Around Ithaca College’s campus the morning after the 2016 presidential election, many students embraced and cried, while others celebrated, following the stunning upset by Republican presidential nominee, and now president-elect, Donald Trump.
At election-night viewing parties around campus, it was generally assumed that Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, who had a stubborn lead in the polls before election night, would win. However, the gatherings turned mute as the numbers flipped for Trump. As the numbers settled, students and groups across the political spectrum reflected on the imminent: a Trump administration.
Junior Kyle Stewart, president of IC Republicans, said he was shocked by the results of the election and expressed concerns about the direction of the Republican Party under the leadership of Trump.
“I’ve been Never-Trump since the beginning,” said Stewart, also a political columnist for The Ithacan. “My biggest hope was that Republicans would see this as a wake-up call to rebuild and to look at our flaws and completely change the way we do this. But they won, so now we have to somehow adapt the party and change the party while there’s a Republican president in office who is barely conservative, which is crazy.”
The night began on a surprising note when states like Florida and North Carolina, both critical swing states, began to sway toward Trump. Later in the night, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania — states many pollsters and political analysts wrongly predicted would go to Clinton — were closer than expected before going to Trump. With this, he ultimately secured the election.
Senior Catherine Proulx, chairperson of IC Progressives, said she is frustrated about the results of the election because of the rhetoric that Trump used to win the presidency. She said she thinks he will likely undo many progressive pieces of legislation.
“I felt that Donald Trump’s whole candidacy was based off of hateful rhetoric regarding a lot of marginalized groups,” she said. “I am a queer woman. I obviously directly feel the impact of a lot of what he was saying. It is definitely really frustrating and infuriating to hear that half of the country not only voted for him but actively supports that ideology.”
President Tom Rochon reminded the campus community about respect in a Nov. 9 announcement after he allegedly heard about racist interactions on campus in relation to the election.
“The electoral campaign has been long, difficult, and polarizing,” he wrote in the statement. “The outcome of the presidential election was surprising to many of us, including most pundits, which has heightened emotions on both sides of the partisan divide. Those emotions are no excuse for racist, harassing, or uncivil behavior. We must commit to supporting each other’s welfare, and to engaging in respectful dialogue even – or, especially – with those whose political positions are different from our own.”
Senior David Heffernan, president of IC Young Americans for Liberty, a libertarian group on campus, said he was not surprised by the results of the election.
“I’m not really surprised; I’m not happy about it, but I had a pretty strong feeling he was going to win for the past few weeks,” he said. “It is very clear that the people that make up our country are very polarized, now more so than ever.”
Junior Marieme Foote, president of the Student Governance Council, said she was shocked and disappointed by Trump’s victory.
“I’m still processing it,” she said. “I guess literally everything that he stands for is a problem. … There are a lot of problems. I haven’t processed this at all. I don’t think that a lot of students have either. ”
Others, like sophomore Nick Poggi, said they were excited by Trump’s victory.
“I feel pretty great, actually,” he said. “I knew it was going to be close. I actually thought Hillary was going to win, but Trump’s overwhelming support in some of the swing states kind of changed the whole election. As soon as he won Florida, Pennsylvania — it was kind of over.”
Though he thinks some of Trump’s policies are extreme, Poggi said he believes Trump will ultimately change the U.S. for the better. A defining reason Poggi said he voted for Trump was because of his support for veterans, which he said he thought Clinton did not talk about enough in her campaign.
At an election–night viewing party in Friends Hall, organized by senior Alexandra Skolnick, students were visibly frustrated watching the election. Each time Trump was projected to win a state, students booed the screen. Conversely, students applauded and clapped when states went to Clinton. Many people stayed until 1:30 a.m. or later, anxiously waiting for the results to roll in.
The result stunned junior Colby Daboul.
“I was having a very hard time admitting it to myself that that would be the end result,” he said. “I was pretty startled, and I’m still adjusting to it. I think that people that are disappointed with the outcome need to remember that we have two years. There are midterm elections that can be crucial in two years.”
Freshman Amy Manchester, who was present at Skolnick’s party, said she refuses to support Trump.
“It was great being able to share this first election experience where I had the chance to vote with all of my friends,” she said. “We were all Hillary supporters, and we helped each other stay positive for as long as possible. Personally, I was very upset with the results of the election and cannot support Donald Trump until he truly makes a change for the better in America.”
Donald Trump will take office Jan. 20, 2017.
Assistant News Editor Grace Elletson contributed reporting to this article.
The Ithacan‘s election live blog is below.