In the wake of the stunning election result, many members have asked for information to help them talk about the election with their students.
This brief Q and A is for use with students, members or anyone you wish to share its contents with.
Is Donald Trump the President now?
Mr. Trump will take his oath, and become President, in January. Until then, Barack Obama remains President.
What’s an oath?
The new president makes a promise, in front of the world, to defend our country and to uphold the Constitution. This is a very important promise because many things he has said in the past are not allowed under our Constitution.
Can President Trump really do the things he said he would do to people?
Candidates for President often say things they think people want to hear and make promises they can’t keep. Mr. Trump said many such things.
There are not many things that President Trump, or any president, can do on their own. Things like building huge walls, or deporting millions of people, cost many millions or billions of dollars.
Our government’s structure prevents one person from having too much power. Congress controls the money needed to pay for massive projects. Trump would have to explain how much something like a huge wall would cost, then find money to pay for it.
Many ideas that Trump talked about are very expensive and, also, not very popular. Not everyone who voted for Trump actually wants him to do all the things he said. They wanted a change. President Obama is a Democrat and has been in office eight years. It is very hard for someone from the same political party as the sitting, two term, president to be elected. Sometimes the most important thing to voters is change. That is what they voted for in this election.
The other thing is that many ideas that Trump proposed, such as keeping people out of our country based on their religion, are clear violations of our Constitution. That means it would be an illegal act and he would not be allowed to do that, even if Congress supported the idea.
Our Supreme Court will be watching to make sure that the Constitution is followed.
Should we be afraid?
No. Americans are good people. We have elections every four years. About half the people aren’t happy with whomever wins every presidential election.
We live in a free society – we’re allowed to protest things we believe are unfair or wrong.
We have a Congress that can stop a president from doing things that hurt people.
We have a Supreme Court that makes sure that the President does not violate the law.
This is a tough time for many people, but America has always survived.
We will be ok.