“I can move to Canada if Trump wins the election” said my New Yorker friend to me before the election. She was laughing because she never would have guessed Donald Trump’s victory. But he won. Like my New Yorker friend, many Democrats were disappointed by the election results. When I asked her how she felt after the election, she just sent me a single word: “Depressed.”
I guess the word “depressed” really explains the feelings of many Democrats in the USA nowadays.
It is a stunning experience for me personally to witness the election in New York. I had a chance to observe Americans’ reactions to the election’s results. But I should confess that I would never believe Trump’s victory and I did not expect that the election would cause some psychological impact on Democratic Party supporters such as depression, disappointment, and frustration. Thousands took to the streets in major cities, including New York City, to protest Republican Trump’s presidential election win.
Fifth Avenue is one of the best know streets in the city and considered one of the best shopping districts in the world. However, the streets were filled by thousands of people protesting Trump’s Presidency instead of tourists shopping and spending money.
Most protesters are young and their ages vary between 15 and 30. Brendon, a 23 year-old protester, carries a sign that says: “I reject Presidential Election.” He explained to me why he rejected the presidential election with this explanation: “I reject the presidential election because Hillary won the popular vote. Also, Trump cannot represent my country which includes refuges, immigrants, people of color, gay people, and trans people.”
“I don’t hate Trump voters but I think they need to think about what they are doing and they should be more careful about the U.S’ future,” he added on Trump’s voters. He was really sad in the election night like other Democrats: “I cried a lot with my family after the election, my gay brother from Colorado cried with us on the phone. Overall I tend to be optimist, I am pessimistic now, unfortunately. It is not hard to be afraid, it is really difficult.”
Emma is a 24 year-old, New Yorker workings in the city, who holds her sign saying “Trump is a Demagogue.’’ According to Emma, Trump is a greedy businessman, an awful example for the country, not a typical politician, and appealed to people who mostly don’t have knowledge. She worries about the country.
Lindsay,15, is among the youngest people leading the crowd during the protests. “I don’t want to live in a country which will be run by a openly racist, homophobic and hateful president,” said Lindsay. Lindsay’s family supports her protests against Trump in the streets, and believe that people should be in solidarity nowadays against discrimination.
New York City Hillary supporters’ — including my friends — reactions to the election reminded me of some events in Turkish politics. My home city, Izmir, is known as the most secular city of Turkey. It is usually called a bastion of the center-left Republican People’s Party, which represents a strong and authoritarian secularism. Over the last decade, the AKP, a conservative-democrat center-right party, has dominated Turkish politics and won every general election since 2002. It is safe to say that CHP voters’ feelings in Izmir after general elections are similar to the New York Democrat voters’ feelings after Donald Trump’s victory. Most CHP voters from Izmir, including my Kemalist friends, felt depressed and hopeless when the AK Party won every election since 2002. I also remember that many CHP voters cried and felt frustrated in the election night — especially in the 2007 election, which many secularist people believed that AKP should have not come to power anymore because of the impacts of mass rallies (called Republic protests) in Turkey’s major cities- — like my Democrat acquaintances in New York after the presidential election.
My Kemalist friends feel hopeless over Turkey’s future and my New Yorker Democrat friends also feel hopeless over the U.S’ future. I should say that such a resemblance over political behaviors and reactions between Turkish society and American society surprises me. I wonder how my Democrat friends will live under a Trump presidency in the future while my Kemalist friends have became Erdogan-obsessed people in the Turkey.