by Alexandria Hentschel
The historic, and often turbulent, election season culminated on Jan. 20 with the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States.
Trump was sworn in before a crowd that included his opponent in the general election, Hillary Clinton, attending with her husband, former 42nd president Bill Clinton.
There was much controversy surrounding the numbers at the Trump inauguration. White House press secretary Sean Spicer claimed the turnout “was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period,” which was untrue — the turnout was about one third of Obama’s record-breaking 1.8 million, according to the Guardian.
This may be due in part to the fact Democratic U.S. Rep. John Lewis led a group of other Democratic members of Congress in boycotting Trump’s inauguration, according to CNN.
Dr. Rick Tison, assistant professor of history at Cedarville University, said he understood these protestors.
“You know, given that I’m a pretty ideological person, I can be sympathetic if someone doesn’t want to go to a celebration of the opposition. I can actually relate to that,” he said. “I know other people will say it’s the dignity of the office, that it represents our ability to come together, but the fact is, we are a divided country, so,I just assume that if people don’t want to be there, they shouldn’t be there. I don’t want to see people disrupted — that’s what’s wrong.”
Tison said that surprising election results had some similarities to the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860. He said Lincoln was an underdog candidate too because he was a Republican and more than three-quarters of the presidents before him were Democrats.
“It’s kind of fun to see the experts proven wrong,” he added. “I mean, I must admit, that was some schadenfreude for me.”
Another controversy surrounding the election was the fact that very few attended Trump’s inaugural concert compared with Obama’s inaugural concert in 2009. According to the Washington Post, about 400,000 people attended Obama’s concert, where 10,000 attended Trump’s concert, according to MSNBC estimates, as reported by Buzzfeed.
Tison said he believes this number is not reflective of the support that Trump received, and is instead due to the fact that Obama’s concert boasted A-listers such as Beyonce, where Trump struggled to get performers to attend. He said that Trump’s campaign rallies were proof that he has a large following, but his followers aren’t as interested in pop culture.
“I’ll take electoral college any day over how many people attend a concert,” he joked. “And let’s be honest, just because people attend a concert, it doesn’t mean they buy into the values of the musicians that are performing. It’s just entertainment. Trump’s schtick was not entertaining, it was articulating deep-seated frustrations.”
During Trump’s first few days in office, he issued an executive order repealing large parts of the Affordable Care Act, and an executive order withdrawing the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Both projects were major undertakings by former president Obama.
“Obama has a legitimate reason to fear that his legacy is going to be undermined,” Tison said. “If there’s going to be an consistency to Trump, everything that he said would suggest that he is going to do quite a bit against Obama, starting with the Affordable Healthcare Act.”
Alexandria Hentschel is a freshman international studies major and an off-campus news writer for Cedars. She enjoys old books, strong coffee and honest debate.