Just under a year has passed since President Trump took office, with many Americans still reeling from a vicious election cycle of impassioned debates, bitter controversies and passive-aggressive tweets.
As the two candidates were battling each other’s visions for the country, Americans were experiencing their own sense of division. If there is one discovery 2016 revealed, it’s that the country is deeply polarized. The Pew Research Center has found that the U.S. is more split between party lines than they have been in recent decades.
In Dutchess County, New York – a blend of middle-class suburbia, high-end weekender properties and economically troubled small cities – division is especially fierce. On Nov. 8, its residents split into nearly equal red and blue halves: 47.9 percent voted for Clinton and 47.6 percent voted for Trump. In a county of nearly 300,000 people, a mere 464 votes separated the two candidates.
Out of this tense climate came life-changing political awakenings: Some used to ignore politics and skip out on voting. Others with public service experience found themselves reinvigorated by the past two years. Regardless of the past, these folks are now leading rallies, running for office and challenging local laws by transforming their views into tangible action.
This video series documents the stories of nine people in and around Dutchess County who became more politically active during the election America will never forget.