Donald Trump Isadora Baum

Where To Go From Here: The 2016 Election

It’s true: the majority of the millennials with whom I speak to, follow on Instagram, and are friends with on Facebook, are pretty disturbed by the results of the election, in which Donald Trump was elected president. Regardless of my personal opinions of either candidate, I witnessed a lot of hatred, and I can definitely empathize, as I, myself, have similar feelings on many issues.

I am not a big political thinker. I don’t enjoy discussing politics in conversation, and I don’t allow myself to get heavily invested in it. However, this year, I was really pushed to care, and I have felt more opinionated, joyful, fearful, disappointed, entertained, and most importantly, confused, than I had ever imagined. I won’t get into political arguments, as I don’t consider myself an expert on these issues; however, I will say that I wasn’t pleased with either candidate, and I wish someone else had run.

How did this happen, and why is there such a backlash against the millennial demographic? I decided to seek advice from Robert Dorfman, Research Fellow at Northwestern Division of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, and we discussed the claim for ignorance, a generalization that many millennials are relying on in justifying the win. I had witnessed much blame attribution to the idea of ignorance among voters, where millennials believe that all Trump supporters are ignorant fools, out to destroy America. Dorfman agreed with me, but added an even more important layer regarding just how powerful and widespread this sentiment of intelligence and worth is and how it may impact future elections.

“Donald Trump’s stunning victory over Hillary Clinton has left the nation in shock, and many are now claiming that this election was decided largely by uneducated, ‘unintelligent’ voters. Some frustrated Americans have even called for mandates requiring citizens take an IQ test before allowing them to vote! Yet is it fair to claim that voters who are not educated are not intelligent? Modern society places high value on test scores and schooling, but how strongly do IQ and other aptitude tests correlate to actual intelligence?” ponders Dorfman.

There are definitely people in the world who are misogynistic, homophobic, cruel, and ignorant. A lot of Trump’s voters fall into that category, of course. However, many don’t. Dorfman and I agree that it’s unfair to make such generalizations, and that an IQ test ignores the social and behavioral factors that come into play regarding decision making, emotion, and trust.

“As Confucious affirms, ‘intelligence is knowing the extent of one’s ignorance.’ It is easy to chastise and blame voters without formal education for being ‘unintelligent’ or ignorant, but this is simply mean and not true. Though aptitude testing is both valid and reliable, intelligence involves more than just IQ scores and college degrees. It consists of other important social and biological components as well. Perhaps Bill Nye the Science Guy was on to something when he said, ‘Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t.’ In the meantime, let’s focus less on finger pointing and more on getting to know one another as Americans. For it is now, more than ever, that our country needs to unite as one,” expresses Dorfman.

Sometimes we are dealt a hand that we can’t get out of. We can’t cheat, give the cards to our dog, or walk away. It’s only a game, but it becomes so much more. In some ways, this election has been a game. I remember watching episodes of Jimmy Fallon, where we’d make fun of Trump’s hair; it was like a joke, as in who would ever actually vote for him? Clearly many people.

I have friends and family who embrace Trump. My gym buddy—the sweetest man in the world—loves him. People, whom I look up to, find incredibly intelligent, kind-hearted, funny, and full of life (a life they deem fair and fit for all mankind), voted for Trump. Some of these people like him. Some of these people just can’t stand Hillary. Some of these people just wanted change. Plain and simple.

Ignorance alone is definitely not the reason for Trump’s nomination, and IQ testing shouldn’t be required. It’s not so clear-cut.”Psychometric intelligence is determined by biological intelligence, and is affected by cultural and environmental factors such as upbringing, education, and socioeconomic status,” says Dorfman, while “social intelligence is the application of biological and psychometric intelligence to problems of everyday life encounters. Experience, motivation, mental disorders, and personality play a role.” These other factors could’ve manifested in leadings to a vote for Trump, intelligence testing aside.

You’re Sick Of Obama

I’m aware that many millennials worship Obama. I think many people voted for Trump because Obama’s presidency appeared inadequate in many ways, and they just wanted something fresh and different. Right now, America’s not working. Whether or not Trump will make America great again, I don’t know. I hope so.

You Don’t Like Hillary

I’d love to have a female president. Most millennials absolutely love Hillary, and social media has been her fan, as opposed to Trump, as well. Most magazines backed Hillary, social media comments offered praise (and still do), and most of these channels produce content bashing Trump and his supporters. Trump may have won people, but Hillary won the press.

Unfortunately, the presidency doesn’t come down to media, but rather people. Many people I know simply voted for Trump because they can’t stand her, while many millennials were saying, #ImWithHer. If a different woman were running, perhaps she would’ve made the cut.

You Believe In Trump

Believing in his character and vision is valid, and many educated people really do. While uncommon among millennials, support among great thinkers and humanitarians exists.

So, where do we go from here?

If Trump’s election means that my gay friends can’t get married, that women are exposed to sexual abuse, and discrimination, that birth control is no longer accessible, that abortion is banned, that immigrants are greeted with cruelty, that children are born into a society that their parents detest, that people go to bed at night, scared that the next day might be their last, then maybe #ImWithHer, or at least #ImWithAnyoneElse.

We’ll never know if Hillary would’ve been a good president for the next four years. We will find out if Trump can surprise us and actually better the world.

There are two options: move to Canada or fight for love, acceptance, growth, and change. Fight for good, regardless if you feel Trump represents evil. I’m going to go for the latter. We can be better than this. The election showed us that there’s a huge divide in America, and we need to band together, so that come next election, we can make a more unified, peaceful, and happy choice. I want us all to walk away next election thinking, “I can’t wait for the next four years.”

Love will trump Trump. Don’t judge others for their choices in this election; America as a country is confused, frustrated, and desperate for change. A friend of mine, a supporter of Hillary, recently posted a photo on Facebook of a plane ride she shared with a man who voted for Trump. They shared in stimulating conversation, drinks, and a headphone set. They found common ground, amidst the hatred, and realized there’s room for newfound appreciation, tolerance, camaraderie and love.

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