Friday, May 31, 2024

Why is there Post-Election Depression in America?


trumpBy Mwizenge S. Tembo, Ph. D. Professor of Sociology

Why has this American Presidential election result caused so much wide-spread angst, anxiety, fear, anger, crying, Trump inspired vandalism, profound disappointment, disillusionment, outrage, and deep depression in the American society? I was awake up to 1.30 hours during election night and went to bed with profound depression that Hillary Clinton had lost and Donald Trump had won. I have lived through so many Presidential elections here in America since 1980. The vast majority of American citizens and I have never felt this way about any Presidential election results in recent memory.

The usual run of the mill explanations will not do justice to understanding this massive wave of national consternation. In America some say Hillary Clinton, the liberals, the media, and the Democratic Party lost. They had ignored and thumbed their noses at those white poor working class in the rust belt and rural areas who had lost their jobs in the 1990s and from 2,000 due to American manufacturing companies moving away and out sourcing jobs from America to countries where labor costs are much lower. That way the companies could make super profits.

Others in America say that Donald Trump and the Republican Party outwitted the left, bamboozled the Democratic Party and won the election in a stunning way. Somehow these explanations sound hollow and do not seem to explain this deep national depression and wide spread uncertainty about the future of government.
What are the true feelings among the tight circle of Trump aids about the win? What are the true feelings of Trump supporters, and Republicans? Are they truly very proud, giddy and elated about how this result was achieved? Can the Republicans and even those swing voters in the rust belt who apparently swayed the election, be truly jubilant and proud about the outcome? I doubt that too many Americans are happy about the outcome of the elections.

Why is the nation profoundly deeply depressed? It is because whatever political party each citizen voted for including about 44% of the population that did not vote, we all have one feeling: we all feel we have participated in a very intense, dirty, emotionally exhausting, muddy, and tiring, gutter level excruciating competition where the whole nation is swimming in a deep sewage of moral filth. The process usurped our energy, deeply divided the nation, and compromised our public morals. All the normal rules of everyday behavior were broken. We were hoping and expecting that our collective confidence in the electoral system to vet and weed out a horrible candidate would work. The Republican primaries failed to weed out the candidate and so did the general election. Indeed, up to the time of the counting of the votes, we were hoping and all the polls told us that he lesser of the two bad candidates would prevail at the end. As Trump began to win with the counting of the votes up to the wee hours of the morning, the despair sank deeper into our very souls.

The reason we are so deeply disappointed and depressed is that virtually all both liberal, conservative, left and right deeply held fundamental values may have been destroyed during this election. There is an equivalent of an earth quake and we are buried in the rubble of the political mayhem. Everyone is trying to cope or make sense of what has just happened over the last 18 months. We just don’t know what to believe any more about American values. This is what is most upsetting and causing the most depression.

Donald Trump announced his candidacy on June 15 2015 by insulting Mexican Americans who sneak across the border as drug dealers, thieves, and rapists. Racial bigotry, xenophobia, the Ku Klux Klan white racist support, you name it, Trump has done or condoned it or looked the other way. During the 18 months the whole nation has had to endure one outrageous insult after another. His bullying of the fellow 17 Republican Party Presidential candidates rivals during the debates and campaigns during the primary elections was horrible. He called candidate Florida Senator Marco Rubio “Little Marco”. He called Texas Senator Ted Cruz “Lying Ted”. He later called the opposition Democratic Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton during the general election: “Crooked Hillary” as large Trump campaign crowds chanted “Lock her up”. Trump was caught on video boasting that he can forcibly grab women’s genitals because he is famous. This is sexual assault against women. The New York Times published over 2 pages of insults Trump had directed at virtually everybody and hundreds of lies he had told publicly and openly told during the 18 months of campaigning.
Everyone is shocked and wondering why people still voted enough for him to win the Presidency. Americans are now asking that since Trump has won, how we can tell our children that bullying others and lying are wrong. What are we going to teach our children? What will be our private and public morals among the youth and the young in colleges and universities? Does honesty, right or wrong matter anymore? Do the moral values we hold dear matter anymore?

Karl Marx said: “Religion is the opium of the people”. He meant that religion prevents the exploited masses under capitalism to realize their conditions of hardship. A similar question is: “Has the capitalist desire to win at any cost embedded in Donald Trump and in the American ethos finally stripped us of all our morals here in America?” What is winning a job without morals? What is winning the Presidential election without morals? What is building the wall to keep out illegal immigrants without any national ethos of morals? Is it that the internet, Face Book, and Twitter have unintended consequences? There are so many fake stories now on the internet that it is difficult to know what is true. The story now is that the internet, including Face Book, may have spread so many fake or false stories, that they may have helped Trump win. Does honesty and telling the truth matter anymore? Indeed, one can ask the biggest question, “What is the meaning of all our lives when most of our morals may have been stripped not just here in America, but the cancer will now probably rapidly spread all over the world due to the internet and globalization?”


  1. The same kind of atmosphere obtaining in the USA has been obtaining in Zambia. You see, some may argue my point, but go to the typical critical people that have observed and participated in Zambia’s political dispensation over the years, this years elections were deeply divisive. And the outcome of the results is there for all to see.
    To be point blunt, while you feel depressed professor with the outcome in US, I urge you to live with it because morals are quickly escaping from society especially in as far as politics are concerned.

    • Prof.
      Your is but just one view and you seem to be embedded into the left. Lies and duplicity cut across the two candidates and some would credit Trump with a greater measure of ‘honesty’ than Hilary who seems to thrive on creating smoke screens. Try a better analysis, especially by reading and listening to other commentators on these elections.

    • Esteemed Prof. Tembo, There is no post election depression in the USA except isolated cases of reactionaries behavior among die-hard followers. Such is no alien in a plural political system where provocateurs freely thrive be they those indoctrinated in Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals”. Beyond that, dangerous political activism will default itself to reality of the democratic system. There are many reasons Hillary failed to win. Just running a race on the basis of wanting to make history as the first Woman President was not a winning narrative among many voters. She failed to craft a captivating story across the the voting block other than animating her base. Given the 2 bad choices, voters opted for an outsider for a try. In the USA democracy, far left liberal constituency by…

    • In the USA democracy, the far left liberal constituency by itself is not enough to bag the Presidency if the conservative constituency on core values is out rightly marginalized. Kindly look deep into what really happened. As a sociologist you should see that the DNC party’s leading funders and operatives evidently decided that they didn’t have to pander to white people living outside of cities anymore, because with each passing year their voters were cementing a new majority and redrawing the electoral map overlooking core issues of a diverse national constituency. In this thinking, Democrats believed every election now was going to be a turnout election; get the people who already agree with you to the polls, and you don’t have to worry very much about persuading anyone else. Not smart…

    • Prof. Mwezinge
      I like that you got balls even to show your protests in America. Not all of us care about about Trump, he just as sketch as Prof of Sociology Mwezinge Tembo. I would vote for Mwezinge as Zambian president.


    • Trump is what Africa needs to be weaned from blaming the West all the time. Why do Africans behave like spoiled brats who cannot deal with each other and develop their long term interests? Africans focus on stealing, tribalism, promoting their selfish and short term interests. And then hope to be bailed out by the West. Please don’t send me that rubbish “How the West underdeveloped Africa” nonsense. Look at Zambia. Why cannot PF and its tribal cohorts accept that they ruined an economy that was on an upswing by looting $10 billion in 5 years and now have to look to IMF and China for a bail out? And if Africa is so good, how come people like Mwizenge have to seek their success and livelihoods in the West? Look at the hundreds of Africans drowning in the Mediterranean every day trying to…

    • TB saw a woman in his dream and assumed it was Hillary, but in fact it was Donald because Donald looks like an ugly old woman.

    • Trump concentrated on winning the Presidency according to the rules instead of getting the most votes in large cities. Before you participate in any activity in life, know the rules of the game.

  2. Trump psychologically played the BREXIT card on Americans, and more than anything else, it resonated with the gullible less-informed majority. As simple as that.
    But now, as with all big things, we must remember that acquisition is easier than execution. Trump has acquired, but can he execute? His history has shown NO relevant credible leadership qualities. He is NOT a rugs-to-riches person by far, hence has NO transferable skills. So, as the saying goes, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck then it is very naïve for anyone to expect an eagle to appear instead of a duck.
    I therefore submit that the execution of the Presidency of US is going to be full of uncertainties, U-turns, damage control…etc. A political paradigm shift. Hasn’t he already done a couple of U-turns?…

    • Cont’d … So, Fasten your seat-belts, people.
      On a good note, Hollywood must be rubbing their hands with glee to this, as it is like ‘manna from heaven’ in form of a block buster movie script for the near future.
      Mmmm….. Maybe I should buy shares in this movie….

  3. Dear Dr. Mwizenge Jack Sani Tembo, Professor of Sociology (there are many branches of sociology by they way for those who may not know).

    As an immigrant African-American (not sure as to whether you have renounced or denounced your Zambian citizenship), it is good to realize and confess that you live in a country full of depressed people. From a sociological or psychological ( the two being closely related) perspective, depressed people usually or more often than not, have blurred vision, which resulted in Trump triumphantly storming the white house to the surprise and shock of many depressed America, who as a result of their depressed state could not see clearly the tornado that was coming towards them. The under-estimated the power in the rhetoric of one Donald Trump. He knew and…

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