Kyle Phipps remembers exactly where he was on Nov. 8, 2016 — election day.
Phipps watched results stream in on Fox News in his apartment from 6 p.m. through 3 a.m. When he learned President Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election, he said he was happily surprised.
But he said he knew Trump would win once he clinched Florida.
“You have to go into a situation knowing that you may come out with a loss or things might not go the way you want,” the 20-year-old said.
Across town, Jordan Brown, a then-freshman in UF College Democrats, sat at a watch party in high spirits.
As the elections turned against Hillary Clinton, Brown left to her apartment.
“When you lose Florida, you have essentially lost the election,” the 19-year-old said. “When it went for Donald Trump, it was kind of the nail in the coffin for a lot of us.”
Brown, a UF sustainability and the built environment sophomore, said she was disappointed after the work she did helping Clinton’s campaign.
“I really, really, really believed in Hillary Clinton,” she said.
Stephen Craig, a UF political science professor on political behavior, said Republicans and Democrats voted for their own parties as they normally do, but factors like identity, education, racial resentment and economic instability had a larger effect on the results than previous years.
The election was about identity politics, particularly involving people’s racial and religious identities, Craig said.
After the election, Will Atkins, the executive director of Multicultural and Diversity Affairs, said students were concerned about the future of their country.
“We did see students expressing their shock and just curiosity around how the results played out, but we also recognize that some students across campus were in favor of the results,” he said.
To address the student’s concerns, Atkins said the office hosted a reflection dialogue space, co-sponsored with the Counseling & Wellness Center, along with an inauguration viewing and political action forum.
Atkins said even today, student concern about the state of the nation comes up.
“Based on what we’re seeing, we don’t know what to expect from week to week, so I think the adjustment period is still happening,” he said.
However, the election made students more eager to get involved, Atkins said.
“I think students have become more aware of their responsibilities in remaining civically engaged and using their voice for good,” Atkins said.
The remnants of a year-old graffitied swastika still mark Ronnie Sartain’s sidewalk.
Last October, someone spray painted the Nazi symbols in purple ink on the Trump/Pence signs the 70-year-old put out on his front lawn. The sidewalk leading up to the retiree’s Gainesville home and his garage door were also tagged.
No matter how many times Sartain, who doesn’t align himself with a party, tried scrubbing the symbol off his sidewalk, he couldn’t completely remove it.
When the former U.S. Army physicist voted for Donald Trump, he said it was about one thing: change.
“It had nothing to do with Obama, nothing to do with Hillary Clinton, nothing to do with the party,” he said. “We need a change of things.”
After one year in office, he said he feels the president is still learning the game. The real power is in Congress, he said.
As Sartain looked down at the Swastika shade that stains his sidewalk, he said he’s still determined. He’s ready to research candidates for the 2018 and 2020 elections and he still plans to put signs on his front lawn.
“The more people out there getting involved… more better,” he said.