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Final Vote 2016 panels focuses on concerns over election results

Students asked what could happen after Tuesday’s historic election.

Michael Garcia, Staff Writer

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The Anatol Center held about 200 students and faculty to process the election results for the conclusion of the Vote 2016 panels.

Daniel O’Connor, interim associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts, moderated the panel while journalism professors Christopher Burnett and Teresa Puente, Africana studies professor Maulana Karenga and communications professor Jose Rodriguez took questions from the audience.

“Could a male democratic candidate have won the presidency? How were polls so far off on predicting elections results? What effects did third party candidates have on this election?” These were just some of the questions students asked.

“Misogyny and sexism is real,” Puente said. “Sexual harassment is real. Some people were [not voting for Trump but] voting against a woman.”

She said that even though the country is divided, it is still a democracy and people still have a voice.

“Polls underestimated the surge of voter turnout in the more rural areas that typically do not turn out in the margins that they did,” Burnett said.

Puente explained how Latino people made up 11 percent of the vote, which was up one percent from the last election. But people that chose not to vote at all had the biggest impact on this election.

“Democrats didn’t come out to vote,” said Kyle Bourne, a master’s student in legal studies. “I think it was either people that didn’t want to vote or people that voted for a third party that led to a Trump victory.”

Karenga said that third party candidates are important for voters who want another choice and that these candidates have the right to run, even if their inclusion on the ballot comes with consequences.

“Jill Stein took some votes from Clinton and Gary Johnson drove votes away from Trump,” Burnett said. “Overall, I don’t think the third parties made a huge difference.”

French major Joanna Tatro said she was pleasantly surprised to see the large turnout for the panel and that people were energized.

“I appreciated Professor Karenga’s insight,” she said. “He said it was all about resistance and I think that was one of the most important words we heard tonight.”

Concerns among audience members included civil rights and what kind of damage could be done to LGBT rights with a Republican president, House and Senate. Another concern was President Trump’s war powers and if it was possible to limit them.

Rodriguez said the appointing of conservative Supreme Court justices would be the bigger issue to consider and would determine whether there would be policy changes that would affect the LGBT community

Graduate Spanish student Hope Davies said she was completely disheartened by the election results.  

“I think it’s a big insult to the people in the country [who] are minorities, trans or people [who] are victims of sexual assault.”

Burnett encouraged students to remember the Vietnam War, where public opinion had a huge effect on the withdrawal of U.S. troops.

Puente urged people not to take everything they see on Facebook as fact and was skeptical over media coverage of both candidates.

“We need fact-based reporting, and we need journalists now more than ever,” Puente said. “Cable news did an awful job covering these elections. What was so bad about Clinton’s e-mails? Where was the smoking gun?”

Tatro said it is important for students to become more engaged politically and stay informed after this election’s results.

“We need to put our iPhones down and stay involved and educated in this post-factual world,” she said. “We need to make sure the information we’re getting is real information.”

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