#notmypresident sweeps country in weekend of protests

Early Wednesday morning, many people became anxious as they saw the televised map of America slowly taken over by red, one swing state after another flipping for Trump. Students chewed their nails and downed their drinks. So many voters, we would later find out, cast a ballot for the candidate they believed to be the “lesser of two evils”, the one who could do the least damage, the one they could tolerate.

Turns out, Americans will tolerate quite a lot.

Donald J. Trump was elected as the 45th president of the United States early Wednesday morning, and many people are not accepting that result. Tens of thousands across the country are protesting Trump’s victory. Right in Charleston, a crowd of protestors marched through downtown on Saturday.

They are angry about the results of Tuesday’s election, which showed that Trump lost the popular vote, but he gained enough votes in the 538-strong Electoral College to win the presidency. And the protestors are angry about the policies Trump has proudly promised to enforce, including controversial immigration reforms, environmental issues and LGBT rights.

On Thursday afternoon in New York City, a throng of protestors marched outside Trump Tower. More than 200 others marched from the Union Square area to Washington Square Park in Manhattan, chanting “Trump and Pence make no sense” and carrying signs with the epithet “White men ruin everything.”

Overnight, about 5,000 people protested Trump’s victory, demonstrating outside several of his properties.

While most anti-Trump protestors were peaceful and only wanted their opinions heard, some were “marred by violence,” as CNN Wire writes. Several major highways were blocked due to large-scale demonstrations in cities such as Los Angeles, where objectors chanted “Not my president” and held signs announcing “Minorities Matter” and “Dump Trump.” In Portland, Oregon, reports are even more grim. Windows of businesses were broken, a car dealership was vandalized, police made 26 arrests and a man was shot Saturday morning during a protest march.

Dr. Gibbs Knotts, professor and Department Chair of Political Science, believes that no matter what the outcome of the election would have been, protests were inevitable.

He leaned back in his chair and crossed his arms, a knowing smile on his face. “Our democracy depends on the opposition speaking out when they think they need to speak out. Hopefully it keeps the majority party on their toes.”

According to the New York Times, Trump “won the election by consolidating support from white voters and making unexpected gains with minority groups.” While African-Americans, Hispanics and Asian-Americans immensely backed Clinton, their turnout for her was significantly less than their support for Obama four years ago.

Several U.S. civil rights groups such as CAIR (the Council on American-Islamic Relations) have reported racist graffiti, bullying of children and attacks of women wearing Islamic head scarves.

These groups have called on Trump to condemn the attacks. The president-elect addressed the protests by Tweeting somewhat contradictory remarks.

Protests against Trump’s victory have been underway for more than five nights and more demonstrations are expected. Arguably more important than the division between the Republican and Democratic parties, however, is the division within them.

According to Dr. Knotts, the discrepancies among Democrats are a bigger problem than those among Republicans. Knotts attests that Democrats have “got to decide what’s the future direction for their party. It should be a good year for Democrats, especially in the House, in 2018. Clinton was so much old-guard, tied to her husband who was more moderate. I think that for Clinton, this election was her last chance. It creates an opportunity for new leaders. Sanders could certainly run again, but perhaps a new leader will emerge that’s more progressive.”

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Emily Warner is a freshman English major with a minor in Communication. Born and raised in Greenwood, South Carolina, Emily loves having the opportunity to call Charleston her new home and is excited to see where this part of her journey will take her. Emily is an active member of the sorority Kappa Alpha Theta, where she has made lifelong friends and has enjoyed participating in several philanthropic opportunities and countless fun experiences. Emily loves to go on adventures here in Charleston, exploring this beautiful city and making the most out of what it has to offer. She also loves traveling, and hopes to study abroad in the near future. A lover of all things English and literature, Emily’s dream is to become a journalist or writer, where she can immerse herself in doing what she loves.

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