February 7, 2017


By Peter Andreas, Mara Greene, Bailey McGinn, and Alicia Sanchez

In today’s increasingly divided political landscape, it would appear that there is at least one thing about which both liberals and conservatives can agree: it is virtually impossible not to have some opinion on the new President of the United States, Donald J. Trump. This truth is reflected in the student body of Landmark College, where individuals hold a variety of diverse opinions on the new leader of our country’s executive branch.

The relationship between Donald Trump and the diversity of America itself is a concern for some. According to student Jiana Eisenberg, “[T]he fact that [Donald Trump] is against so many people is one reason he shouldn’t be running a country with such a diverse population.”

Numerous national polls and surveys suggest that this is not an entirely uncommon viewpoint. In a pair of Politico/Morning Consult polls conducted last October, a majority of respondents (51% and 54%, respectively) said that they believed Donald Trump was racist. And in three Washington Post/ABC News polls performed from August to September, a consistent 60% of respondents said that Trump was “biased against minorities.”

Here at Landmark, numerous students expressed doubts that Trump was capable of strong leadership. “He doesn’t know what he is doing,” says Joe Viglietti. Many Americans concur with this opinion. In the weeks leading up to the inauguration, numerous surveys conducted by CNN/ORC, ABC News/Washington Post and Monmouth University confirmed that only around 40% or so of Americans approved of Trump’s transition. These numbers were the lowest for any incoming president in 40 years. Polling also revealed strong partisan divisions, with 72% of conservatives offering approval, compared to only 13% of Democrats.

When asked what he felt about the election, one anonymous Landmark student responded, “Relief because Hillary did not win but caution because Donald Trump is insane.” The student also commented on racial divisions in the election, expressing surprise that more African Americans voted Republican in this election than in the previous one.

“As a black feminist having Donald Trump as President is very scary,” counters a different student, who also wishes to remain anonymous. “Donald Trump is now going to undo everything that Barack Obama did to protect us and give us the rights that we actually deserve. He is not my President. I won’t feel safe when I am walking home from wherever I am going day or night.” This view reflects how many voters from both the black and female communities feel toward Trump’s values and beliefs. A poll conducted by the Pew Research Center shortly before the inauguration found that 69% of African American respondents and 62% of female respondents saying they disapproved of the presidential transition, respectively.

Landmark student Jill Feder agrees. “I am not happy about it,” she says. “It’s really making women feel unsafe. Many women are now scared to do things they normally do.” These feelings of concern were echoed in the many Women’s Marches that occurred in cities around the country following the inauguration. According to estimates, between 3.3 and 4.6 million protestors attended, making the March the largest demonstration of its kind in US history.

Other students have expressed have expressed uncertainty regarding changes in government policy. When asked his feelings about the new administration, William Grant does not mince words. “Mixed emotions with a healthy dose of skepticism,” he says, before expressing concern over Trump’s handling of the EPA and his alleged connections to fossil fuel industries. These concerns are shared by many Americans, with 39% wanting a stronger EPA and an additional 22% wanting the agency to stay just as strong under Trump’s administration, according to a Reuters/IPSOS poll released just last month. Among the scientific community, concern over Trump’s handling of research data has resulted in efforts to back up such information on external servers. And following the success of the Women’s March last month, several researchers have begun organizing their own demonstrations, in the form of a “March for Science”, to be held this April. According to those behind the scenes, 40,000 people have already pledged to attend.

Despite the strong opposition many Landmark students appear to feel toward Donald Trump’s administration, not all are willing to condemn him outright. “I think he’s making changes way too fast,” concedes Jenna Pavucek, “However, I do think he has accomplished a lot.” Jeff Marcano is also willing to give Trump a chance, saying “I think it was an interesting change. I am curious about where we are going as a country.”

All the political turmoil and struggles of the election have left some feeling adrift. “I’m real disillusioned with the whole democratic process,” says Joe Viglietti. “I feel like my vote didn’t matter. … I am tired of people complaining about it and trying to blame each other.” This sense of disillusionment is shared by many people across the country. In Gallup polls conducted regularly in the months leading up to the election, clear majorities of adults held unfavorable opinions of both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. On the day of the election, exit polls performed by CNN revealed that a full 18 million Americans cast presidential ballots despite believed that neither candidate was qualified. And according to a survey performed by the Pew Research Center just last month, 82% of Americans expect the US to become more politically divided in the future.

Despite the strength and prevalence of these attitudes, some members of the Landmark community have managed to hold onto their hope for the future. Student Hannah Chase finds strength in her optimistic outlook. “I think we all have to keep our heads up as a country,” she says. “We can get through this, you know? Whoever’s president.”

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