LIHUE — With the results of Election Day still reverberating through the nation on Wednesday, many took time to contemplate how America chose Donald Trump for the next president — and what to do next.
While the dust settles, one thing has become clear: the country is divided.
“I don’t think Trump divided the country. I think that it already was from the Obama administration and the election pointed that out,” said Kauai resident Troy Wong. “I was expecting (Trump) to win. What happens now? We’re going to have to find that out.”
The results were a “gut punch” for Laurie Cicotello, Wailua, though.
“If Trump does not get his way on certain issues, I can see him issuing executive orders for fast-track changes,” Cicotello said. “As the daughter of a parent who is transgender, I fear for the safety of my friends and family who are, or are perceived to be, part of the LGBTQ community.”
One thing many people can agree upon, though, is that this year’s presidential election was stressful.
“In terms of how this year’s presidential election started and ended verifies various divisions in society,” said Steven Nishimura, Kauai Democratic Party chair.
The Republicans began the process with 17 candidates vying for the office of the president, Nishimura pointed out, while the Democrats eventually ended a two-way split without majority consensus.
“What we do as a country to improve American lives is our greatest test,” Nishimura said. “We can only hope for the best in the years to come.”
Trump wasn’t Nishimura’s choice for the office, and he said the party on Kauai is disappointed Hillary Clinton didn’t win.
“We hoped for a Democratic victory in the presidential contest that didn’t materialize, therefore (we are) disappointed in the outcome,” Nishimura said. “I believe we did as much as possible to put Hillary Clinton in office.”
Though Clinton has lost twice in her bid for the presidency, she has opened the door for other, future leaders, Nishimura said.
“What she does now is uncertain; however, I believe anything she aspires to do will be successful,” Nishimura said.
Allan Parachini, Kilauea resident, had a different point of view on the outlook for Clinton’s future.
“I think her political career is over,” he said.
Issues of wealth and class divided the country throughout the election process, in Parachini’s opinion, which he said were an “unintended consequence of the election of Barack Obama that unleashed an ugly, pent-up racial anger.”
“I’m worried about the possibility that this is, beneath everything, about the ugliest of race and class tensions, so people who warn of a violent outcome are, unfortunately, identifying developments that are terrifyingly conceivable,” Parachini said.
Now, what America should be doing is working toward preventing further violence surrounding the election, Parachini and Nishimura said.
“Donald Trump is our new proposed leader, and Americans should allow him the opportunity to govern in what they perceive as a reasonable manner,” Nishimura said.
In his Tuesday night acceptance speech, Trump focused on unifying the country and making it “strong again.”
“It will require a balanced recognition that something is very, very wrong, and that people on all sides of political connection must put aside those differences and work together to find ways to bring the country back together,” Parachini said.