Students give their take on the stunning conclusion to the presidential election

Results do little to allay concerns regarding the growing political divide


Republican nominee Donald Trump, center, wins the electoral vote and the presidency, causing UW-Eau Claire students to ponder the future of this nation. (Submitted)

Story by Sadie Sadlmayr, Staff Writer

After securing more than 270 electoral votes at 2:30 a.m., Donald J. Trump will be the 45th president of the United States, marking the first time the president-elect does not have any prior political or military affiliation.

Trump’s victory over democratic nominee Hillary Clinton highlighted a divide in America, exemplified by a razor-thin voting margin between his supporters and his detractors in what has been a tumultuous election.

For journalism and geography student Max Harding, relief the election is over outweighed his feelings about the result.

“I’m just glad it’s over, especially with this election,” Harding said. “There’s been a lot of hatred, anger, and plain nastiness, so for lack of a better word, that has undergone on both sides and it’s going to be a long road for the country to recover from this much of a division.”

This election served to polarize the populace on a level we haven’t seen in years, Harding said, a phenomenon he doesn’t believe has occurred since the 1968 election. In his lifetime, he’s never seen the country so divided on an election.

Harding also said he hopes all the negativity and hostility this election present in all sides can be resolved.

“I don’t want to see this sort of division happen every four years because all it can do is get worse every year,” Harding said.

It didn’t matter who gets elected in the end, Harding said, but he hopes there can be serious reevaluation of the two-party system or how we conduct the government election process.

Junior public history student Kendra Polzin said there’s been a lot of bullying and fixation on small issues, distracting voters from what should be the areas of focus.

“I care more about what policies you believe in and I do care about character very much,” Polzin said. “I’m not just going to vote for one person because I don’t like the other person.”

Kris Knutson, a professor of communications and journalism, said she feels this election was overwhelmingly negative. She said a civil discussion between the candidates regarding how they wanted to help people and solve problems at a national level would have been more constructive for the nation.

“I was a little bit disappointed when we watched debates,” she said, “and that more time was spent attacking one another versus presenting us with the fully formed plans that people have.”

Knutson said candidates for president of the United States should have fully formed plans on what they intend to do and what the actual consequences of those plans will be.

All this aside, Knutson said, she hopes the president-elect has a Congress that is willing to work with him.