November 9th in the morning. The bubble exploded. News is now confirmed: Donald Trump is elected as the 45th president of the United States with 290 electoral votes against the 228 of Hilary Clinton.
Since then, numerous Americans came back to their therapists’ couch with a new emotional distress to face: accepting the unexpected result of the election and recognizing Donald Trump as the new president.
We can easily image the challenge. Going through the famous five steps of grief may be an extremely long process and, as many psychology books remind us, every person reacts to the trauma in a different way. “No matter what happens, the sun will rise in the morning” prophetically claimed president Obama, before putting on his best smile and welcoming Mr. Trump in the White House, on November 10th.
But how are the rest of the Americans coping with post-elections shock?
“I’m angry!” affirms without hesitation Hilary’s supporter Jerry Marlow. “I’m mad at the Democrats who didn’t win the elections and at the media that didn’t see this coming”. From the very beginning, anger is probably one of the most important feelings that led the presidential run. “These elections have mobilized a relatively unsung group of voters,” explains John Hopkins sociology scholar Zhicao Fang, “whites in rural and small-towns, former union people living in relatively confined areas, all disgruntled by overseas migration of industry and loss of jobs.” As demonstrated by the elections’ results, Trump managed to intercept their frustration using their anger as a secret weapon on his campaign. “Many of them betrayed the traditionally working-class-based Democrats and helped Donald Trump not only to consolidate his victory in the Republican states, but also to conquer almost all the swing states like Michigan, Ohio, Florida,” added Professor Fang.
“Why nobody paid that much attention to them?” asks to himself Jerry Marlow “the media have just substituted their wishing to the reporting and none understood how close Trump was to get the White House”.
It started almost four months ago, on July 19th, when Donald Trump was officially declared the Republican candidate for the presidential elections. It was called the Trump terror and many therapists explained it as a sort of anxiety disorder affecting a relatively large portion of the population. There are no official records about this unusual and widespread feeling but it is very likely that at some point of the campaign media were also exposed to the contagious. “They have completely ignored the silent Trump supporters enhancing a false overconfidence of Trump not getting elected,” explained Professor Fang.
Danish journalist Jonathan Malat, who covered the elections for local television, shrugs his shoulders: “We always cover the big cities, that is the reason why we didn’t see this coming,” he merely explains.
But as professor Fang explains, the elections-related anxiety disorder did not only pertain to Trump’s opponents. “I think both stress and fatigue mean different things for different groups of constituency and among all of them, many are just tired of the entire election industry.”
NYU student Luke Smithers, who was born and raised in a strong conservative Texan family, agrees with him. “What made me feel anxious was the emptiness of contents, the impression that it was all a joke and Trump acted exactly as a second-degree bully,” he said. Despite his family view Smithers, who had always been registered as a Republican, this time decided to support the Democratic candidate. “Yes, I voted for Hilary and every time I tried to ask my mother if she was voting for Trump, she just avoided the question. You know, he was the GOP candidate…I think she was very stressed too.”
“Sadness” utters Mike Regan when he is asked to describe his post-elections feelings. Acceptance is the very final step of the grief process and Regan, who has a medical background, knows it very well.
“I’m trying to deal with all the people, among my family and friends, who voted for Donald Trump and living peacefully with all of them. But no, it is not easy at all,” he said.
He looks in the distance at the autumn colors painting the shapes of Washington Square Park. As many others, he thought that after the elections he could have stopped warring about his president for a while. “I wanted to take a break from all of this craziness but you know what? I have just realized that this is the moment to stand out and fight,” said Regan.
He added: “At least four years go by pretty fast.”