After over a year of campaigning, the election has finally come to an end (unless you count the electoral college, which votes in December). In my opinion, Trump’s victory is a genuine shock. I had been betting on Hillary Clinton for nearly a year. This election has been perplexing, unorthodox and frankly disturbing. It has shown the worst side of American politics and leaves millions of Americans unsatisfied with the results. What have we come out of this election with? A man who discusses sexually assaulting women and may in fact partake in it? Do we not deserve better than this? If so, how did we let this happen to ourselves? The answer lies with the continuing discord between the two major parties. Republicans have felt growing rifts within the party for years now, arguably beginning with the Tea Party. The Republican base desired change and someone who symbolized the end of an era. What they got was definitely someone who wanted to change things: a New York businessman known best for plastering his name over everything and saying, “you’re fired!” This may have been what was best for the Republican base, but it’s less clear this is what was best for the country as a whole.
The question remains; would we have been better off with Clinton? Perhaps. At the very least she has experience and connections based on her many years of public service. Our allies like her (especially compared to Donald Trump), and even Trump has admitted she is no quitter. Trump has consistently shown his disdain for the system, detailing how it would be rigged (only if he lost). However, let’s not forget the other candidates out there. Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate, and Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate, ran good races predominantly focused on the issues. These candidates never really had a great chance at winning, but their resolve to run all the same showcases the possibility of a system not driven by only two major parties.
In the end, the U.S. will go on. We’ll all get over the horrendousness that was this election season. The American experiment, one of democracy and justice, may have failed this time. It is up to us to ensure it does not do so again. We have the power to course-correct for the future. We have the power to go back to elections with serious candidates to tackle serious issues. All we have to do is demand better from our public servants and from our neighbors. Our country will survive until 2020, but will we have learned our lesson and be ready? Only time will tell.