‘I want to live in a tolerant society’
Rachel Horning (26)
Helicopters and police sirens outside her apartment in downtown Los Angeles mark yet another of a number of protests against Trump in California, which is Democrat blue.
Fresh from an evening spinning class – “it helps me cope” – Rachel Horning is itching to go and join them.
Two days after the election, she is still dejected. She has cried a lot – like many of the 60 million Americans who voted for Hillary Clinton.
Clinton wasn’t even her first choice. “If you’re under the age of 35, you were rooting for Bernie Sanders in the primaries.”
She has been a fan of Clinton too, but Sanders was seen as the candidate who could reinvigorate the Democratic Party.
Horning is a communications and policy editor for the Los Angeles County Business Federation. She also has her own tech business.
She is one of an army of young, university-educated people who voted for Clinton.
Trump’s plans to withdraw from international trade agreements would make the US a “much more closedoff, nativist, insular country, without more jobs being created”, she says.
Silicon Valley is no fan of Trump, and its residents wanted California to secede from the US if he became president.
Horning, whose Jewish parents also voted Democrat, served on the elected student body of the University of California, Berkeley. She was also involved in the Occupy movement against global social and economic inequality.
Trump’s win has spurred her to become involved in politics again, and maybe even run for office one day.
“I feel like my DNA changed last night. I feel like I’m questioning my entire American identity. I just don’t understand Trump voters, but I want to,” she says.
She blames her lack of insight on geographic, technological and social divisions in the US, adding that the media, social media and the internet has only made divisions worse.
“We’re not trying to understand each other any more. People are so quick to write each other off,” she says.
“Trump supporters have been described as idiots and ignorant Midwest scumbags who don’t even understand creationism versus science. And although I’m not seeing it, they are probably talking about us ‘elite urbanites’ too.
“There was a need for change, clearly, and almost half of America has agreed to that. And here we are; we elected someone with zero experience. My whole reality has been flipped upside down, inside out.”
Horning says many of her dreams for the US “have come crashing down” after the elections.
“I want to live in a very inclusive and tolerant society, but Trump’s rhetoric has been the opposite.”
She wants the US to be part of a globalised world, but Trump is inward-looking.
She hopes Trump will “watch his mouth”, especially regarding comments about women’s bodies, “as this could encourage other men to follow suit”.
“The upside of a Trump presidency could be the reforms he is promising to bring to Congress, such as term limits for congressmen.
“When it comes to government transparency, I’m on board for that.”