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The 2016 presidential election exposed deep division over race, ethnicity, and culture in America. The country was split into two functions, generally equal in size but different in desires and demographics. People in Rust Belt and rural areas of America who felt ignored and left out by the policies of the previous regime of economic prosperity and progress, felt for once more that they had a representative. However, millions of minorities, young generation and women in urban areas with high ethnic concentration went into mourning and took it further by staging protests which were driven by fear and frustration in a country where they felt having a Trump President is equivalent to entering a dark and divisive era.
The primary separation of the two groups is rural-urban divide which would be interpreted as race and identity divide. Rural America is mainly white while urban America is very diverse and cosmopolitan. One major exception to this election as compared to others is the fact that white youths without the college education voted as a bloc for Republicans. On the other hand blacks, Latinos and Asians voted for Democrats. White college graduates were equally divided with male supporting Republicans and female supporting Democrats. The divisions in this election were much more about race, culture, and identity.
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Although race has always been a factor in American elections it has rarely been so open and being fronted in political campaigns. This presidential election brought about the deep divisions that have lived in the USA since 16th century, that is, white supremacy. Trump is the first member of modern Republican to win a nomination on racial prejudice basis. This portrays the divisions that were created then by white settlers, who segregated themselves from the blacks and Indians are still very live today. The whites, who viewed themselves as a superior race, dominated and oppressed other cultures and used them as slaves in their farms (Iceland, 54). This image has never been erased in minds of Indians and blacks. This was demonstrated after the Trump win, Blacks, Latinos and Indians staged major demonstration across the country for the fear that major gains that had been made to bring equality to all races could be lost.
Another divisive aspect of 2016 election was by education. The American system bears a lot of inequalities that stand in the way of low-income students in all races (Gorski 112). Only a small percentage of the masses get to advance their education to college level. The portion of the population left out by the system tends to blame the regime of the day. It was very evident in the election in that the voting patterns of 2016 polls showed that a large population of young people who didn’t have college education voted as a bloc against the former regime. According to some analysts, lack of sufficient training provides uniformity in the way people reason hence most of these uneducated youths voting as a block.
Their argument is strengthened by the fact that educated youths were equally divided between both candidates. People live in many types of illusions. One such fantasy is that people are always afraid of what they think they know about others. Our ideas about what we don’t know create great fear in us. This concept was very live in just concluded elections. Many of the democrat supporters had a huge fear about the Republican candidate. To start with the candidate was a stranger in politics and during Republican nominations; Trump was unwanted even within Republican circles. Since he was a stranger to their world, they feared what they imagined he would become if he won.
During campaigns, the same fear engulfed the Democrats because Trump, a business mogul in the entertainment world, his presence in real politics world instilled fear about what he would do if elected. The fact that he attracted racist supporters made the blacks, Latinos, and Asians very uncomfortable. It is because historically this group of citizens has been marginalized, abused and enslaved (Bush and Melanie 87). It created bad imaginations of where the Trump presidency was going to take the nation of America and thus the reason why they voted overwhelmingly against him.
Whiteness, being socially and politically constructed was very present in this election (Gorski, 76). Trump was a representative of the wealth and mighty in the business world. He represented the businessmen who own and controls the economy at large; Persons who live a first class lifestyle. On the other hand, we had Clinton who represented who-is-who in political circles. Having been in national politics for a long-term, her whiteness represented the mighty in the political world. This election, therefore, came out as a competition between whites meaning the primary motive was the protection of whites interested whether in the business world or political world (Gorski, 76).
The 2016 presidential elections proved to be very divisive, and authors would not be exempted from the influence. I would expect some authors to agree with the issues of whiteness and marginalization while others would disagree. All in all, depending on the author’s argument, the issues could be argued either way.
- Bush, Melanie E. L, and Melanie E. L. Bush. Everyday Forms of Whiteness: Understanding Race in a “post-Racial” World. Lanham, Md: Rowman & Littlefield, 2011.
- Gorski, Paul. Reaching and Teaching Students in Poverty: Strategies for Erasing the Opportunity Gap. , 2013. Print.
- Iceland, John. Race and Ethnicity in America. Oakland, California: University of California Press, 2017. Print.
- Johnson, Allan. Privilege Power and Difference + Connect Access Card. S.l.: McGraw-Hill Education, 2016. Print.