On November 9th 2016, a day of serious reflection was followed by a night of unified action. People around the country took to the streets to protest Donald Trump and his impending Republican reign of hate. In New York City, thousands walked from Union Square to Trump Tower on 59th street and Park, effectively shutting down traffic on numerous blocks in between. Protestors were motivated by anger, sadness, and disbelief but also by the determination. Liberal apathy no more! On the Manhattan streets the air was electric with shouts.
Chats from the crowd included, “Fuck Trump”, “Not my president”, “The people united will never be defeated”, “Whose Streets? Our Streets!”, “Love Trumps Hate” “My body, my choice!”, “Her body, her choice!,” “Black Lives Matter”, “Muslim Lives Matter”, “Gay Lives Matter”, “Trans Lives Matter”, “We are the popular vote!”, “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Donald Trump has got to go”, “Donald Trump, go away! Racist, sexist, anti-gay!”, “Pussy Grabs Back”.
The sheer amount of phrases heard on the streets proved that this is an election that deeply affects a multitude of communities within the United States and beyond. However the two unifying messages that rang out the loudest were “Not My President” and “We are The popular vote.” Our convoluted and broken voting system is the imminent issue right now. The electoral college, a system originally thought up because our founding fathers wanted to make sure small populations were fairly represented and because they doubted the intelligence of the public, is not longer an effective relayer of true democracy. Hillary Clinton won the popular vote with 59,938,290 votes but she only captured 228 electoral votes out of a necessary 270, showing a dramatic discrepancy between the popular vote and that of the electoral college. Donald Trump captured 59,704,886 votes but went onto win the presidency with 279 electoral college votes.
So why didn’t Hillary Clinton’s success with the popular vote translate into a presidency? It all comes down to the way the electoral college functions: a vote at the ballot box is not a direct vote for the presidential candidate of your choice. It is a vote that effects the way each state’s electoral college casts their vote. Electors are chosen by political parties in each state. So if a democratic presidential candidate wins the popular in New York, then the electors that New York’s Democratic Party has chosen will cast their votes for the democratic candidate. So how can a presidential nominee who wins the popular vote not win the electoral college? It boils down to location, location, location. In every state, except for Maine and Nebraska, it’s a winner-takes-all system so whichever party has the electoral lead in a state gets all of the official votes. This is a key factor in how things play out in American presidential elections and why results often hinge on states with a large amount of electoral college votes, such as Florida which has 29 electoral college votes and was the deciding factor in the 2000 election when Al Gore won the popular vote but failed to capture the presidency. Hillary Clinton captured the majority of votes in concentrated metropolitan areas but Trump supporters were more evenly spread in small towns and rural areas throughout the country so he ended up with more states, more electoral college votes.
The mass protests around the country indicate that unlike the 2000 election, people are not willing to simply roll over and accept the results. The devastating results of this election reflect that our political system is in fact broken. Everyone who values human rights must band together to try and fix it. Yes, Donald Trump was able to mobilize previously disenfranchised masses of white working class citizens in many areas but the popular vote indicates that this demographic failed to outnumber Clinton supporters. George Bush should not have been our president in 2000 and Donald W. Trump should not be our president now. The electoral college is a tired and outdated system (Trump himself condemned it in 2012) that should not still be in use, but, there may still be a last glimmer of hope in overturning the election result. Electoral college voters do not officially cast their ballots until December 19th and while they are supposed to cast their ballots to reflect the popular vote, rebel electors who cast a ballot opposite of the popular vote, are known to exist. They usually don’t affect the election’s final outcome and not many instances of these “faithless electors” have been recorded in modern day politics, until now. While being a faithless elector is looked down upon there are no official legal implications in casting a rebel electoral ballot and in most states the practice warrants just a small fine. Some clever Clinton supporters have decided to try use this practice to overturn the election results. Several petitions are now circulating that urge the remaining electoral college members to cast their votes in accordance to the popular vote, in effect shirking the winner-takes-all rule. See them here and here.
It’s a long shot but if enough electoral college members were to cast opposite votes they could change the course of the election. If that doesn’t work and Donald Trump does indeed become the 45th President of The United States, we must continue to fight against his rhetoric of hate and the policy reforms that will indubitably undo humans rights as we know them. As Oscar-winniner actress, Jennifer Lawrence, said in an open letter earlier today:
“Do not let this defeat you — let this enrage you! Let it motivate you! Let this be the fire you didn’t have before. If you are an immigrant, if you are a person of color, if you are LGBTQ+, if you are a woman — don’t be afraid, be loud!” -Jennifer Lawrence
By any means possible we must continue to be loud and to unify in our opposition to a political system that could put such a terrible figure in power. See below for protests and rallies in NYC and stay tuned for additional events.
Video footage of NYC protests November 9, 2016 – Video by Indira Cesarine for The Untitled Magazine
NYU Teach-in On What Donald Trump Presidency Means for the Country and World
Where: 53 Washington Square South, in the auditorium of the King Juan Carlos Building, Greenwich Village
When: Thursday, Nov. 10, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Diversity Trumps Hate
A gathering in support of diversity, inclusion, and community – with the hope of raising our collective voice in support of our dream of a better nation.
Where: Diversity Plaza in Jackson Heights
When: Friday, Nov. 11, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
More info here.
Love Rally in Washington Square Park
An event to express support and solidarity for women, Muslims, minority groups, the LGBQT community, and others impacted by Donald Trump’s hateful rhetoric.
Where: Washington Square Park
When: Friday, Nov. 11, 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.
More info here.
Where: Union Square
When: Saturday, Nov. 12, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
More info here.
Photos and video by Indira Cesarine for The Untitled Magazine unless otherwise noted
Article by Jasmine Williams for The Untitled Magazine