St. Olaf Institute for Freedom and Community

St. Olaf College

Oles on the Election

I Can’t Even Feel Vindicated

By Fiona Carson October 10, 2016

Originally published on the Star Tribune Blog.

No doubt you have heard of the horrifying Trump video, where he brags about his celebrity status allowing him to be able to grope women. This video would cause many GOP big shots to rescind their endorsement and could ultimately spell the end of his campaign. I honestly never thought I would see a comment that would bring Trump down. But here we are. I always imagined I would be vindicated the day the Trump campaign finally crumbled. However, here I am anything but happy. I am frustrated and sad.

I am mad that the GOP has let Donald Trump represent their party for this long. Why are they all dropping their support now? Where was this slew of backlash when he said he would ban Muslims? When he categorized Mexican immigrants as rapists and criminals? When these comments surfaced, many GOP leaders rescinded their support for a few days but ultimately fell back into line under the guise of “party unity.” I fully support their attempts to distance themselves from Trump after this horrible video but I am furious they waited this long. They could have used their power and not endorsed him early on in the race, which could have shifted voters’ opinions. I am also mad at the GOP for cultivating an atmosphere that allowed Trump to be so successful. They have bowed to conservative Tea Party Congress members who have blocked Obama’s legislation at every turn. They have turned into a party that welcomes hard right ideology to which Trump often caters. The GOP is going to have some serious rebranding to do in the next four years. I have no pity. They now have to deal with the situation they helped create.

Most of all, I am sad. I am sad that this is the state of our election. In no way was this how I imagined the 2016 Presidential election. This election has reached a new low I think many Americans did not think was possible. This one will go down in the history books. We will have to tell our children about the election where GOP member after GOP member, media site after media site, state after state bowed to Donald Trump and his antics and only finally a month before the election, when he crossed a line, did they abandon him.

“What have we come to?” was the caption of many Snapchats I got during the second presidential debate. An indeed what have we come to? I am no idealist about America. I recognize the short-comings and the systemic problems that plague people in this country. However, I thought we could at least elect a GOP member who was not so outwardly outrageous and offensive. I was wrong. To cope with this election, I think many of us have turned to memes or gifs on the Internet making fun of the situation we are in. This humor no longer works for me because I have realized that when Trump makes these offensive comments it affects real people. It affects real bodies of the most marginalized people in America. So why don’t I feel vindicated now that Trump is likely doomed? I am too filled with frustration, anger and a profound sadness to make any room for gloating.

About the Author

Fiona Carson is a junior race and ethnic studies major at St. Olaf College from Minneapolis, Minnesota.