That’s how it felt for Margaret Smiley, a 24-year old analyst at a health-care start-up in Manhattan. After casting an absentee ballot for the state of Michigan, Smiley just this week changed her permanent address and voter registration to New York. “This election just moved me to support the fact that I will never be moving back,” she says.It just felt like my identity had been taken out from under me.Margaret SmileyIt was a thought she had already been entertaining for some time, but still, Election Night felt like a punch to the gut: She expected Michigan, which had gone blue in every presidential election she’d been alive to witness, would do the same this time around. When news outlets began calling the state for Trump, “I can’t really describe the feeling, but it just felt like my identity had been taken out from under me — like this really steady rug of the values that I held and what I considered to be important as an American, as a Michigander, was just completely swept out from under my feet.”There was also a more intimate sense of anger. “I feel personally hurt by my neighbors, by my friends, by my teachers, by my coaches,” Smiley says — all the people who defined her childhood in the “very, very conservative” town of Rockford, Michigan, a suburb of Grand Rapids with a population of around 6,000 people. “All the values of the Midwest — working hard and doing good and being kind — how can you turn your back on that … and vote for someone who has acted against and represents everything that is fundamentally against those values?”
Thank you for not coming back.