Donald Trump. The anti-establishment candidate is now the president-elect, and backlash against his supporters has renewed.
Following the results of the general election on Nov. 8, thousands throughout the country began protesting the outcome that left Hillary Clinton out of the Oval Office. Millions of Americans took to social media to express their sentiments.
David Mejia, a Trump supporter, said he has often received negative comments on his politically driven social-media posts. However, Mejia said this was bound to happen.
According to Facebook’s data, more than 115 million people discussed the election on the social media site on Nov. 8. Twitter reported that more than 75 million tweets were sent out by 3 a.m. on Nov. 9, when Trump’s victory was announced.
“Now that he’s actually president people are just – they’re so mad,” he said. “I don’t think the anti-Trump movement was ever stronger than it is now.”
Mejia has tried to avoid social media over the past week because his friends have gotten into heated arguments online over the results. As a Trump supporter, Mejia says he has been told to “f*ck off” and has been unfriended on Facebook.
Mejia said instead of fighting each other over the unchangeable, both sides should unite.
“Nothing’s going to change. He’s still president-elect,” he said. “People just need to focus on unifying.”
Social-media platforms were not the only outlets people used to voice their outrage against Trump’s 290 electoral vote win. From Los Angeles to Miami, residents young and old, black and white, undocumented immigrants and U.S. citizens, swarmed the streets holding signs reading “NOT MY PRESIDENT” and “BUILD BRIDGES NOT WALLS.”
For Liam McGrath, who said he’s been called a xenophobe by classmates in the past, the protests are a way for people to heal and exercise their right to freedom of speech. He said though he doesn’t understand the goal of the protests post-election, he’s “very sympathetic for all the people that supported Hillary.”
The University of Miami’s Coral Gables campus became the site of an anti-Trump demonstration three days after Election Day. On Nov. 11, nearly 100 students marched around campus chanting “No KKK, no fascists, in USA, no Trump.” Throughout the march students would stop at different sites along the route to speak, sing and recite poetry.
McGrath said he attended the protest but observed from the fringe as his peers denounced his candidate. Initially, McGrath said some students were bothered by his presence because they knew of his political affiliation. He said he was asked to leave until one student protester stood up for him and told the rest of the group to give McGrath a chance to speak.
McGrath said he spoke to the group of protesters for about a minute, telling them he’d “never seen this country so unbelievably divided.” He said seeing his fellow classmates hurting made him sad, but he encouraged them to give Trump supporters a chance.
“Open your heart and give us a chance. Labeling – you can’t put this one label on a whole group of people,” he said. “Really just try to open your heart and try to understand why our views might be a little bit different.”
Clinton won the popular vote by 1,002,049 votes despite losing the presidency. Her defeat came to a shock to many, including her close aides, who had been relying on polls that had projected her ahead of Trump throughout the last few weeks of the campaign despite a renewed investigation by the F.B.I. into her private email server.
Protests and social-media posts have been a driving force between this past week’s anti-Trump rhetoric nationally and locally. In addition, reported personal attacks and incidents of harassment from both political parties have increased since the election.
Ashley Plotkin said although she received negative feedback for supporting Trump before the election, things are worse now that he has won. According to Plotkin, because students thought Clinton was going to win, many paid little attention to vocal Trump supporters.
“It’s been bad on campus. It’s really hard to say that you’re a Trump supporter at this point,” she said. “Now that it’s reality, they’re like ‘Oh, you support Trump? And you voted for him? How could you do that?’ and they take it as an attack on them.”
Plotkin said one of the hardest parts of the election aftermath has been explaining to her Clinton-supporting friends that there’s nothing to fear.
“What I say to them is, ‘Listen, I don’t think you can make a judgment before — he’s not even president yet — and I’m sorry you feel scared. No one should feel scared living in America,’” she said. “This is the greatest country to live in.”
Clinton supporters, particularly minority groups, are ones who have expressed feeling fear with a Trump presidency looming. However, they are not the only ones feeling fear following the election results. With tensions high around the nation, Trump supporters are also feeling fearful of being vocal about their support for a candidate with a low approval rating.
Ben Brotherton, a Trump supporter who has stayed silent while his classmates have called people who back the candidate racist, said he feels fearful outside of campus in light of recent attacks.
In Washington, a 15-year-old boy wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat was attacked by a group of four students at an anti-Trump protest.
Brotherton said that these situations make him nervous about expressing support for Trump. He even said he may have to keep quiet during Thanksgiving break when he goes home to Missouri, as his family is liberal.
“I feel comfortable here but in the nation at large I don’t think I quite as much would,” Brotherton said. “I’m going to go home and not be able to talk about it whatsoever except maybe with my cousin who’s in the Marines.”
There have also been reports of Trump supporters attacking protesters. An anti-Trump protester was assaulted while speaking during a rally at Ohio State University. Trump has recently condemned violent behavior particularly against minorities during a “60-Minutes” interview – his first interview after being elected.
He said “If it helps, I will say this, and I will say right to the cameras: ‘Stop it.’”