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W-L Democrats react to a Trump presidency

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Demonstrators in DC march to protest the election of president-elect Donald Trump.

Demonstrators in DC march to protest the election of president-elect Donald Trump.

Demonstrators in DC march to protest the election of president-elect Donald Trump.

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Donald Trump’s historic upset against Hillary Clinton in the recent presidential election created backlash across the country, spawning protests and demonstrations against the president-elect. Northern Virginia is no exception to this adverse reaction: while the commonwealth mostly voted Republican, the large liberal population in counties like Arlington, Fairfax and Loudoun tipped the state in favor of Clinton, winning the candidate 13 electoral votes.

Senior Mira Soni is the president of the Young Democrats, a club whose members had been campaigning for the democratic candidate. “The outcome of the election surprised a lot of people,” she said. “Having spent the last three months working on the campaign, it was heartbreaking.”

Many have seen the election as a turning point in American politics. “Our president-elect is a man who has been endorsed by the largest hate group in the country,” Soni said. “He is in the middle of multiple lawsuits, has been accused over ten times of sexual assault, and has made comments about women and people of color that are dehumanizing.”

Emma Vogel is a senior who reacted in the same way. “During the election I was feeling confident,” she said. “Hillary had won the popular vote and we were pretty sure she was going to be our president-elect.” The upset struck a chord among many of the school’s Clinton supporting students. “Morale was pretty low on Wednesday,” Vogel said, commenting on the day after the election.

In response to this, a group of seniors created chalk art along the Stafford Street bridge over the interstate, as well as in the parking lots beside the school. The chalk art consisted of quotes and designs to empower those who have been affected by Donald Trump’s rhetoric. Many students also protested in the district outside of the White House and the Old Post Office Building where the Trump International Hotel is located.

Emma Vogel participated in one of these protests. “In theory [the purpose of the protests] is to make a change,” she said, “ideally a change in our future president or maybe a change in our president-elect’s platform.” Vogel doesn’t know if there will be a significant change, however, as a result of these protests. “Trump is already backpedaling on a lot of the things he promised to do,” she said, “but I don’t think we will be seeing the kind of change minorities and non-Trump supporters wanted to see.”

Soni is still surprised at the Clinton loss, but going into the election she knew it was a possibility. “Living in Arlington gives you a very warped sense of reality,” she said. “There are a lot of people who do not feel that the government and the economy are working for them, and Trump’s populist movement…provided hope for those people.”

She is also unsure what to expect from a Trump presidency. “If he follows through on the vague plans he’s made, it will be disastrous,” she said. “We, as Democrats, have a lot of work to do. Now is not the time for us to give up. Now, more than ever, we have to work together.”

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The student newspaper of Washington-Lee High School
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