Moving forward in the Trump Era

Sean Cleary, Copy Editor

The post-election reaction to Donald Trump’s victory has provided some insight into political discourse in this country, to say the least.

With Trump as president, people should act the same as they should if anyone else was president: advocate for policies they agree with and voice opposition to those they don’t. President-elect Trump may provide plenty of material for people to argue against, but until he actually starts implementing these ideas, it seems a bit premature to be heralding his election as the downfall of America.

Republicans shouldn’t give him free reign to do as he pleases in the nation’s highest office, and Democrats should point out when he errs.

— Sean Cleary

Trump as a candidate was inherently unpredictable. For better or worse, he is clearly not a normal Republican.

While this degree of unpredictability may not be ideal for someone who is now the leader of the country, people should be skeptical of pundits making claims about what he is going to do once in office.

There are certain issues that should give the American people apprehension about Trump’s presidency, but at this point, we should be hopeful that he is adept at his new job. If Donald Trump does well as president, then America will do well.

In the case of Trump, there will no doubt be criticism; it has already begun. Republicans shouldn’t give him free reign to do as he pleases in the nation’s highest office, and Democrats should point out when he errs. This is how public discourse should function, regardless of who is president.

If Trump proves his critics wrong and the country does well under his leadership, that will be a good thing. If he ends up to truly be as awful as some predict, then the American people should vote for new representation. This is how democracy should work.

Personally, I don’t take back any of the things I  said about Trump during the campaign. I have serious concerns with many of the policies he advocated for and the way he conducts himself as a person. However, it’s my hope that he is able to effectively lead the country and that the office of the presidency humbles him. In the areas in which I criticized his campaign, I hope I am proven wrong. Only time will tell.

It has also been interesting to see the backlash against Trump’s supporters by those who opposed him. People have been quick to denounce Trump voters as uneducated, racist or ignorant, among other things.

While some criticisms of Trump certainly have merit, talking down to people, essentially calling them idiots for disagreeing with you, won’t change their minds, regardless of how good your argument is. It’s this sort of smugness that pushed people towards a candidate like Trump in the first place.

Convincing other people of a certain viewpoint, political or otherwise, involves actually listening to their concerns and addressing them, not just belittling them. This sort of attentive dialogue needs to go both ways across the political spectrum but is seriously lacking during election year rhetoric.

Trump will be our next president, like it or not. Making sweeping and condescending generalizations of Trump voters is not going to be useful, but trying to understand why he won and addressing those concerns is important and necessary work. As Woodrow Wilson said: “We must neither run with the crowd nor deride it but seek sober counsel for it and for ourselves.”

Sean Cleary is a  copy editor  for  The Dakota Student. He can be reached at  [email protected]