J. Conrad Williams Jr./Newsday/TNS
Businessman and former reality TV star Donald J. Trump will become the 45th president of the United States after winning the election Tuesday, Nov. 8.
Trump won the majority of electoral votes, 306 to Hillary Clinton’s 232. While he won the electoral vote, he lost the popular vote to Clinton, who surpassed him with more than 2 million individual votes.
“The electoral college was created during a time when access to information was limited, and the founding fathers wanted to safeguard the election process from ill-informed voters,” history teacher John Pouchot said. “Today however, information travels at the speed of Twitter, thus allowing voters to make well informed decisions concerning the politics of our country. It would not surprise me if we see this “safeguard” repealed during our lifetime; therefore, allowing every vote from every well informed voter to truly matter.”
Initial reactions to the results were mixed.
“People forget about the separation of powers and that the president isn’t the only one in charge,” Civic’s teacher Brain Emery said. “The people are overlooking the fact that the legislative branch and judicial branch set limits on what the president can do.”
After his win, Trump began making important decisions and choosing individuals for his cabinet. So what can the country expect from him? Based on his campaign policies and latest appointments: tight borders, aggressive military action, lower taxes and major foreign policy changes.
In addition to a new head of state, all previous advisors, secretaries and staff working under the Obama administration are being replaced.
Some of his latest appointments include former Goldman Sachs executive Steven Mnuchin as Treasury Secretary, former chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley as the Ambassador to the United Nations, Neurosurgeon and former presidential candidate Ben Carson as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and lastly, Alabama senator Jeff Sessions as Attorney General.
Many of these positions have been confirmed by Trump, but some are just current speculations. There are still positions that haven’t been talked about, but rumors are circulating.
“I believe that the people Trump has appointed are both good and bad for the future of our [country],” senior Devon Hollins said. “It seems the best choices so far are only a select few from President Obama’s cabinet, but I feel that Mitt Romney [if selected] could do a nice job on the conservative side.”
Congress has yet to approve any of Trump’s appointments, but the following don’t need to be approved and have been confirmed by Trump: former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency Michael Flynn as National Security Advisor, RNC chairman Reince Priebus as the White House Chief of Staff and right-wing media mogul Stephan Bannon as Trump’s Chief Strategist.
“I’m very excited about [Trump’s] upcoming term,” senior Mabel Hathaway said. “There’s going to be a lot of good changes.”
Despite significant backlash to the win, plans to have an effective change of administration began immediately. As the Trump Campaign turned into the Trump Administration, the man himself began planning TV appearances and press statements to address his victory in the biggest race in the United States.
Despite their differences, Trump and current President Barack Obama met to discuss the upcoming transition. The two spoke of working together for a smooth transition of power, but shied away from discussion on policy. As promised in February of 2015, Trump remains flexible on his controversial policies; but like any politician, Trump has to make minor changes to some.
On a major foundation of his campaign, the border wall financed by Mexico, Trump mentioned that he would be okay with a fence “in some areas.” Trump also recently hinted at mass incarcerations and stock in the two largest privately owned prisons in the U.S. jumped significantly after his election.
“I think it’s ridiculous that he said he was going to do a lot of things just to get more votes,” freshman Ella Corbett said. “He shouldn’t lie to win.”
Some would argue that President Obama may have pushed the Bush administration’s “war on terror” under the rug to make room for other important issues, but expect it to make a strong comeback. Trump is promising to freeze immigration and fight the ISIS/ISIL terrorist organization with an iron fist, threatening to either “bomb” or “take the oil” from the radical group.
“ISIS members are everywhere, they are not just in one area,” senior Gracie Deichler said. “[ISIS has] used the internet to reach out to other people in other countries. If Trump plans on bombing them or taking crucial resources away from them, he’d be hurting American alliances as well as the innocent people.”
On issues back home, Trump plans to leave the Social Security program as is, but his plans to dramatically cut taxes may be a contradictory factor to the idea; the tax relief the 1 percent will receive will be greater than that of the bottom 60 percent of Americans combined.
He has taken a strong stance against the North American Free Trade Agreement and Trans-Pacific Partnership, promising to pull the U.S. out immediately. Trump has high hopes that this will bring jobs back to America, but that may not be the case as the balance works in both directions and the negotiations to leave the Partnership would be long and trying.
“I think [the TPP] hurts American workers and overall, hurts our country,” sophomore Logan Marshall said. “I hope Trump can help America by either repealing or replacing it.”
Alan Wolff, a former U.S. deputy trade representative says that “countries like Canada and Mexico would have a list of things they’d want from the United States.” Trump also plans to repeal Obamacare and replace it with something similar to a market-based program.
Including those issues, negotiations with Iran, rising tensions in the South China Sea and significant backlash, the President-elect will have a lot to deal with come Inauguration Day. Many Americans are hesitant to accept the results of the election, but they are what they are – they cannot be disputed or changed. This election should be a signal to all, Republicans and Democrats alike, that now is the time to get involved and engage with representatives at the local and state level. Now is the time to vote, volunteer and work toward the preservation of liberty. Now, more than ever before.