Photography Evan Browning

the politics of hope: photographing america's youth in the wake of the election

The American election of 2016 was one of the most divisive ever. We traveled across the country in its aftermath to find out the hopes, dreams, and fears of the kids who’ll be living with its repercussions for the next four years.

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Dec 7 2016, 3:00pm

Photography Evan Browning

Mia Rae, 18, model, Arizona

Who did you vote for? I voted for Hillary Clinton, because she had an actual plan to make our country better. What are your thoughts now that Donald Trump is president? I'm concerned that Trump doesn't address the environment and refuses to accept that global warming even exists. What do you think Barack Obama's legacy will be? Saving the country from a recession and providing health care to over 80% of citizens. Who would your dream president be? Bernie Sanders. I believe he could have made a huge difference in the way the country operates. Do you still believe in the American Dream? The American dream means something different to each individual person. I believe it's the privilege to live in a place where you are free, protected, and have equal opportunities. What are you most hopeful about in American politics? A better educational system, improved health care, and improved efforts to diminish our carbon footprint.

Photography Daria Kobayashi Ritch

Devan Mayfield, 25, artist, Houston

What are your thoughts now that Donald Trump is president? That there will be continued systematic oppression, a militarized police force, wars, division and poverty. What do you think Obama's legacy will be? I believe Obama's legacy will inspire many to reach for the stars. He has planted seeds of hope for many generations to come. What are you most hopeful about in American politics? That young people will come together, express themselves and use their voices to make major changes in our world. Who would your dream president be? A self-realized, humble and compassionate president would be great for the ecosystem, economy and foreign affairs.

Photography Stef Mitchell

Jasiri Anderson, 23, retail, Virginia 

Who did you vote for? I didn't. I'm not interested. What issues are most affecting you right now? My faith is in self, not in any issues that are far removed or self-righteous. What are your thoughts now Donald Trump is president? I like Arab women and Hasidic Jew fashion, life is dual. I'm not concerned by Trump. What are you most hopeful about in American politics? Absolutely nothing. Who would be your dream president? The Most Interesting Man in the World from the Dos Equis commercial. Do you believe in the American Dream? Group thinking is for weaklings, I don't generalize.

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Photography Stef Mitchell

Mahi Tim, 19, musician, Washington DC 

Who did you vote for? I didn't vote for anyone, I don't believe in it. What issues are most affecting you right now. Do you think President Trump can solve them? Racism and a lack of equality. I don't think Trump cares about those things. What do you think Barack Obama's legacy will be? Most drama in the White House. What are you most hopeful about in American politics? My goal is to travel the world and experience different ways of life. I'm not interested in America's politics. Who would be your dream president? My Canadian friend Tom, only because he's an actual genius. Do you believe in the American Dream? I don't believe in it anymore.

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Photography Sam Hiscox

Lily Walker, 21, model, Virginia 

What issues are most affecting you right now, and how do you hope Donald Trump will tackle these? It's incredibly difficult for young people to build a life for themselves, but I'm sure that Trump isn't interested in that. What do you think Barack Obama's legacy will be? He was the first relatable president, the first who looked like people I knew, who didn't speak to people like they were stupid. What are you most hopeful about in American politics? I'm not at all optimistic. I anticipate that the rights of women, people of color, and LGBTQ folks have now will be stripped away under Trump. Do you still believe in the American Dream? I'm not sure I want to be a part of that American Dream. I just want to try my best to be a good, educated person. 

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Photography Ryan Lowry

Juane Thompson, 20, skateboarder, Chicago 

What issues are most affecting you right now? As a young African American male, police brutality is probably the biggest issue affecting me right now. All I want is to walk around at night with no fear in my heart. What are your thoughts now Donald Trump is president? I'm worried that all hell will break loose. Trump supporters are more threatening than the killer clowns. What do you think Barack Obama's legacy will be? It will most definitely be Obamacare. Go socialized medicine! What are you most hopeful about in American politics? Honestly, the only thing I am anticipating is cheaper school. There isn't much else to be hopeful for. Who would your dream president be? Bernie Sanders. I don't need to explain why. Do you still believe in the American Dream? The American dream has been dead for years. A suburban home with a white fence sounds like a prison. 

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Photography Evan Browning

Caleb Thomas, artist, 21, Chicago 

What are the issues most affecting you right now? Civil rights, equal opportunities for jobs, wealth, and education. Homelessness should end today. There's a representation and acknowledgement issue for America's diverse citizenship. Internet access should be protected, untracked, uncensored, and free for all. What are your thoughts now Donald Trump is president? I'm worried that the positive progress that's possible and necessary, won't happen. What do you think Barack Obama's legacy will be? Obama is proof that change is real, that things don't have to be the way they've been. Who would your dream president be? All of us, because we're better together. Or Michelle Obama. Do you still believe in the American Dream? Yes, I believe in life, liberation, and the pursuit of happiness. What are you most hopeful about in American politics? I hope that democracy will be more appreciated and that more real people will get informed and involved.

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Photography Daria Kobayashi Ritch

Kris Kidd, 23, writer, Los Angeles 

Who did you vote for? Hillary Clinton, because Trump is a human dumpster fire. What issues are most affecting you right now, and how do you hope the new president will tackle these? To be honest, I'm a white male. I don't have very many issues facing me. What are your thoughts now Donald Trump is president? The apocalypse is coming. What do you think Obama's legacy will be? His swag. Do you still believe in the American Dream? The American Dream is, and has always been, super individualistic and materialistic, and in the grand scheme of things so am I... So yeah. I think it's alive and well. 

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Photography Evan Browning

Jabari Jacuzzi, 21, designer, Louisiana 

Who did you vote for? I didn't vote. I don't think one person can do anything to change the issues that are most affecting me. What are you most hopeful about in American politics right now? To be honest, nothing at all. Who would your dream president be? Oprah or Donald Glover. Do you still believe in the American Dream? Like all our dreams, you can only see it with your eyes closed. 

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Photography Chad Moore

Kate Bowman, 20, actress, New York City

Who did you vote for? I live in New York, everyone I knew here voted for Hillary. I voted for her because I'm concerned about the future of women's sexual health and reproductive rights. It would have been so fucking cool to have a woman, and a mother, play a key role in the decision making process on those issues. What are your thoughts now Donald Trump is president? How expensive it will be to move out of the US! Who would your dream president be? I want everything Zoe Leonard wants. Do you still believe in the American Dream? The American Dream means having the privilege to apply passion and care to all aspects of life. What are you most hopeful about in American politics? That one day we can live in a world where a woman is Commander-in-Chief. 

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Photography Zara Mirkin 

Amber Lucia, 19, PR and model, California 

What are you most hopeful about in American politics? For a future Michelle Obama presidency. Do you still believe in the American Dream? I believe the American dream is bullshit. I think the best option for America currently would be to "be single" for a while. I don't feel we need a leader right now. 

Jordan Norwood, 21, skater, California 

Who did you vote for? I didn't vote. Neither candidate would have done us any good. If I had to choose though, I'd choose Hillary Clinton. What are your thoughts now Donald Trump is president? I'm worried forthe well-being of the lower class. What do you think Barack Obama's legacy will be? The first black president. Legalized weed. Obamacare. Who would your dream president be? Gucci Mane.

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Photography Ben Grieme

Benjamin Gutierrez, 21, student, southern California 

What are the issues most affecting you right now? Access to education, equal rights, and the criminal justice system. What are your thoughts now Donald Trump is president? I'm worried that violence will be written into policy and that the notion of human rights will not only be violated, but disregarded entirely. What do you think Barack Obama's legacy will be? Obama will be remembered for elevating what it means to be the president of our country. He's the kind of leader you want to follow, and he's cool too. What are you most hopeful about in American politics? That the American people have begun to wake up and have realized that our political system is broken. Do you still believe in the American Dream? I believe in my dreams; I can't say they're uniquely American. 

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Photography Joost Vandebrug

Mae Powell, 20, barista, San Diego 

Who did you vote for? I voted Hillary Clinton because the other option was Donald Trump. Are you worried now Trump is president? Yeah. I'm worried he'll fuck over women and minorities. What do you think Barack Obama's legacy will be? The first President to use hashtags. Do you still believe in the American Dream? The American dream is founded on racism and sexism, when it works the poor and minorities are suppressed. What are you most hopeful about in American politics? That women will still rise to the top in politics. 

Wylan Kell, 19, baker, California 

Who did you vote for? Hillary Clinton, purely because I was scared of Trump. What are your thoughts now Trump is president? I'm worried that he'll make abortion illegal, that xenophobia and hostility to immigrants will rise. Who would your dream president be? Maybe my dog, because all presidents are puppets anyway. Do you still believe in the American Dream? The American Dream is whatever you make it. 

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Photography Daria Kobayashi Ritch

Julian Klincewicz, 21, artist, San Diego 

Who did you vote for? Hillary Clinton. The lesser of two evils. What are your thoughts now Donald Trump is president? The disharmony and ignorance he embodies is frightening beyond description. What issues are most affecting you right now? The affordability of education. We need to provide financial support for future generations. I want my tax money to go to schools and not the military. What do you think Barack Obama's legacy will be? A symbol of hope. Is there anything you're hopeful about in American politics? The fact that Bernie Sanders came close, maybe change will come. Do you still believe in the American Dream? I believe the American Dream means fame to a lot of Americans, it's a sign of social anxiety and pressure to succeed. 

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Photography Chadwick Tyler

Alice First, 18, model, California 

What issues are most affecting you right now? The biggest issue facing me and other young women at the moment is gender equality. What are your thoughts now Donald Trump is president? There are a great deal of things to worry about now. Mainly that people will allow their frustration to take the shape of the unsavory, racist, xenophobic notions epitomized by Trump himself. What do you think Barack Obama's legacy will be? Obama made marriage legal for everyone, reduced unemployment, created jobs, helped people gain healthcare access, and kept the US united. What are you most hopeful about in American politics? That in the future we will be able to build a stronger and more stable foundation for our government and country.

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Photography Zach Wolfe

Autumn Harris, 20, casting director, Atlanta 

What are your thoughts now Donald Trump is president? I'm most worried about the way the blatant racists will react. Knowing a man in power sides with them just increases their hate of minorities. It gives them a platform to be more open and congratulated for being that way. What do you think Barack Obama's legacy will be? Hopefully a positive one. It was good to see a person of colour come into office and have a smooth and solid eight year term. What are you most hopeful about in American politics? I hope for a change in our country where equality can be a thing. I hope that one day no judgements will be passed on anyone and we can all coexist happily. Who would be your dream president? Beyoncé. 

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Photography Chadwick Tyler

Eileen Kelly, 21, sex education blogger, Seattle 

What are the issues most affecting you right now? Immigration. My mother immigrated to the States and I think that is what this country was built upon, to be this melting pot. I think it's important that we keep true to that identity. What do you think Barack Obama's legacy will be? For a country with such a racially charged past, his election was monumental. It will forever provide every person of color an example to look up to. Who would your dream president be? Someone who puts the rights of the American people above their own personal interest. Do you still believe in the American Dream? Yes, I do believe in the American Dream. Do I think we have a lot to work on? Absolutely. What are you most hopeful about in American politics? I think we are moving in a positive direction. Gay marriage is legalized. Our last president was black. We clearly have a way to go, but I think we can all agree we have come a long way.

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Photography Joost Vanderbrug

Carson Junker, 16, student, California

What are your thoughts now Donald Trump is president? That people will lose their rights. Who would your dream president be? My dad. He's a lawyer, so he knows what affects people. What are you most hopeful about in American politics? America lets me live my life. I'm very thankful for that. 

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Photography Evan Browning

Danielle Ellsworth, 19, model, Phoenix 

What issues are most affecting you right now, and how do you hope Donald Trump will tackle these? Being able to pay for school. I hope that Trump will make it easier for people to afford to attend college. What do you think Barack Obama's legacy will be? I think Obama did an amazing job. 

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Photography Joost Vanderberg

Katja Golde, 16, student, San Francisco 

What do you think Barack Obama's legacy will be? I think he's shown POC that there is hope, that they can do anything. Who'd your dream president be? A mixture of my mom and Bernie Sanders. Do you still believe in the American Dream? I don't believe in it anymore, because it's no longer for everyone. 

Photography Chad Moore

Julia Cumming, 20, musician and model, NYC

What issues are most affecting you now, do you hope the new President will tackle them? Education, the water in Flint, Michigan, DAPL, climate change, POC rights, women's rights, LGBT rights, human rights. The government under Trump won't help us. We have to take things into our own hands. What do you think Obama's legacy will be? A president who always tried to do a lot of good, who had an amazing grace and strength about him. 

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Photography Ben Grieme

Marcus Cufie, 25, stylist, Baltimore 

Do you still believe in the American Dream, and if so, what does that mean in 2016? I think for the black folk, the American dream has always felt false. We are now coming to terms with the naivety of the founding of this country. The dream is changing, it's expanding to fit the variety of narratives we are becoming more aware of. 

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