What youth around the world make of the stunning U.S. presidential election

What youth around the world make of the stunning U.S. presidential election

Cover credit: Flickr

Cover credit: Flickr

The American people chose seasoned politician Hillary Clinton for president Tuesday but it's businessman Donald J. Trump who's moving to the White House. 

In the U.S., the popular vote does not decide the next president. Instead, people vote for electors who then vote for the president, according to a system called the Electoral College. Here's an explanation of this complicated process.

But regardless of how a U.S. president is elected, millennials around the world seem to care more about the surprising outcome, with President-elect Trump preparing to officially become the 45th president of the U.S. in January.

Here are some youth thoughts from around the world:

Germany

Lina, a 24-year-old young woman from Germany said the election result was devastating in many ways. “I fear not only for the U.S. I’m as scared that this is a dark forecast of what is yet to happen in the next elections in Germany, France, Hungary and many other countries in Europe and the world,” she said. “It is more than telling that the only German politician cheering for Trump is the leader of a populist, misogynist, ultra-right and xenophobic party in Germany.”

But Lina believes that it is important to trust governments while keeping an optimistic view of world politics. “We need to not give up on politics and to trust governments and institutions and to hold on to an optimistic and active outlook of our global future,” she said. “But elections are a slippery slope and it’s hard to tell the damage that the election of just one old white man can do.”

Mexico

Santiago from Mexico is not worried about the ideology Trump promotes. He is more concerned with the wide base of Americans who voted for him. “I cannot really understand how so many people share the same vision of Trump in a country where freedom is considered to be one of the greatest national values,” Santiago, 28, said. “Mexico will be affected by the current situation. The entire world will be affected as well.”

Santiago then asked: “Is my country worried about Trump?” His answer: “Yes, but it is clear that the majority of the Mexican population faces its own daily problems, and surely more important ones than Trump being president.”

Youth in Mexico, according to Santiago, will now consider other countries when seeking opportunities abroad. “Mexicans will look for other countries to study abroad, to get an scholarship or to seek a job. We are not going to a country where we are not welcome.”

Canada

Canadian high school senior Guinevere felt it was difficult to remain objective throughout the year and a half of campaigns that led to the election of Trump. “Throughout the entire campaign, it was difficult to remain unbiased,” she said. “The Canadian media was hyperbolic in their statements about both Trump and Clinton. Much has been said in the way of editorial statements about Trump, and some of these comments, despite being interesting I believe, are lacking factual evidence.”

Guinevere added: “What troubles me is the conflict of interest that will undoubtedly ensue from Trump's election. He will be dealing with nations with whom he has business agreements. What will Trump have in mind when making decisions regarding international affairs, his nation or personal gain? Canadians are certainly nervous and there is a general air of anticipation.”

Russia

Pavel from Russia, like many in his country, was surprised by Trump's victory. “As many others, I did not expect Trump to win this election,” he said. “Given the fact that the American media was against him since his presidential bid announcement, I thought he had no chance, but it is the choice of the American people and I do not want to speculate on that.”

In regards to Russia-U.S. relations, Pavel said: “I do not think that Trump’s victory would be beneficial for Russia or [its president, Vladimir] Putin since Russia has historically been a rival of the U.S.

“It is important to keep in mind that the Republican U.S. Congress is a very anti-Russian, so I do not expect to see any significant changes.”

Vietnam

Tam, 22, said: “Both candidates defended values of the people they represent. Hillary Clinton represents meritocracy, equality, progressiveness and sustainability while Donald Trump utilizes his marketing acumen to understand and convince the most substantive group of U.S. population to vote for his stunning victory.”

Now that the election is over, Tam thinks it is important for the nation to unite. “It is an important time come together in unity regardless of our political differences. This is when we need groups like ours to make heard voices of young people and of solidarity,” she said. “After the election, there’s an air of reckoning for young people in Vietnam as they realize not hope alone can change things but united actions. Nationalism and concentrated power in the Republican Party in the U.S. is damaging to our future and the progressive developments in foreign relations, environmental pollution and the economy. Issues such as China’s militarization of South Sea’s international territory will be overlooked. 

“In Vietnam under the sovereignty of the Socialist Party, young people have limited career choices and limited power to contribute to their country. We will have the same consequences for the world’s greatest democracy if we don’t stand up and actively engage together for the changes we want tomorrow.”

Finland

Jasmine, 26, thinks the most concerning issue is that a man who seems to dislike everyone in the world “except rich white men and young pretty ladies” is now going to become the leader of one of the biggest and most influential nations in the world.

“Will he be able to keep good relations with other nations? What will happen to the progress made regarding climate action? He doesn’t believe in climate change,” she said. “What will happen to immigrants? He believes they should build a wall. What will happen to reforming the healthcare and education systems? Obamacare will likely be trashed, and education — it’s purely utopian to have cheaper and better education. As a millennial woman from Finland, a country known for free and great education, free public healthcare, equality, where women got the right to vote in 1906 as the first country in Europe and the third in the world, and where we had a female president for 12 years, I feel saddened by this step back that America is taking right now. What we, and every American has to realize, is that we live in a globalized world and everything we do affects everyone. Decisions have to be made with care and consideration in order to move forward to a more united world concerning issues like equality and climate action.”

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