The 2016 U.S. presidential election yielded distress among many individuals who identify with historically marginalized groups. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging and psychological measures to test the hypotheses that neural response to reward, probing the nucleus accumbens (NAcc) and medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), and social support would ameliorate the effects of election distress among those who felt negatively affected by the result. Within 4 months of the 2016 U.S. presidential election, we tested human participants who felt affected by the election result (n = 40, Mage = 21.9 years, 28 female) and control participants (n = 20, Mage = 20.25 years, 12 female) who did not feel affected by the election result. Election-related distress significantly differed between the groups, and distress accounted for over half of the relationship between discrimination experiences and depression symptoms among affected individuals. NAcc activation, connectivity between the NAcc and mPFC, and family support moderated the associations between election distress and depression symptoms. Prior work has primarily investigated mesolimbic circuitry in reward and motivation contexts, but our findings extend the relevance of functioning in this circuitry to ameliorating psychological manifestations of acute distress after shifts in political climate. These findings highlight the psychological effects of this important historic event and identify neurobiological and social mechanisms associated with individual differences in response to election distress.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT The 2016 U.S. presidential election was psychologically distressing for many individuals. In this study, election-related distress was linked to depression symptomology for affected individuals but not control individuals. However, among individuals distressed by the election, those with greater neural response to reward and higher family support were protected against these depressive symptoms. Previous research has examined how neural response to reward after a discrete event ameliorates clinical symptoms. The current study extends this knowledge by demonstrating that both the brain and social support may play influential roles in dampening affective responses to ongoing and anticipated distress related to political climate. Leveraging this finding to enact interventions that dampen continuous distress, political or otherwise, is a promising endeavor for future research.