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Students React to the Presidential Election

    By Marc Peraino. November 11, 2016 - 1:18 pm

Adrian Ma, 18, Mass Communications Major.

Adrian Ma, 18, Mass Communications Major.

After a surprising win by Donald Trump in the 2016 Presidential Election, the Kalamalama took to Fort Street Mall to gather the reactions of various students at Hawaii Pacific University. Here’s how some of them felt about the results of this election:

Konstantin Zaslavskii, 19, a TESOL student from Moscow, Russia, said:

“Even though I’m not eligible to vote because I’m not a US citizen, I would cast my vote for the Green Party. Jill Stein is somebody that represents the ideals that I believe in, but as it was not available for me, I was just watching and hoping that the Democratic Party would win, which unfortunately did not happen. I’m not as upset about it as the people who can actually vote, but I feel for them and stand with them in their despair.”

Josef Gruber, 21, an Applied Linguistics major, said that he was a little alarmed that the new president is someone who has been accused of sexual misconduct.

“I don’t think that’s the kind of person I want to be validated,” said Gruber.

Gruber also feels that these election results give justification to misogyny, bigotry, and various forms of hate.

“I’m a little depressed that my fellow countrymen are so willing to dismiss a women based on the fact that she is a woman,” he said.

Aalaya Wheeler, 21, majoring in Social Work, was initially upset with Hillary Clinton for conceding and afterwards was upset with the country as a whole.

“With Trump being president, we’re kind of taking a step back given his sentiments that he’s had towards immigration, towards individuals in general, the way he feels about women, how he expresses that, just a combination of things. All of that just made me a little infuriated.”

Elizaveta Shulga, 20, a TESOL major from Samara, Russia, had a different point of view about the election of Trump. In the beginning, Shulga was certain Trump would win, but after some of the more recent revelations about him, she felt less confident. Nevertheless, with Trump’s win, Shulga expressed optimism.

“I’m Russian and it’s important for us to get a good relationship with the United States and it would be quite impossible if Hillary became president because her rhetoric was really sharp and hot, but we don’t know what to expect from Donald Trump,” she said.

Shulga is hopeful that Trump will be able to foster a relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin that would be beneficial to both the United States and Russia.

And on a more neutral note, Fredrik Lindén, 41, of Stockholm, Sweden, who holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and is studying at HPU for one semester, offered his take on the results.

“I’m surprised,” he said. “I’m not surprised by the election results in Congress, the Senate, and the House of Representatives. The polls showed that would remain Republican. I’m surprised that Hillary didn’t win the election because the polls showed that before. I think this was actually like a Brexit effect.

“In Europe we didn’t expect that. The institutes have to look at themselves and see what is wrong with the polls right now. I’m not surprised though because America has been so polarized in the last decades. Maybe there will come a debate about the election system in the U.S., too, because, as I know, at least one third of voters are moderate or independent and they don’t support either Democrat or Republican parties.”

Lindén agrees that this was an historic presidential election.

“But I guess you always say that, in one way or another,” he added. “But this was also a media election. Even if the media didn’t support Trump, he knew how to use the media. He had these very, very good sound bytes. I think this was an election about elites or, you could say, the popular movement or anti-elites.”

Lindén scoffed at the comparison that has been made between Trump and fascist dictators like Hitler.

“I wouldn’t agree with that. To compare somebody with Hitler, that is… No, I wouldn’t do that.”

Lindén doesn’t agree with the way Trump has spoken about minority groups, but he also pointed out that we have the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and checks and balances within the American government.

Perhaps the most encouraging message of all though came from Adrian Ma, 18, a Mass Communications major. Ma walked down Fort Street Mall on Wednesday carrying a whiteboard that advertised non-partisan hugs to help students get through the day, regardless of how they voted.

Photo by Marc Peraino/Kalamalama News Editor

One Response to Students React to the Presidential Election

  1. Judy

    November 17, 2016 at 12:43 pm

    I like that: “Non-Partisan Hugs”. Interesting to read the different views of the foreign students.