Student voters discuss Trump win
On Nov. 9, America decided its 45th president: Republican Donald J. Trump.
To many pundits and pollsters, this came as a shock. Democrat Hillary Clinton polled ahead in nearly every major swing state for a majority of the election, and was poised to win the election by a landslide.
To the millennial voters who largely supported Clinton as they went out to vote in their first election, many MSU students said they felt blindsided by the result.
“I’m frustrated first of all," jazz studies senior Joseph Herbst said. "I think that goes without saying. But I think that it’s a clear representation of the faults in our electoral system.”
Herbst said this is the first election he's been eligible to vote in. He blamed the loss on the electoral college system in the US, which he said "doesn't truly reflect the voice of the people." Knowing Trump won the presidency but not the popular vote hurt, he said.
“Seeing that neither of them actually ‘won’ a majority even is kind of disheartening," Herbst said. "To see that only one will win and essentially take over. ... More people wanted her as president, but she’s not our president.”
The first word to come to human biology senior Vanessa Quevedo's mind about the election results was "fearful."
"I know that there’s been a lot of hate going on, from day one,” Quevedo said. “I don’t what’s going to happen here on our campus. I know a lot of people were saying they heard some slurs when they were trying to vote at the MSU Union from the Trump supporters. So, it’s kind of a scary thought. I don’t know what to expect.”
Quevedo was born in America, but she said she fears people won't think so, and she's no longer comfortable walking to class.
“I think it’s become like, now that Trump’s elected, people feel like they can be open about their racism and their prejudice,” Quevedo said. “It’s more OK to say those things. I’m scared that when I’m walking to class people are going to say, ‘Go back to your country. Go back to Mexico.’ Even though I’m not from Mexico.”
Hate crimes have spiked throughout the country since Trump was elected, putting a lot of fear on minority people like Quevedo. Last Thursday, the MSU College Democrats held a rally against "hate, bigotry, racism and sexism at MSU." Thousands of students and Lansing residents attended the rally, and many of those who spoke presented similar sentiments.
Alumna Megan Kastelen volunteers with the Refugee Development Center in Lansing. She said she's worried about the students that she tutors, and she believes a Trump presidency is a threat to them.
"I’m honestly afraid for my students, different students that I tutor," Kastelen said. "I feel like this is crazy, but I would chain myself to them before I let them leave this country. But if they’re in danger, that’s the saddest part to me. We’re supposed to be welcoming people that have lived a really hard life for decades and then this happens. Where they’re kind of in danger again. It really terrifies me.”
Kastelen said she's "ready to fight." But Quevedo said she's afraid, not only now, but for her future. She wants to be a nurse.
"What’s scary about that is that I’m trying to help people, treat patients," Quevedo said. "There’s nothing more discouraging than going into this profession and knowing that there’s people out there who might not want you to be their nurse, or be their doctor."
Herbst said now is not the time to lose hope. He said he hope this election serves as a reminder to millennials to get out and vote, and change the world with every local, state and presidential election.
“We just can't count on the national government to make the change we want to see," Herbst said. "Rather we have to be that change and bring that change about by doing what we can in our own community on the local level and getting involved with politics on all levels, because that’s how change ultimately comes. It's from the bottom up.”