The Emotional Toll of Elections

Mia Petruccelli/Contributing Writer

I still remember the moment I found out that Donald Trump won the election in 2016. Attentiveness to politics was fairly new to me since I had just recently turned 18. I was excited, exhilarated, yet overwhelmingly terrified. 

I engaged in conversations with my peers, read articles, watched debates and encouraged the uninterested people around me to engage, but it was not enough. 

I remember talking to people close to me, many of whom are people of color, and the only emotional reaction they were able to express was utter disbelief and fear. These feelings closely followed for the following weeks, months, and some the next four years. 

Studies show that people of the losing party had a distinctly negative impact on their wellbeing following the results of the 2016 election, with little to no impact on the wellbeing of those of the winning party.

CNN political commentator Van Jones was quick to announce his overwhelmingly negative emotions following the election of President Trump in 2016: “I have families of immigrants that are terrified tonight.”

Jones also expressed that several people of various backgrounds texted him that evening with questions of whether or not they should flee the country. His disappointment was apparent when he continued, “this was a white lash against a changing country… We don’t want to feel that someone has been elected by throwing away some of us to appeal more deeply to others.”

The fear that surfaced after the election in 2016 again resurfaced this year in different ways. It is no secret that people of the Republican Party are deeply affected by Biden’s victory.  Various protests have erupted across the country, with demands of recounts along with the complete unacceptance of Joe Biden’s win. 

Contrary to the preliminary celebration following President Trump’s projected win in 2016 on election night, Republicans have scolded Democrats for celebrating before, believing that the majority of the ballots casted this year were illegal, with no proof.

One point that has been proven true throughout the past two elections is that our nation is incredibly divided. The uproar would erupt regardless of either outcome from both political parties. 

Democrats have been celebrating Biden’s win not because President Trump will be out of office, but because they feel that Joe Biden is willing to listen and represent them regardless of their status or background. When asked his thoughts on Joe Biden’s win, Van Jones says, “this is vindication for people that have really suffered.”  

The voices of many have been taken away for so long that the pathway to equality has grown longer as well, and so we fear, can we accomplish all we wish to complete in these next four years? The answer is that we can try. 

We can try to get where we need to be, but the first step involves acceptance. We must accept that we are incredibly divided, to the point that consistency in what we believe the country should look like is unattainable. Therefore, it is in our best interest to prepare emotionally for every election.


The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of PantherNOW Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.

Photo by Manny Becerra on Unsplash

Be the first to comment on "The Emotional Toll of Elections"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.