Soto: Trump, one year later

Isabella Soto, Columnist

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Here we are. 367 days later.

A lot of things haven’t changed. For one, President Donald Trump remains in the White House. We’ve seen the rhetoric and violence that elected him rear its ugly head at alarming rates. Brazen celebrations and demonstrations of white supremacy have occurred across the nation, our television screens illuminated by the horrifying flames of Tiki torches in Charlottesville. News outlets and social media platforms continue to struggle with a post-election “fake news” problem. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has been markedly more aggressive in detaining undocumented immigrants. The threat of a nuclear attack seems only a tweet away from becoming reality.

To many, the election felt like a moral loss. Those who voted against Trump, myself included, lowered our heads, resigned. We felt defeated and retreated in fear of what looked like a bleak future. A hopeless autocracy. I by no means want to say we’ve escaped this — a lot can happen in three years. But even after only a year, plenty has happened to resist this dangerous Trumpian tide.

We saw millions of people turn out and march during the post-inauguration Women’s March in cities across the U.S. and abroad. Protesters and pro-bono lawyers flooded airports when Trump’s now-failed travel bans initially took effect. Sit-ins at the Capitol in support of the Affordable Care Act highlighted just how many people depend on it as well as the cruelty of those planning to strip it away. Journalists have done a diligent and impressive job exposing insidious instances of assault perpetrated by gatekeeping men in seemingly-impervious industries. The investigations into the Trump campaign’s ties with Russia seem to be inching closer and closer to the president himself. And if there’s anything that Tuesday’s elections signaled, it’s that pockets of this country are rejecting Trump’s brand of extremist Republican politics.

In Virginia, there was a particularly stunning wave of progressive victories. Ralph Northam came out on top of Republican challenger Ed Gillespie, who was criticized for running racially-charged campaign advertisements that targeted undocumented immigrants and upholding the preservation of confederate statues. Danica Roem unseated incumbent Republican Robert Marshall in the state’s House of Delegates. There’s a sweet sense of justice in knowing Roem — Virginia’s first transgender legislator — defeated the man who introduced the state’s own version of the discriminatory “bathroom bill” and intentionally used male pronouns to refer to Roem in campaign fliers. Lee Carter, a democratic socialist, unseated the GOP Majority Whip Jackson Miller by a comfortable margin of almost 10 points. Also in the House of Delegates, Democrat Chris Hurst, whose girlfriend was shot and killed on live television in 2015, defeated the GOP incumbent, NRA-backed Joseph Yost. And that’s just naming a few of the seats that were filled by Democrats. This momentum has the chance to carry into the 2018 midterm elections, although it seems as though the Democratic Party still has some significant soul-searching and restructuring to do before then.

There are countless unfulfilled promises that are likely to resurface and battles that are far from over: the U.S.-Mexico border wall, Trump’s own series of sexual misconduct allegations, the Affordable Care Act’s existence and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals protections, to name a few. This past year was tough, and the next three will likely be tougher. But 367 days later, we must not sink into the hopelessness and despair that was so easy to do on the morning of Nov. 9. We’re just getting started.

Isabella Soto is a Medill junior. She can be contacted at isabellasoto2019@u.northwestern.edu. If you would like to respond publicly to this column, send a Letter to the Editor to opinion@dailynorthwestern.com. The views expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect the views of all staff members of The Daily Northwestern.

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