With the world analyzing and discussing the election of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States, many US expats have also woken to the news with a wide range of emotions – from anger, to sadness, despair and hope.
The shock result defied the media predictions and polls to hand Trump a victory over Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, with many expats sharing the disbelief. “I really can’t believe it,” said Berlin-based student Joe Schultz, who stayed up overnight to watch the results come in with other expats at one of the many bars in the city hosting US election events.
“In the beginning we all thought Hillary was going to win so we were all laughing and joking around, but as time went on, and it looked like Trump was going to take it out, the atmosphere changed. After he won Florida I think we all sobered up very quickly.”
Across town in Berlin, fellow American Dave Brenson, who described himself as a “reluctant” Clinton voter, echoed the sobering sentiment. “I feel no more awful, disappointed and terrified than your average person. It is really totally embarrassing. For a country to elect this guy, who has talked about sexually assaulting women, described Mexicans as rapists and promised to build a wall, is utterly sad.” ‘It’s a Massive Kick Up the Arse’ Others noted that the election result was a sign of the discontent against the US political establishment, for which many associated with Hillary Clinton. “It’s a massive kick up the arse to the establishment. But it’s also a massive kick up the arse to a lot of things; women’s rights; renewable energy, race relations. Even if he doesn’t press that bloody [nuclear] button, it’s a farce,” said expat Leah Wilstone, who has lived in both France and UK over the past few years.
The malaise was shared by Spain-based Green Party voter Jeff Smith, who said he was “horrified” at the prospect of a Trump Presidency.
“I’m really worried about what’s going to happen. I really hope Trump moderates and settles down a bit, otherwise things could get pretty nasty pretty quickly. Although to be fair, I think I’d feel similarly pessimistic, if not as extreme, waking up to Clinton in power,” he said. “People were just pissed off and wanted someone and something new — and Trump seemed to represent that. I didn’t vote for him and don’t agree with him, but I kind of understand why people did. I’m pissed off too, I didn’t vote for Hillary. America just seems to be controlled by these faceless corporations, while your average Joe gets kicked in the dirt.”
However beyond the anger and sadness at the election results, London-based Wilstone said the there could be a silver lining.
“It’s really sad, but what it has done is put America in front of a mirror. Maybe this is what our country needs — to have a good look at itself and shake up the system. Obviously the Democrats — and even the Republican establishment — are going to have to think long and hard about where they went wrong, so maybe something positive can come out of this.”