United Government, Divided Public Opinion

Anyone who follows American current events is well aware that political parties have become stronger and increasingly more polarized in recent years. In the aftermath of one of the most controversial and unpredictable general election upsets in recent history, the Republicans now have confirmed control of the House, Senate, and White House – this being the first time since 1928. Partisan lines in America are more visible than ever before, with reactions towards a Trump presidency most importantly tied to party lines.

The Republican media appears to be happy with a Clinton loss, but is largely skeptical of the promises Trump made on the campaign trail.

Independent blogger and progressive libertarian Trent Lapinski explains why he thinks Clinton’s presumed corruption led to her loss, writing “The reason Hillary Clinton did not win this election is because she never should have been nominated in the first place,” alluding to the fallout from the Podesta emails.

Lawyer David French wrote a piece for the conservative National Review, detailing his mixed response to the Trump victory: “There is a measure of real justice in America’s rejection of Hillary Clinton […] This election was less about the love of Trump than it was about rejecting the colossal hubris of the progressive establishment. This is a good thing.”

The anonymous contributor “streiff” for the conservative blog Red State echoes the notion of a widespread, public distaste of Hillary Clinton in his article: “Make no mistake about it, Trump’s victory was due as much to loathing of Hillary Clinton as it was to admiration of Donald Trump — the man that America has chosen to lead it is Donald Trump.”

However, both commentators are both critical of Trump’s conservatism and character.

French notes that “Trump is not naturally or intellectually conservative. He is self-interested. It is vital that we unite to strongly and clearly declare that life, liberty and constitutional governance must prevail. I’m under no illusion that conservatism won the White House tonight, but conservatism has a voice.”

“For better or worse, the fate of the GOP is held in his […] hands because if he fails in a spectacular and cataclysmic way, conservatism will be counted among the collateral damage,” streiff asserts. The contributor continues, noting that the Republican party and conservative movement “need[s] to encourage him when he’s right and hit him hard when he’s wrong. […] Ultimately we are all bit players in this drama because Trump will only succeed if he can, like the Grinch, change who he is.”

On the other hand, left-leaning outlets are largely disaffected by a Trump victory and are terrified by the legitimacy a Trump administration could potentially grant to systemic discrimination — especially at a time where racial tensions in the country seem to be at an all-time high.

Editor of New Yorker, David Remnick, voices his frustration with the inevitable pressure the media will put on liberals to accept Donald Trump as their president as well as his drive to question the legitimacy of a Trump presidency in order to ward against fascist policies. He writes, “To combat authoritarianism, to call out lies, to struggle honorably and fiercely in the name of American ideals—that is what is left to do. That is all there is to do.”

Ramnick conveys the genuine fears many American leftists have with a Trump presidency based on the campaign he ran. “There is no reason to believe that Trump is in any mood to govern as Republicans within the traditional boundaries of decency. Trump was not elected on a platform of decency, fairness, moderation, compromise, and the rule of law; he was elected, in the main, on a platform of resentment.

Huffington Post reporter Cristian Farias explains why liberals should be afraid of the legal implications behind a Trump presidency, more specifically how liberal hopes of getting progressive Justices in the Supreme Court are dashed. In the vacancy left by passed Antonin Scalia, Trump will have to appoint at least one Justice to the Court, and on the campaign trail, “Trump even promised that he would appoint only anti-abortion justices who would “automatically” overturn Roe v. Wade.” This is clearly antithetical to many liberal, pro-choice Americans in the country.

Farias continues, noting that “a Trump administration is likely to pull the plug on a range of litigation where the Obama administration has been on the defensive, including challenges to its policies on transgender rights in public schools, the Clean Power Plan, and net neutrality rules. A White House with different priorities can find ways to short-circuit cases before they reach the Supreme Court.” If a Trump administration with an unified government were to effectively implement these policies, it would also clearly cripple the Democratic policy agenda as well as potentially undercut Obama’s legacy in prioritizing race and gender relations.

In an interview with progressive Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman, Executive Director of the Arab American Association of New York Linda Sarsour expresses her resounding disappointment and terror at the prospects of a Trump presidency. “We failed our young people. We failed generations to come,” Sarsour says, “I am appalled that I am sitting right now having to explain to young people across this country, including my own children, why we have a sexist, misogynist, racist Islamophobe in the White House.”

Like Linda Sarsour, many marginalized communities and people of color are afraid of a Trump presidency because to them, Trump largely represents the hatred and discrimination they have to face. These groups have taken to social media websites with the hashtags “not my president” and “still with her.”


Whatever your opinion is on the unexpected rise of a Trump administration, Donald Trump is now tasked with unifying a largely polarized and fractured American society and swaying public opinion to favor him, considering the vitriol he faces on both sides of the political aisle.

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