections, Clinton was not able to win enough votes in the Rust Belt states like Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, etc. Usually lower turnout gives Republicans a better chance for success, since Democrats currently outnumber Republicans in the United States, and predominantly Democratic supporters like young people and lower income citizens don’t vote as often as older, wealthier voters.”

In states such as Pennsylvania and Florida where it was projected early on that Clinton would have the higher lead in votes, surges in white working class voters and strong focus from Trump wiped out any lead Clinton had hoped to maintain.

Reactions to Trump’s election have been publicized throughout media. Negativity toward the new President-elect spans from peaceful protests to violent riots in the streets.

“It is unfortunate that many citizens rioted in the big cities after the election,” said Borgens. “Violence is not the answer, and rioting on either side will not help us heal from this divisive election.”

“With regard to the negative reaction VP-elect Mike Pence received when attending the Hamilton performance, I don’t think it was appropriate that the audience booed him and that the Hamilton cast reprimanded Pence and Trump for their issue stands. I also think that Trump was hyper-sensitive in lashing out at the crowd and the cast on Twitter. He needs to work on not being so defensive as he becomes president. People do have freedom of speech, and sometimes people may disagree and say unkind things about each other.”

Since the election many have spoken out about their frustrations and fear for the future of this country. Some have discussed the necessities of secession or fleeing to other countries.

“I do not think California will secede from the United States to become its own nation,” Borgens stated in an email. “I can understand their frustration that, for the fifth time in our history now (1824, 1876, 1888, 2000, and 2016), the person who won the national popular vote did not become president. Maybe Americans will reconsider trying to abolish the Electoral College system and adopt a direct popular national vote like most presidential systems have already.”

Trump, once only thought of as a real estate tycoon and reality television star, has brought forth a powerful election race and come out victorious. Of all the allegations brought forth during the election, Trump was critiqued and praised for his tendency to speak forthright and uncensored. This appealed to many of his supporters when Trump spoke out against abortion, immigration, and Hillary Clinton herself. Of course, this also gained him a great deal of negative attention when his comments were construed as sexist or racist propaganda.

“It is interesting that, so far, Donald Trump seems to be backing away from some of his previous political stands, including not prosecuting Hillary Clinton, only building a “fence” instead of a “wall”, allowing some ObamaCare conditions to remain (young people can still be covered up to age 26, and pre-existing conditions will still be covered by insurance companies), etc.”

Borgens’ email finished in response to Trump’s recent actions. “What does this mean and how will it be interpreted? Is Trump showing flexibility with his plans, or is he betraying his followers’ hopes and dreams by backtracking on his promises?”

However, people all over the country are still fearful and angry about this outcome. Trump’s victory was met with rioting and protesting in the streets of major cities such as Chicago, Philadelphia, Seattle and San Diego.

In New York, protesters gathered in front of Trump Tower in Midtown Manhattan. Demonstrators from these protests carried signs saying slogans such as “Not My President” and chanting while marching. Some protests, such as proceedings in Portland, Oregon, and Atlanta, have included violence against police and burnings of the American flag. In Bakersfield, protestors gathered to peacefully march and chant “love trumps hate.”

Trump has also received backlash over his suggestion of pardoning Hillary Clinton.

Through his campaign, Trump promised to “lock [Clinton] up.” However, since his election, he has appeared to back off of these claims and not proceed with prosecution.

This has brought forth negative reactions from right-wing media commentators and conservative supporters.

Not only do they feel as though he is betraying his initial promises, but they also feel it is highly inappropriate for him to perceptively interfere with a federal investigation.

In regard to Trump keeping his promises to bring more jobs to America and boost the economy, BC economics professor Michael Harvath stated, “Analyzing Trump is hard, because unlike most elected presidents, he doesn’t come into office so much with a plan, but more a bunch of things he said to win the election. Right now the Republican leadership in Congress is trying to steer him away from his immigration priority to making tax reform the first thing that gets done, including tax cuts for the richer people.

“This is a hard question to answer as no one really knows what Trump will do. Assuming he keeps his main promise of cutting immigration, either with or without a wall, then that will mean at least a temporary boost for workers who have jobs that recent immigrants usually compete for. A shortage of workers for jobs that are often minimum wage, such as agriculture or fast food service, will be good for the workers who currently have those jobs, and there is a good chance for a bump in wages. Buyers of those items will have to pay more,” said Harvath. “If he does put more restrictions on imports and oppose free trade deals, that will hurt our export industries, like agriculture here in the Kern country, while helping industries with strong import competition, like steel. Again, the customer for these goods will end up paying higher prices… I think that just on the politics of this, Trump would have to be kind of crazy to go this way, but it is Trump, so who knows?”

Reactions from President Obama and Hillary Clinton have taken similar grounds in regards to the nation and Trump.

Both appealed to citizens to unite as a country and respect the institutions of our nation. However, in states such as Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania there has been talk of a recount effort, and as usual with a close election, the election produced talk of providing a system other than the Electoral College.