More student protests: Why are Millennials so opposed to Trump?

Thousands of students across the US left their classrooms yesterday to protest the election of Donald Trump.

Elaine Thompson/AP
A group of women students from Seattle Central College and Seattle University stand in the center of a circle of hundreds of mostly high school students as they lead a demonstration during a walkout to protest the election of Donald Trump as president, Monday, Nov. 14, 2016, in Seattle.

Since the announcement of President-elect Donald Trump’s surprising victory last Wednesday, cities across the country have seen ongoing demonstrations against his leadership, particularly among young people. Why is Mr. Trump so disliked by younger Americans? 

Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets thus far, objecting to Trump’s alleged racism and sexism, as well as his policy stances. Many of these protesters are young – even those who are not old enough to vote say that they feel they must take a stand.

"It feels like we're leading ourselves," Suzanne Rueda, a high school sophomore involved in the protests in Los Angeles, told the LA Times. "We can't vote. This is all we can do." 

Thousands of high school and college students across the country have walked out of class to march in the streets, chanting anti-Trump slogans such as “Not my President.” In Los Angeles, city officials estimated that approximately 4,000 students walked out of class to attend protests.

In Seattle, officials say that about 10 percent of public school students, or 5,000 middle and high schoolers, walked out of class on Monday to protest against the president-elect.  

For many, the protests are personal. Throughout the election, Trump was known for his strong conservative stances on immigration and abortion, among other issues that commonly affect young people.

In particular, many protesters say that Trump’s views on immigration have led to fear in their families and communities, with many young people concerned that they or their families will be subject to prejudice due to their identities.  

"A lot of us don't agree with what Donald Trump is saying in my community," another high school sophomore, Evelyn Aguilar, told the LA Times. "A lot of people are worried about being deported and violence against them because of their sexual and ethnic identities."

Some of the high school students who attended protests in Los Angeles say that they are protesting for their parents, who they fear could be deported shortly.

Ms. Rueda told the LA Times that she and her classmates had yet to be reprimanded for their absences, despite skipping class to protest. An LA teacher’s union called United Teachers Los Angeles issued a statement on Monday, supporting protesting students and their families. 

Elsewhere, protesters tackled the rise in hate crimes since Trump’s election. Concerned demonstrators say that there have been reports of rising incidences of racial slurs since the election results were announced.   

'All this hate is out there, and it might be more blatant than it's usually been. This is a reminder that we have to keep fighting," said Trinity Goss, a protest organizer at the University of Arizona.

Protests have occurred in many American cities since the election, with Portland, New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Chicago all seeing some of he largest protests.

Support for Trump’s opponent in the general election, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, rose among young people as the election entered its end stages. In the primaries, young voters had previously favored Clinton’s challenger for the Democratic nomination, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

In late October, The Christian Science Monitor’s Gretel Kauffman reported on Clinton’s growing appeal to Millennials, writing: 

Now, it would appear as though her intensified efforts to reach out to Millennial voters, a demographic she's struggled to woo throughout her campaign, have finally paid off. A new GenForward poll shows a sharp uptick in support for Mrs. Clinton among Americans ages 18 to 30, with the Democratic nominee now on track to receive as much support from Millennials as Barack Obama did in 2012. Sixty percent of respondents, surveyed in the first half of October, now say they would vote for her. 

But Millennials, academics, and pollsters alike all hesitate to attribute the increase to Clinton's efforts to appear more relatable to Millennial voters, which are widely written off by young people as inauthentic. Instead, they say, the shift in support for Clinton can be traced to a combination of factors, including a new focus on issues that matter to young Americans, an influential lineup of surrogates, and a growing realization that she is the only likely alternative to Donald Trump – a candidate with far lower favorability ratings among Millennials.

For his part, Trump has disavowed those who have made prejudicial comments against certain racial or ethnic groups over the last several days. 

"I say, 'Stop it.' If it - if it helps," Trump told 60 Minutes.

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