Lady Gaga stood in protest in front of New York City’s Trump Tower on November 9, soon after it became clear that Donald Trump had won the 2016 presidential election. Shortly thereafter, disappointed voters all over the country began to rally. They found it unacceptable that a candidate who had insulted every marginalized group throughout his campaign, and who had allegedly committed fraud and sexually assaulted women, had actually won.
It’s been over a month, and a air of disbelief still persists. It’s been especially difficult for Clinton supporters.
Before the election, polls showed her as the clear victor. Now, as the votes are still being tallied, Clinton has won the popular vote by nearly 3 million people but she failed to secure a sufficient number of electoral votes to win the Electoral College. And now the millions of people who voted for her have to deal with the knowledge that Russia interfered with the presidential election.
Today the protests in front of Trump Tower in New York City have stopped. Currently, it is difficult to get too close because the area around the building is heavily policed. For now, mostly spectators and tourists pass by. For those who want or need to enter the building, personal items are searched, and they are questioned about the purpose of their visits.
Still, for those who want to take a look at where the President-elect lives as well as the retinue of famous people coming and going, they can still manage to catch a glimpse of the Trump administration in the making. Some were willing to talk.
Out the 25 people we polled in the vicinity of Trump Tower, 15 believed that the election had been tampered with, while six did not. Four had no opinion on the matter.
Four said they had voted for Trump, ten for Clinton. Five said they didn’t vote, and six refused to answer the question. If officials asked for a revote, 15 said they would vote again, three said they would not, and the seven remaining refused to answer. Fifteen of the 25 respondents were men and 10 were women.
“I’m in finance,” said a man who wished to remain anonymous. “Algorithms can be added to affect outcomes in buying stocks in the market. I think they’d probably be a lot harder to detect. Hack in and add formulas to vote counting in a few key counties and voilà. Trump won too many of the electoral votes in proportion to Clinton’s popular vote count. Yes, I believe there was tampering,” he said.
A quantitative analyst has confirmed that this type of interference is possible. Algorithmic trading encompasses trading systems that are heavily reliant on complex mathematical formulas and high-speed, computer programs to determine trading strategies.
Others like Kelly Landes from Cleveland, Ohio, who is visiting New York for the first time, had Trump Tower as one of her prime tourist destinations. She doesn’t believe in the hacking claim. She said, “Trump won fair and square.”
“People where I live are tired of a lot of stuff. There are people getting free everything, while people like my mom and dad get laid off. They’re being replaced by people who weren’t born here.”
Landes didn’t want to say where her parents had worked, but she did say her mother was a secretary and her father had been a senior manager in an insurance company.
Maria Rivera from Queens, NY said, “I’m very sad about the election. I don’t believe that he really won.”
Tom Moran, who was visiting New York with his family from Oakland, California, agreed with Rivera, and said, “He argues too hard against it. Anyone who objects like that is hiding something.”
It’s no surprise that Trump denies allegations of a Russian cyber invasion as he has denied them throughout his campaign. More recently, in a New York Times article, “he ties claims of the Russian hack to Democratic shame.” Trump has also said that he doesn’t believe the findings of the US intelligence community.
Despite Trump’s denial, President Obama and both Democratic and Republican legislators in Washington have called for a federal investigation of the full extent of Russian interference in the eleciton based upon the CIA’s recent report.
Unfortunately, the inquiry will not be complete by the time the Electoral College gathers to cast its vote on December 19. However, there is a growing dissension among the ranks of the 538 electors. According to a New York Times article, “Christopher Suprun, an elector from Texas, became the first Republican to say publicly that he would not vote for Mr. Trump, even though Trump won his state. Republican insiders say there are more “faithless electors” like Mr. Suprun out there, quietly plotting to dump Trump. Another group of electors, composed of nine Democrats and one Republican, has even requested a briefing on Russian interference in the election.
If the Electoral College does not make the historic move to vote in another candidate, many, including most of those passing Trump Tower, believe that Donald Trump’s tenure as US president will be short-lived.
Whether it’s due to confirmation of vote-tampering, or to Trump’s own explosive and unstable temperament, or to previous allegations of his illicit business dealings and sexual assaults, Donald Trump is his own worst enemy, and resignation or impeachment is likely to be in his future.
– Ellison Walcott, Contributing Writer