How Historians of Tomorrow Will Interpret Donald Trump’s Election

Historians in the News
tags: election 2016, Trump



It’s safe to say that the results of Tuesday’s presidential election came as something of a surprise to many Americans, no matter whom they backed. President-elect Donald Trump soundly defied the polls to pull out a victory, despite a campaign that shocked and alienated large swaths of the country. In the wake of the news, TIME History asked a variety of experts who have contributed to the section in the past to weigh in on one question: When historians of the future look back on this week, what do you think they will see? Below is a selection of the answers they submitted by email and phone:

Lynn Hunt, professor of history emerita at UCLA:

Historians won’t talk about this week as something surprising. Every time there have been any gains for minorities, women or immigrants, the white population of this country has been unable to resist the siren call of racism, sexism and xenophobia. Two steps forward, one step back. Emancipation of the slaves, lynching as a five decade long response. An African-American president and a vicious racist reaction. Gay marriage, and you get Mike Pence. Nor will the reaction to a woman running for president surprise anyone. I have spent 50 years as a professional ignoring, setting aside, and just not recognizing the sexism I have encountered at every step. Because to do so would be discouraging and to fight it would take all my energy. Women have had to be twice as good as men to get paid the same amount (in the university!) and if they are not demure in the way that men expect, they are vilified as bitches, ball-breakers, whatever (in the university!). And if they are demure, they don’t get promoted because they are not up to the job. I now consider Hillary a secular saint and martyr for having been willing to be the lightning rod for the evils of sexism. …




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