These essential pieces of writing on the presidential election help explain how we got here in 2016, and imagine where we go now.
Posted on November 14, 2016, at 4:47 p.m. ET
We've collected some essential personal essays, cultural criticism, and feature stories published by BuzzFeed READER and BuzzFeed News about the 2016 presidential election. Together, they aim to answer the question of how and why the country elected Donald Trump president — and to make sense of how we feel, think, and live in our new reality.
"Though I’m far from home, the tenor of anti-Muslim discourse is still the same – and escalating."
"America is deeply unfair, and both parties believe that, even if they vehemently disagree on who is being shafted and who is enjoying positive discrimination."
"Trump had convinced these people they were living over a hellmouth and he alone could save them. Forget Buffy Anne Summers, vampire slayer, and welcome Donald J. Trump, CEO-in-chief."
"The anti-Islam group ACT for America has a direct line to Donald Trump. Now, it has seized on allegations of a hideous crime in Idaho’s Magic Valley to spread its reach among regular Americans."
"While every woman I spoke to had a different way to excuse the allegations against Trump, one thing remained constant: It does not matter what he does, or what other women say Trump’s done to them. These women, they’re with him."
"As the final weeks of the presidential campaign devolve into accusations of conspiracy and fraud, the most talked-about Trump supporter might be a poll-hating Twitter pundit who has no official role with the campaign. Bill Mitchell is here to win the ground game in our hearts."
"Our analysis of three hyperpartisan right-wing Facebook pages found that 38% of all posts were either a mixture of true and false or mostly false, compared to 19% of posts from three hyperpartisan left-wing pages that were either a mixture of true and false or mostly false. The right-wing pages are among the forces — perhaps as potent as the cable news shows that have gotten far more attention — that helped fuel the rise of Donald Trump."
"She’s not in the photos of Trump rallies. She doesn’t have his sign on her lawn. She doesn’t like everything he says. But she’s voting for him."
"In recent weeks, several prominent female Christian authors, bloggers, and musicians have denounced Trump — one part of a larger renovation and rejuvenation of old-fashioned ideas of evangelical Christianity. But that doesn’t mean these women, or their followers, are voting for Hillary."
"She is, after all, a daddy’s girl: her father without the makeup, the combover, the ill-fitted suits, the yelling, the rambling, the Twitter rants, the paranoia, all the things that make him difficult to sell to the most monied and powerful voting bloc in America, which is increasingly desperate for a presentable avatar."
"The most surprising thing about last night’s result is that it wasn’t a surprise. Traveling around the country in 2016 gave me plenty of signals as to where America was headed."
"This election has brought into the open all of the things that people used to be too polite to say when they thought Jews might be listening. It turns out that we were naïve to think that they weren’t thinking them anymore. It turns out they’ve been thinking those things all along — and this election emboldened them to bring their hate and vitriol out into the open."
"This election ratified our nation’s tolerance of racism, bigotry, xenophobia — and abject disrespect for women."
"Sometimes I wish I could ask America when, exactly, it made its mind up about us."
"My son and daughter found out yesterday that Donald Trump would be their new president. Today, and for the rest of their lives, I need to make them believe that their survival and success is still inevitable."
"I am devastated. I am furious. And I am sorry, because you deserve better."
"They laughed at him. They taunted him. They snubbed him and sneered at him. And then, in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, he won."
"Donald Trump’s campaign vowed to scrub Obama’s executive actions, and his transition is led by anti-LGBT figures. This is what’s on the table for LGBT people."
"The journey from hopelessness to hopeful is so arduous and costly that we can’t slip back into that dark space so quickly. Disappointment doesn’t mean resignation. Setback doesn’t mean defeat."
"2016 was supposed to be the year of holding powerful men accountable for sexual misconduct. Then Donald Trump was elected. Where do young women go from here?"
"People magazine’s decision to celebrate the Trump family — after their reporter said she was sexually assaulted by Donald Trump — is an acknowledgment of what their readership desires."
"Every single day since she died, I have wished for my mother back. But I’m glad she won’t be here to witness the next four years, and that she gave me what I need to get through them."
"Three students from Dayton told me the same thing — on their campus and on their Facebook feed, they were surrounded by anti-Trump rhetoric. “I never spoke my mind,” Matt, a freshman, explained. “It wasn’t worth it to get into it.” But they’d driven the hour to Cincinnati to watch their candidate speak his."
"The president-elect condemned Hamilton for directing a controversial curtain call speech at Mike Pence. But theater artists won’t shy away from letting their voices be heard."
"Time has long chosen controversial, notorious, or reviled figures as their “Person of the Year.” But in the age of Trump, has the nuance of “winning” the honor disappeared?"
"Analyze Trump as a politician and you’ll only end up confused. Study him like a celebrity, however, and every baffling action makes sense."
"At a victory rally last week in Pennsylvania, the crowd was full of people who support Trump, even if they were too young to vote for him."
"When I traveled to the Manzanar and Poston internment camps after the election, I realized that the past has thrust itself into our present."
Rachel Sanders is a senior culture editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Rachel Sanders at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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