U.S. prepares for Trump presidency

Fears high that hateful rhetoric will become policy

Jule Pattison-Gordon | 11/16/2016, 10:11 a.m.
In the wake of Trump’s election, many are concerned about how a campaign marked by prejudice will translate into governmental ...
Donald Trump speaking at CPAC 2011 in Washington, D.C., Gage Skidmore [https://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/5440990018/]

Donald Trump is president-elect. The news left many reeling and bracing themselves for Trump’s America.

“We’ve woken up to a reality where the most blatantly racist, misogynist xenophobe has won the presidency,” said Elena Letona, executive director of Neighbor to Neighbor Massachusetts, a minority, women and working class activist group. “I stayed up to the very end unable to move. But we have to. We have to pick up the pieces.”

Trump’s policies — many of which are restrictive to the rights of women, Muslims, immigrants and non-whites — may face few barriers, with the White House turned red.

Last Tuesday, Republicans secured a continued majority in federal House and Senate. With the Republican Congress resisting President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court justice nomination, Trump also now is positioned to fill that vacancy, ensuring a five conservative jurist majority. Trump has promised that his selection — and his selections for any further justice vacancies during his term — will be “ultra conservative.”

“Many are very concerned about justices that may be appointed that take a very restrictive approach to reproductive rights, freedom of speech, due process and equal protection rights,” said Rahsaan Hall, director of the Racial Justice Program for the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, speaking on Wednesday.

Hillary Clinton beat Trump in the popular vote. But Trump secured 290 electoral votes to Clinton’s 232, according to the most recent numbers reported by the Associated Press.

Trump’s pull was especially strong among white men without college educations, were he took 70 percent of their vote, reported the BBC. Meanwhile Clinton took 88 percent of the black vote.

Political shift

Several said that Trump’s victory reveals a new political climate.

Sheriff Steve Tompkins said it indicates a major shift from traditional politics and a need to redefine it.

“We as a nation really need to look at our political process and try to understand — particularly elected officials — what people that they govern really want. Are we really listening to what the people are saying or is it just business as usual?” he told the Banner on Wednesday.

“This isn’t a big Republican win,” Mayor Martin Walsh said, noting that many Republicans stood against Trump. “This is a win for people who feel disenfranchised in politics.”

The election indicated voter frustration with both main political parties, Walsh said.


Fear is rippling through a broad swath of the body politic as many anticipate how Trump will act on his explosive comments.

Oren Sellstrom, litigation director for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice, said many in the civil rights community are worried that Trump’s policies will reflect the xenophobia and racism woven through his campaign.

“The question now is how much Trump is going to govern in that spirit. It remains to be seen what his actual policy and practices are going to be,” Sellstrom said last week.

Thus far, those fears have not been assuaged: Several days after Sellstrom’s comments, Trump drew fire from civil rights groups, Democratic leaders and some Republican strategists across the country when he appointed Stephen Bannon as senior counsel and chief strategist. Bannon, until recently the executive chairman of Breitbart news, has been widely accused of being racist, anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim and misogynistic.