Right now, we’re going to have a conversation about Donald Trump. It seems like that’s all people can talk about these days, but it’s hard to avoid the massive, orange elephant in the room. After a particularly heated discussion with a strongly conservative individual on Twitter, I felt the need to make a few distinctions clear about my take on the Republican Presidential candidates and their supporters.
In the beginning of last year, as the upcoming election season approached, I came to the realization that I am most certainly a Democrat despite the fact that I still hold many conservative values that “hardcore” Liberals would scoff at me for possessing. Not only did I look deeply into my own political views during this time, but also those of my counterparts: Republicans. With Trump’s off-putting rhetoric taking full-form, touching on topics from building a wall, to mocking a disabled journalist, two very different groups of supporters have sprouted.
Of course this grouping does not encompass every Trump supporter, but these are the two major distinctions that I believe should be made within his voters in order to better understand why he’s one of the most popular politicians in the United States.
The first group of voters are the more rational, well-educated, economically conservative individuals. Their decision to vote for Trump is driven by their adherence to certain economic ideals and initiatives, which no democratic leader would ever institute, such as changing the tax code or his corporate tax reform. They simply believe that Trump is the strongest candidate to better the economy based on his background. If there is such a thing as a logical reason to vote for Trump, this is it. Although his true economic prowess is debatable, it is clear that Trump is the only “business man” in this race, which is the sole issue many of these voters are following. For adults who would never vote for a Democrat because the candidate’s policies are too leftist, they are left with very few options:
1. They could vote, usually with reluctance, for Trump, a negotiating savvy demagogue.
2. They could vote, with even more reluctance, for Cruz, the man who sleeps with a Bible tucked under one arm and a copy of the Constitution (with the Establishment Clause conveniently crossed out) under the other.
3. Or they could vote for Kasich, a candidate with no chance at the nomination (outside of a brokered convention) only because people have insisted he is unelectable, likely because he is the most liberal out of the three, but still wants to make sure women everywhere have no access to healthcare. Fantastic.
I do feel bad for this group of Trump supporters, but I am by no means excusing the voters. These Republicans are, for the most part, not terrible people, they simply have very specific economic and/or certain political beliefs that they will not vote against, even if that means voting for Donald Trump.
Now, we’ve reached the fun part, the other group of voters that are racist and create hateful stereotypes stereotypes perpetuated by the hordes of people who believe that all Muslims are terrorists, LGBT people are going to Hell, and that President Obama is actually Satan incarnate. It is this group of individuals that scares me, and millions of others, to death. Trump may be a "good business man" in the eyes of some, but he is also inspiring and fueling hate in millions of Americans to gain votes.
There are people who have never voted in their life who are registering just because they think that Trump will deport all 11 million undocumented immigrants, even though this plan would require the U.S. to essentially become a military state. Trump’s political success has inspired so many of these bigots to wear their hate with pride, gathering at his rallies to bond over their mutual anger. It’s terrifying.
This is exactly why I wanted to make the clear distinction between the reluctant Trump voters and the fervent Trump supporters. From a conservative stance, I don’t think Trump would be the worst choice for the Republican nominee out of the three current options... if only he wasn’t a fear-mongerer.
At the end of the day, my views on the candidates are very simple. I don’t want to live in a country where my friends with different skin colors or my friends who wear hijabs have to go into hiding because our leader encourages violence towards his opposition. Many straight, white men have no problems voting for Trump because none of the hate has been directed towards them. Every time I enter a gas station and see a man with his beloved Trump hat, my blood runs cold. I am one of the people he targets. My friends are people he targets. How can I live in a country where my President believes I am a second-class citizen? How can my friends live in a country where their President believes they are terrorists?
Regardless of his economic abilities, I believe Donald Trump would tear this country apart, limb from limb.
Gates is a contributor for The Millennial Times.