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What on earth happened in the election?

Pat Brown holds 23 Annual Policy Conference on the 2016 Election

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What on earth happened in the election?

Photo courtesy of fsmith827 Twitter

Photo courtesy of fsmith827 Twitter

Photo courtesy of fsmith827 Twitter

Photo courtesy of fsmith827 Twitter

Anthony Karambelas, Staff Reporter

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Since election results came out on November 8th, many throughout the nation have had to come to grips with the fact that our President-elect is businessman Donald Trump. Through protests, many Americans have found an outlet to express their unhappiness with the state of affairs.

For the past weeks, Cal State LA has hosted numerous discussion forums in the hopes of encouraging an open dialogue on election results.

Last Thursday, the Pat Brown Institute of Public Affairs hosted the 23rd Annual Policy Conference titled “Election 2016: What On Earth Happened?”, which was divided into two sections: what factors influenced election results and how will California proceed?

At the start of the conference, President William Covino offered a few remarks on the work Cal State LA has done to assist students through post-election feelings. One of these is the Glazer Family Dreamers Resource Center, which provides guidance and support to undocumented students.

Covino also mentioned that Post-Election Communications webpage he initiated on the Cal State LA website, which provides resources for students who want to know more about how the election results may impact them.

The webpage contains information on all upcoming events regarding the 2016 election, as well as all of Covino’s messages to the University community

In the first panel, moderated by Los Angeles Times reporter Seema Mehta, representatives of several polling and research organizations discussed the role of different racial and gender groups in the general election.

Dr. Ange-Marie Hancock Alfaro, USC associate professor and founder/CEO of RISIST, talked extensively on the importance of intersectionality of race and gender. Instead of viewing polls purely through the lens of gender gaps and racial gaps, Alfaro emphasized that race and gender combined provide more accurate depictions. Alfaro explained that an implicit gender bias motivated white women to vote against Hillary Clinton.

“As early as middle school, even young girls demonstrate a preference for male leadership than female leadership,” said Alfaro. She later elaborated, drawing from a survey that showed Latina women will wait until they are 2-3 times more qualified than the average male to run for office.

Dr. Adrian D. Pantoja, senior analyst for Latino Decisions, pointed out that when it comes to the Latino vote, exit poll results are often way off from the predicted values. For example, while many polls placed Trump with under 20 percent of the Latino vote, exit polls had him at 30 percent.

Pantoja also stressed that young people need to be more involved in policy making. “I would encourage young people in the audience to be involved in politics, all aspects of politics, even things that may think on the surface are not political. Finally, one of the reasons I teach Latino politics is because I have a secret agenda, and that is I want young people to run for office. We need young, fresh ideas.”

Jill Darling, survey director of the USC Center for Economic and Social Research (CESR), touched on the results of her own organization’s poll, which happened to favor Trump.

Darling’s poll was very different from the norm. In it, CESR provided their panel of over 4,000 people (3 every 38,000) with tablets and asked them once every week about their percentage likelihood of voting for Trump, Clinton, or someone else.

CESR differed from other polls in that they also inquired on a 1-100 scale how likely their panel was to vote on election day. This voter likelihood model then weighted the panel’s candidates of choice.

The second panel, moderated by PBI executive director Dr. Raphael J. Sonenshein, discussed the ways California will adapt to the challenges posed by a Trump administration.

Kayla Stamps, ASI president and CEO, recounted the anxious communications she had received from students regarding the election decision. Many conceded to vote for Hillary out of fear that Trump would snatch the presidency.

Facing the prospect that the Trump administration could deny students health insurance, Kayla said, “I think it would be an uproar. A lot of us are struggling, eating top ramen college students, and just trying to get by.”

Mike Madrid, president of Grassrootslab, provided insight into how he thinks the Trump administration will play out. He observed Trump as a very moveable figure on the Republican front. Drawing from his campaign, Madrid noticed that Trump clashed with many of the basic Republican ideologies, such as free trade and healthcare.

Madrid also said that though he understands the anxieties many Californians have because of the impending Trump administration, lashing out is unproductive.

“Both sides are equally vigilant in their righteousness as to what it is that they stand for. Both of them have legitimate concerns. And we need to as a country understand that. Just because people disagree with you, does not make them–add whatever derogatory term you want to add there,” he said.

Alex Padilla, Secretary of State of California, said he hopes that the Trump administration will redeem himself by withdrawing the malicious pledges he made during his campaign. However if he does not, Padilla promised that the California administration will fight back.

Padilla encouraged the young people in the audience to work for the change America needs. “And for the young people here who are working hard to earn their degrees [and wondering] what else can I do besides speaking up, you’ve got to make time. It’s not easy. Your course load is heavy. I know, I’ve been there. But you’ve got to make time to volunteer.”

With more productive conversations like the one witnessed last Thursday, we can hope that California will hit these next four years head on. With a running start.

Photo courtesy of SCE_haigk

Photo courtesy of SCE_haigk

Photo courtesy of Castazel Twitter

Photo courtesy of Castazel Twitter

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