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Trump win has blacks, Hispanics and Muslims bracing for a long 4 years
Throughout the long and contentious presidential campaign, they saw themselves on the front lines of the country’s power struggle — insulted and antagonized by Donald Trump and courted in near-desperation by Hillary Clinton.
Now that Trump has emerged victorious, Latino, black and Muslim voters, each with their own issues and agendas, are bracing for a long four years. Some Latinos already felt threatened Wednesday and feared that Trump would pursue his mass deportation pledge, tearing apart their families and communities. Black voters anticipated an era under Trump in which intolerance would become acceptable. And Muslims worried that they would be branded as terrorists because of their beliefs.
“I don’t fear Trump as much as I fear the monster he’s awakened,” said Aysha Choudhary, a Muslim American who works with the aid group Doctors Without Borders in New York City. “It feels like he’s normalized discrimination, and I’m afraid it’s open season.”
On the morning after the vote, many said they felt more vulnerable, just because of what they looked like or what they wore. And none felt particularly reassured by Trump’s vow in his victory speech Wednesday to “bind the wounds of division” and “come together as one united people.”
Hispanic Waves of Fear
In New York, Cesar Vargas, an immigrant rights leader, said he had received “a torrent” of death threats on Twitter and Facebook on Tuesday and Wednesday. “We are going to come and find you,” one message said.
In Washington, several dozen young immigrants gathered in front of the White House early Wednesday for a comforting vigil, where, they said, they were accosted by several men who had come to celebrate Trump’s victory. “Trump will build the wall!” the men shouted.
In Phoenix, Alejandra Gomez, a Latino activist, saw in her father’s eyes a terror she had not seen for years, since he had become a legal resident and was no longer at risk of deportation.
Latinos had embraced the opportunity Tuesday to finally exercise their full electoral clout by turning out in record numbers in states like Colorado, Florida and Nevada to swing the election for Clinton.
But after news of the victory by Trump — who had described Mexican immigrants as criminals, disparaged a Mexican-American judge and promised to cancel a program that gave nearly 800,000 of them protection from deportation — waves of shock spread among Latinos, then raw fear.
“What upsets me is how in this whole election he has brought so many of these racists out,” said Maria Flores, a Cuban-American in Miami, who had once been a Republican but supported Clinton this year. She said strangers had begun taunting her to speak English or leave.
Claudia Martinez, who is Mexican-American, Catholic and a devoted Republican, said she had wept in anguish after voting for Clinton. But choosing Trump was not an option.
“If he said those things as a candidate, what will he say as president?” she asked.
Democrats had seen Latinos as a path to victory in states like Nevada and Florida, where they grew this year to 19 percent of the electorate, from 17 percent in 2012. But while turnout swelled in Miami and in the central Florida counties where Puerto Ricans have settled, and Latinos supported Clinton over Trump by 63 percent to 34 percent, the mainly white voters in Florida who flocked to Trump surpassed the Latino numbers for Clinton.
Down ballot, there were some small victories for anti-Trump Latinos. In Arizona, activists succeeded in ousting Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, the enduring face of the state’s unforgiving stance against illegal immigration.
And in Nevada, where Latino turnout also surged, months of intensive turnout efforts by labor unions helped elect Catherine Cortez Masto, a Democrat, to fill the Senate seat of Harry Reid, who is retiring, making her the first Latina in the Senate. They also elected the first Latino congressman from Nevada, Ruben Kihuen, another Democrat. And Clinton took that state.
Some Hispanic voters were proud to say they had voted for Trump.
John Santamaria, a Cuban-American real estate agent from Miami, said he thought the Republican candidate’s tough immigration proposals were just talk. “I felt it was red meat for the vote,” Santamaria said. “The man is an egotistical maniac, but I hope he can bring the success he had in business to this country.”
But Claudia Ramos, a Nevada hotel worker from Mexico who has been a U.S. citizen for 10 years, seemed dazed by the results. “We are scared, and we don’t know what he’ll do,” Ramos said.
Ban Worries Muslims
When election results Tuesday night started pointing to a Trump victory, Ibrahim Rashid, a sophomore at Boston University, began getting nervous.
Given Trump’s vow to bar Muslims from entering the United States in an attempt to curb terrorism, Rashid, a U.S. citizen who is Muslim, worried that his family — Pakistani nationals who live in Dubai — could never visit him here again. And he ached for a young cousin in Michigan whose classmates were mean to her after Trump won a mock election at school, prompting her to cry all day.
“All of us are just scared,” Rashid said Wednesday. “There’s a lot of talk on Facebook about getting ready for the next four years because people are going to question you, and your point of view won’t matter. The feeling is, we’re not accepted any more.”
Still, he did not want his fear to show. And so he boldly dressed in Pakistani clothes and clipped a sign to his shirt that declared, “I’m not Scared.”
Muslims across the country were suddenly grappling with the reality of a Trump presidency and trying to calibrate their responses to it — including worries that Trump would keep mosques under surveillance and establish a database for all Muslims living in the United States. A recent study puts the number of Muslim Americans at 3.3 million, slightly more than 1 percent of the U.S. population.
In some ways, Rashid’s personal response reflects that of the nation’s organized Muslim groups.
In one bright spot for Muslims on Tuesday, Minnesota elected Ilhan Omar, a refugee from the Somali civil war, to its state House, making her the nation’s first Somali-American Muslim lawmaker.
But social media reflected other fears. As one person wrote on Twitter: “As I’m stopped at a gas station this morning, a group of guys yell over: ‘Time to get out of this country, Apu!’ Day 1.”
And another: “My mom literally just texted me ‘don’t wear the Hijab please’ and she’s the most religious person in our family. ... “
At a community advocacy center in Brooklyn, older women in hijabs sat in an English class and shared their fears in a mixture of English, Urdu, Arabic and Bengali.
“They said to me, ‘How can America elect such a person who is so openly about hate of others?'” said Mohammad Razvi, the executive director of the Council of Peoples Organization.
Nadeem Mazen, a member of the City Council in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who is deeply involved in Muslim matters, said that local Muslim leaders were “shocked by the outcome” and unprepared to deal with it.
“We’re all scrambling,” he said. “It will take years for us to catch up when we have to spend all our time defending ourselves against hate speech.”
Clinton spent considerable effort courting black voters. She formed bonds with the mothers of black men who had been killed by the police, giving them a prominent place on stage at the Democratic National Convention. President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, served as her most powerful surrogates.
It wasn’t enough. Although black voters overwhelmingly cast their ballots for Clinton — 88 percent to 8 percent for Trump nationwide — the number of black voters who made it to the polls lagged behind rates in the past two presidential elections. As the results came in, black voters reflected on what they meant.
“I just realize that people are more racist, sexist and misogynist than I ever realized,” Johanne Blain, a Haitian-born graduate of Wellesley, said at an alumnae watch party at the college on election night. “Today is kind of like the end of the world.”
Now, black voters are grappling with the idea of a president-elect whose tone, personal history and policy pronouncements fly in the face of so much of the social justice agenda many have fought decades for, including gains made under Obama.
“When people say Trump’s presidency will be bad, it’s not theoretical,” DeRay Mckesson, a Black Lives Matter activist, said on Twitter. “This is real life.”
In many ways, Trump presented himself as the antidote to the Black Lives Matter movement, which had protested the killings of black men by the police over the past two years. While young black activists demanded that college campuses curb speech that could be considered offensive to minorities, Trump railed against “political correctness.” While black activists protested police killings and racial profiling, Trump promised to restore “law and order” and expand New York’s contentious “stop and frisk” policing policy nationwide.
Far from ruining Trump’s chances of being elected, his remarks lay at the heart of his appeal to white voters, who expressed resentment over what they considered political correctness gone overboard.
“Welcome to the #WhiteLash,” Van Jones, a CNN political commentator, said on Twitter, a play on “backlash.”
Adding to the disappointment was Trump’s own history. Once sued by President Richard M. Nixon’s Justice Department for racial discrimination in his family’s housing rentals, Trump had served as the loudest voice behind the so-called birther movement that spread the false claim that Obama was born in Kenya and was thus ineligible for president.
The celebration of Trump’s election by far-right groups sent a wave of fear through African-Americans across the country. Social media sites Wednesday were full of reports of racial slurs that had been hurled by Trump supporters and of fears of hard-won civil rights being rolled back.
“We are scared,” Yassir Lester, a black comedian from Los Angeles, said on Twitter.