For many, the 2016 election cycle has shaken longstanding assumptions about American politics. We want to know how it's changed the way you think about America and its politics. We invite you to share your thoughts below.Share Your Story
There has been no election yet. We're stuck with polls, which thus far have been mostly close to accurate. My view of America is that there are apparently a lot more scary people out there, evidenced by the seemingly huge support of Donald Trump, evidently by racists, people who would be his brownshirts, people who would advocate the overthrow of the government, and people who may honestly feel Trump is tough and speaks his mind and that is enough. Ted Cruz is almost equally as frightening. It appears we're possibly on the verge of Nazi Germany 1933 all over again. History repeats itself. Human beings never learn.
This election has only reinforced my views of America since 2001. An ambition driven by fear, money, and power are all that remains. What is left is a sideshow for the masses to gawk at with propagated vigor. When there is an overall lack of value for education, interpersonal connection, and compassion for one another- it continues to degrade our culture.
I've always known people like "Trumpers" existed, but the numbers astound me! Feels like we are taking a huge step back & megalomaniacal Trump is leading the charge by emboldening the bigots & misogynists, the anti-intellectuals who are unmoved (like granite) by fact or reason, the people who having been itching to throw a punch. The "Christian" candidates who decry Sharia law but want to insert THEIR religion into our govt scare me; who would make it a campaign platform to reverse gay marriage, which hurts no one, when we have a million bigger problems! We are obviously not a melting pot or a lovely stew & we seem to have forgotten the values that make the concept of America great. Our system is broken & my heart is broken.
As a high school English teacher, I'm appalled at the tone of the current campaign involving Republican candidates. I wonder if the shift to digital communication -- where various forums allow participants to post comments of all kinds, including insults and vulgarities -- has led to what we're seeing and hearing in official debates, rallies, speeches, etc. It's been interesting this week to hear people reflecting upon the Reagan presidency in connection with the death of Nancy Reagan; many have expressed longing for the more civil and collaborative environment that existed in Washington at that time. My students know only the current era and are asking questions about candidates' choices of language and general behavior. It's very difficult to promote civil discourse and rational thinking in the classroom when adults in politics demonstrate quite the opposite. I am concerned that American is stepping backward and becoming more divisive, more polarized around the issues of race.
It has not so much changed my view just confirmed it. I have long thought Americans get real life and "reality tv" very confused. If more people would think about the future of a country run by a P.T. Barnum character perhaps we have a chance to rein in the fanatics.
We are being freed from the corporate controlled, pre-framed, politically correct dialogue that the two-wings of the oligarchy party and the corrupted media have generally allowed; we are actually beginning to discuss substantive issues. Maybe we can get the Fed audited, maybe we can get a legal investigation into the false-flag of 9/11. This would open the box and lead to an honest government.
It is remarkable how the Republican and Democratic parties will fight against certain candidates. Isn't it amazing all of the negative news reports that are being generated against Donald Trump and Berrie Sanders who happen to be non-establishment candidates.
Yes, finally there is someone who understands that if our southern border is not protected the influx of illegal aliens will continue to overwhelm and destroy this country. Tax payers cannot withstand the billions of dollars going to welfare programs for them and their anchor babies.
Prior to the 2016 election I, like many Americans, knew that politicians are owned by international corporations. Laws are created to cater to lobbyists and big business. This election has done nothing to change that.
Yes it has. I never expected to see a person be allowed to run for the WH and the most powerful position with ano infinite record of lies, deceit, scandals, fraud and she considers herself to be above the laws of this land. As she has indicated, "It'seems just the work of my enemies. I will not answer that question. That will never happen."
Yes. Now, more than ever, I realize we live in a military/industrial oligarchy and our government is in great danger. The Republican candidates are all totally unprepared to govern with dignity and restraint. Their tactics have fueled racism and eliminated rational discourse. Governments around the world are looking on in horror at the political process taking place in the U.S. at this time. We have become a destabilizing force to the world. I am ashamed of our government at this time.
I did not realize our government was so corrupted and so deep in plans to destroy us.
No because for the first time in a very long time voters are demanding that elected officials listen to their desires rather than those of the so called establishment
I became increasingly shocked at the negative impact Donald Trump possessed during the election. I kept thinking a moderate Republican would come to the forefront, backed by intelligent, responsible Republicans. I was sure his bullying tactics would be shut down by reasonable people. I began having stomach aches and anxiety as he gained more and more support, thinking "This is not how we operate today! This is not how we do a presidential race in America!" I was ashamed. I was alarmed at how this political circus must look to the rest of the world. To date, I have lost faith in a mainstream political party--Republican--to reign in OR kick out such a hate-mongering, divisive bully such as Trump.
If anything this election is confirming all my sad beliefs about what is happening to the United States of America... the people have been dumbed down, controlled by the entertainment which they have been raised, and seeking nothing of substantive value, and understanding so little about the world.
Yes it has changed my view. It makes me sad that this is what is being put forward as not only the people to lead this country, but for what could be the most powerful position in the world.
It confirmed that the hatred and racism that I've seen first hand isn't going away anytime soon
Yes. The popularity of Donald Trump saddens and disturbs me on many levels.
Yes: Because at last I see some one who doesn't need outside contributions for his campaigne, therefore has no ties to anyone
It's amazing how thin this veneer we call civilization is. From Germany in the 1930's, to Rwanda and Yugoslavia in the 1990's, and the current Middle East, we can revert back to our familial and tribal roots in an instant. All it takes is someone who can vocalize our grievances toward "the other" and we're off on a pogrom, or ethnic cleansing. People who say "never again" seem to forget we had concentration camps set up in "civilized" Europe in the 1990's, not in those other "third world" countries. I like to think we're better than that, but right now I'm not so sure.
It has not changed my views of America. We can and will still recover from this year of poor candidates in the future.
In short, the election has made me lose faith in my country. It's very sad. Before this election, I didn't realize how scared and angry Americans really are. I've also seen social media facilitate misinformation and my generation (millennials) is just eating it up. At the beginning of this election I was hopeful that the entire country could find some common ground but somehow, it morphed into a circus of monstrous proportions. When Trump entered the race I honestly thought it was a joke/publicity stunt. I don't know any Hillary supporters and I don't know any Trump supporters. There's a small part of me that feels like the whole thing is rigged because neither one of them have a good history. I firmly believe that Trump made it so far in the race because the average american is tired of being pushed around. The quest for diversity and equality we have sent the message that discrimination is OK, as long as it's against white Christians. ALL lives matter.
Is this still America? I thought we had become this new country where common sense no longer exists. The constitution is essentially now an artifact that we go to DC and look at and say, "well it was a great idea, until we let them mess it all up."
As a lifelong right-leaning moderate, this election has woken me up to some real truths about oft-repeated Republican mantras over the past few decades. All the talk about tax cuts and smaller government have really not benefited the voters who have unquestioningly supported the Republican party since Nixon's "silent majority" and Reagan's so-called "Reagan Democrats". The Republican party offers not a whit of new ideas to deal with the effects of globalization on the lower and middle class, and it offers no solutions at all really. It repeats as dogma and ideology the unproven tenets about lower taxes and smaller government and keeps harping about individual freedom and liberty, all the while dog-whistling racist and gender stereotypes and to what end? I am thoroughly disgusted with the Republican party and cannot see myself voting for any of its candidates any time soon. Where are the Bill Welds and Jack Kemps of this party? Where has its logic, reason, and science gone? Sad.
Nope. This is just politics as usual, magnified by the age of information.
I am ashamed of America because of this election. The behavior and lack of substance by the candidates is unbelievable. We need Statesmen. We need people who do not lead by their parties' politics. We need people who do not inject their religious views as a driver of policy, who stick to separation of church and state. This election season has been and continues to be a humorless joke.
Yes, I'm shocked by the intensity of the anger and frustration on the right given the fact that the country is in far better shape than it was in 2008.
I have learned that there is an enormous degree of contempt between splintered groups. This says to me that the idea of assimilation into a cohesive American culture has been abandoned in favor of the "multiculturism" experiment currently underway in the United States. I don't think it's working.
It has proven to me how easily the general public is duped by news rhetoric.
I now think there has been a major decline in history, faith, education, honesty, and class. And I do not have a good outlook for the future. This election is the most important if you want to keep an American culture. We could just become another country in the world. Not the superpower and free society that most of the world has looked up to in the past...
No, I still think America is great, it is the citizens themselves that make it great, not the government.
No. It only confirmed my disappointment that I missed the "Dream."
Yes. Watching so many Republican voters declaring their support for Trump has destroyed my faith in the fundamental principles of the Republican party. Authoritarianism is the dominant political philosophy now, left-wing and right-wing; and, apparently, integrity is worthless in politics.
Yes, I'm disappointed that an asshole and biget like Trump has so much support, and I am disappointed in ALL of the candidates, and their long standing political careers.
It has become like a reality TV show...nothing substantive...and the saddest part is people seem to be buying into the shallow entertainment centered ridiculousness.
I will NOT vote for Trump and his fascist politics. That being said, I feel we must try to understand the roots of discontent that attracts his supporters and address this deep protest. Too much political correctness? Labeling the moderates as ignorant, racists, religious fanatics? If we do not face this labeling, this smearing of the opposite views, we will get a worse version of Donald Trump in the future. The press bears its responsibility as well, making Trump into a TV personality for ratings instead of closely questioning his statements. We are so divided. Let us try to rid ourselves of name calling and hurled invectives.
Election 2016 has changed my view from Americans being apathetic to Americans who are ready to have their voice heard.
No. It has validated my concerns that we are becoming more polarized as a nation. Although we have had many power struggles within our political system, I am concerned that the people that are allowing themselves to become more extreme in their views are forgetting history. They are forgetting the lessons from the past. I am just as concerned that more and more people in our nation have very skewed and unfounded beliefs that are exacerbated by a profound lack of boundaries and refusal to educate themselves with the facts. These are the red flags that were present before the Civil War. So far, the current "Civil War" has continued to play out in our political process. That political process, however, is becoming more rigid. There must be flexibility within our political process, just as there must be flexibility within personal relationships. Rigidity leads to a brittle system that is much easier to break.
Yes, it's depressing how many people have responded positively to Donald Trump's ugliness, cynicism, and dishonesty. It's an election that speaks to how desperate, angry, and confused many people are.
Every four years Americans put themselve on display. Who they support, who they oppose, their decorum. This year is no different.
No. It's a fragile operation, this republic...
Political campaigns have always been nothing more than a glorified magic show. Nothing but smoke-and-mirrors!
It's become a much more nastier place. Only the foolish will run for office, see Ted Cruz, Bernie Sanders and Donald trump.
I'm disgusted and saddened by the tone of the campaign and the behavior of the candidates. I have voted in 7 presidential elections and this is the first time I've seriously considered choosing to not vote.
No. It is just clear that many people feel left out and undated for. People need someone to inspire them and provide them with hope.
The bar was already set quite low, and the primary voting bloc has managed to lower that bar even more.
My view hasn't changed. The way others see what I've always known has.
Yes. The election of Obama gave me hope but the subsequent yrs disheartened me. This election has totally convinced me America is polarized in the extreme.
I have lost faith in the American people and their ability to choose the candidate who will represent our country on global issues as well as domestic issues.
Yes. I am disappointed with the public, the percentage of people who participate in our democracy and our pathetic media.
Yes. We are much more polarized than ever before.
Yes. The strident appeal to the lowest common denominator is appalling.
Angry Americans are coming out to vote for someone who represents their thoughts and feelings. Obama's policies over 8 years have been the straw that broke the camel's back for most Americans.
Yes, there is a great awakening on both sides with the collapse of the powers that be driven media outcome. Observe Trump and Sanders.
America is at a cross road that will tell if we are going to be a country or not in the future
Current political discourse has altered my view insofar as the GOP candidates yell unintelligibly, engage in nativism and appeal to the most base instincts of the populace eschewing any attempt at an inclusive electorate. The Democrats have offered such a broad brush platform, that they stand for everything. In either case, it's a sterling reflection of how far public service talent has receded.
I have become acutely aware of how prejudice and racist my peers have been all along.
It has confirmed what has been increasingly apparent for some time. Both major parties are not concerned with the commonweal but rather acquiring and maintaining power. Individual candidates generally follow this trend and are most concerned with their own vested interests.
The electorate likewise has, to a great extent, shifted to viewing the election process as one which exists to entertain and to affirm ones own bias and opinion.
Take a look at the Calvin and Hobbes cartoon from November 26, 1995 for the perfect expression of my view of a vast number of those who inhabit the United States.
Yes, I no longer feel very confident with any of the present candidates. I feel that social media, the news media, and cable media are all full of lies and untruths. It's not a very comforting situation.
This election process has once again proven to the American people that this is NOT a "democracy," and that the corporate mainstream media fabricates nearly every single piece of biased information they publish, in an effort to prop up the candidate who gives them the most money. The delegate system in this country needs to be eradicated entirely. LET THE PEOPLE DECIDE WHO THEIR CANDIDATE OF CHOICE IS FOR ANY GIVEN PARTY! We've already got an atrociocious electoral college process. What we are seeing is the exact opposite of a democracy. This is an oligarchy, and it's sickening to know that the citizens of this country actually believe that we have a "choice."
America is more hate-filled and racist than I thought. The support that Trump is getting for his statements.
Yes, my view of America has changed. I didn't realize that there was so much latent racism beneath the surface of White America. As a Black American Veteran, I feel betrayed by all of the Republican politicians who are using hate speech against the numerous races, religions and creeds to fire up their base to win elections. They don't care about what happens to the people in this country, or the country as a whole. They just want to push an outdated and hateful ideology that will keep them in office and money flowing into their pockets. Shame on them.
Never thought we could be so polarized.
It hasn't changed my view. It has only confirmed all of the corruption that goes on in politics. All of that money used for greed. When someone really cares they get shut down. That view has only been reinforced and I wish it hadn't been.
Yes. It has offered an interesting viewpoint concerning politics and the modern era. The youngest generation is so desperate for change that they're willing to get behind what are obviously scrupulous characters. The politicians are so desperate to garner votes and just appeal to the public that they'll pay more attention to how they appear and what's PC, rather than actually address any of the real issues and present realistic solutions to these issues. The media is so quick to judge and present only the negative that they almost seem to ignore the good parts of a candidate's policy.
More than ever before, the two-party system has excluded me. These people represent extremes. I don't believe most Americans are represented by these people.
Without a doubt it has. First I should say I am an Independent voter who does not vote by nor identify with either party. I think there has been so much vitriolic hate from the Republican Party for our current president, that it has finally manifested into a person like Donald Trump being the likely nominee. Hate begets hate. I do not know how else to explain it. I am not only saddened but frightened for our country and the world if he truly becomes our President.
It's been revealed that we have two parties that do not represent the views of the majority of Americans. The fringes have taken over.
Yes, it truly brought the decline of society into prominence, and emphasized how very little influence the "common man" has over the political machine that has grown to such proportions that it is now a egomaniacal entity striving only to self perpetuate and has very little to do with true policy making.
American "democracy" has been and always will be a dirty game. I am wary of the affect Citizens United will have on the process going forward.
It has opened my eyes to just how desperate people are for good leadership from the government, how both political parties are incapable of offering that and that there are so many people who cannot see through the media and candidates static to see the long term ramifications of who they elect.
We espouse Democracy but easily surrender it to fear by manipulation.
It's sad that populism, racism, and fascism are still going strong.
Yes. I had no idea we had fallen this far.
People are coming together, supporting each other, caring for others. It is contagious and inspiring. I feel a connection to my country, my fellow Americans, in a way I never have. There is a movement of Americans banding together to show others in our country and around the world that we do not have to be a country that fights against equality and even peace. I am proud to be voting in this election, and I feel strong positivity and support for "my" candidate.
I used to think that less than 10% of Americans were uneducated raging bigots, homophobes, and/or zealots but with Trump polling at ~33% for so long I've had to reconsider my assumptions. I find Trump to be a genius at this. He's playing this game perfectly. From his Palinesque speeches devoid of any actual policy, to referring to delusional fantasies like cheering NJ Muslims on 9/11, the mob cheers. Let me be clear: This is not a Trump problem. This has become a plank of the ideological Right and that is a problem not just for the GOP but for America.
The GOP race, and especially the Trump campaign, are embarrassing and even dangerous, and put our country in a poor light across the globe — not to mention how the appeal to the lowest common denominator is cheapening the process and bringing out the worst in the US voting public.
We have become increasingly polarized as a nation along our federal government's dysfunctional gridlock. The GOP presidential contest has become a reality TV show. Jerry Springer should moderate the debates.
It appears as though our system is rigged. With so many Anericans displeased with the candidates running for office, it makes me wonder why we continue to get more of the same. Our political system is virtually a two party system, corporations donate to both parties, campaign finance reform is a joke and the media, in large part, focuses on race baiting, classism and ridiculous arguing among the candidates. So very sad!
I'm skeptical of the news media, perpetual polls, monetary control of the candidates, excessive pompous behavior, no substance.
Not so much changed, but confirmed the cynical side of my view of America. I've actually been embarrassed to be American while watching a few of the republican debates. The world must be laughing at our 'politics'.
I'm an American living in Canada, and I've been here for a decade (most of my adulthood). This gives me a different perspective, though perhaps an inaccurate one. This election has added to a profound sense of sadness and tragedy that I feel toward America. I don't feel safe there anymore and that breaks my heart.
It's embarrassing. The juvenility of the GOP is destructive to our standing in the world.
Our Fourth Estate is partisan and no longer adheres to any fairness or truthful reporting since we eliminated the Fairness Doctrine for license-holders of our public airwaves, thereby spawning this year's barrage of inane, boorish, and lying comments from bottom-feeding scum suckers…
No, I had already known that the system has been corrupted by money, that trade agreements have sold us out and that there are more racists than I had formerly thought (pre Obama).
The election has opened eyes to many issues that go on every day such as racism, the power of money, white privilege through media. Now more than ever media has been the biggest form of notification of what is happening during elections and everyone is responding. I think that it is also pushing many people who had never thought of voting or voting to be of importance, to do so now. Many people suffer from racist slurs and for an American to nationally word some of those slurs publically shows us how a big part of Americans feel. Even though we have had many accomplishments, America is not what it seems to be. Freedom of speech - yes a white man called Mexicans rapists etc but our society is more accepting of it rather than if a regular person of color were to say the same. Trumps presidency shows us that if you have money you can be President clearly not by the use of your brains. In all, with him running opens the eyes of many issues.
I have felt consistently shocked, perplexed, saddened and outraged by the Republican candidates this year. It has been very eye-opening to know a candidate like Trump could make it this far. The American people have not necessarily evolved past the civil rights movement. Trump has stirred up and brought out the most hateful feelings in people. This is a very frightening quality. To me, this is not what a leader does. I feel embarrassed and saddened by this. It has put a barrier up between me and my parents. How could anyone possibly find a man like Trump intelligent? I find my self apologizing to all my foreign friends living here. Candidates should have poise and grace. The Republican party has truly dumbed our country down. When I travel, I think I will say I'm Canadian now.
I feel that the Trump campaign has fooled a lot of people into thinking that it is OK to hate and to be ignorant, and also that it is better to declare your hate and intolerance regardless of others' beliefs or sensitivities. "Speaking one's mind" isn't a virtue, especially when one's mind is polluted with intolerance, narcissism and destructive rhetoric. I'm worried that so many people are caught up in this, but I am more worried that more people are letting it happen without challenge.
I'm seeing the campaign of Bernie Sanders as both igniting social and political awareness and focus, but also setting some people up for more political apathy when he ultimately is defeated. Worse yet, he is elected and finds less traction that Obama has been able to get.
The glaring difference between Democrats and "Republicans" this election is that one party is educated and sensible and somewhat responsible, and the other is devolved into an incoherent hot mess that appeals only to base emotion.
The success of Bernie (whether he wins or loses) shows that plenty of people are still thoughtful, compassionate, and mindful of the future.
It appears to me that many people I would have considered part of fringe groups appear to be far more mainstream than I ever could have imagined.
The United States seems even more divided and dysfunctional, and I think that a lot of the separation comes from generational divides.
I am so disappointed in my country. We have allowed Congress to make it nearly impossible for really good people with ethics and no personal wealth to run for office.
Yes. I'm shocked to find out how many of us are racist, sexist, homophobic, and xenophobic.
I had previously thought Americans were too inured to democracy to feel the pull of authoritarianism and fascism -- that it couldn't happen here. This election has changed my view.
It's just brought what I knew to exist -- that is racism, lack of intellectualism, ignorance of government, celebrity worship amongst other issues -- to the fore, and unfortunately made it all acceptable by the rise of Trump.
Yes, it had. It made me realize how even more divided we are as a nation. It has disheartened me just how uncivil and unkind many people are. It has also disheartened me how uninformed people are about how our government was designed and how it works. It has disheartened me that people can't seem to disagree with civility and respect. And it has disheartened me how people are not paying attention to the important policy challenges we have.
Yes. I have realized that a lot more people than I ever thought are racists and bigots and now are not afraid to show their true colors. It is embarrassing and deeply saddening.
I have studied American history because I love it, and I know that we are subject to periods of intense (whatever)-phobia and isolationism and that those periods give rise to dangerous demagogues. I am sad to be living in one of those times and somewhat frightened that if a movement such as Trump's sweeps up the majority, there will be nothing I can do to stop it.
I'm afraid people have lost faith in government. The political system is broken and there does not appear to be any light at the end of the tunnel.
It has shown just how deep and ugly the social wounds are that we as a nation carry.
The fact that Trump and Cruz can say what he says, lie, and empower the racists in this country tells me a lot about the people and their deep inner beliefs. I'm scared to go to places in the south or predominently white areas, as I now believe a good number of folks probably are not supportive of a diverse multicutural america.
My view has changed. The rise of Trump has shown me how mean-spirited so many in our country have become. The idea that it is OK to be ignorant of and abusive to others is very sad. That the media refuses to do anything other than fan the flames is disheartening.
Unfortunately, yes. It has made me realize just how deeply divided we are as a country. I've never seen this level of vitriol expressed from both sides of the aisle. People I've been friends with for years are now my enemies, simply over who I plan to vote for. It's almost the American Civil War all over again.
I am saddened and ashamed at the dialogue, which is wholly lacking in substance and alternates between being childish and hateful. Not one of them has the intellect, moral compass or tacit capacity to unite, cooperate and ultimately govern this country.
It's clear we are a much more racist, misogynistic country than I thought.
Yes. It tells me that people are more apt to emotional decision making than substantive and logical decision making.
I have been very disheartened by this election so far. I do not understand the depth of hate that is being displayed by so many people.
Yes. I am shocked at the tolerance for incivility.
Not changed my view that entire election process is corrupt have always thought that.
The rise of the Trump Monster has scared me. I knew that there was definitely some inequalities in society, but I had no idea that so many were embracing so many hateful ideas. We are better than this, or so I thought.
That we are not kinder or loving but mean and hateful