For a little over a month now, I’ve been trying to understand how we’ve come to this point. After an unpredictable amount of campaign success, Donald Trump is the last Republican candidate standing. He’s now poised to become the party’s presumptive nominee for the 2016 Presidential Election, and there’s at least a 33.333% chance that he’ll be our next Commander in Chief. What the entire fuck just happened?
It’s not that I’m genuinely surprised by this disturbing revelation. I knew back in 2010 that we were in for a shit show when the latest vile incarnation of The Republican Party, otherwise known as the Tea Party movement, took hold of the country. Anytime a Cuban-American (Marco Rubio), whose parents are immigrants, is elected Senator of a state with one of the nation’s highest concentrations of immigrants (Florida), with the support of the Tea Party’s anti-immigration agenda, then proceeds to use his newly acquired power to degenerate the ascension of immigrants, you know something’s wrong.
People were royally pissed when a Black man became the President of the United States of America. And in their pisstivity, they acted out in the manner we’ve come to expect when a person of color succeeds at something that’s been historically White. Vehemently racist. “You gon’ get this hate, boy!”
No, what genuinely perplexed me was why people are supporting Donald Trump. Specifically, why working-class, semi-educated, and otherwise decent human beings are supporting Donald Trump. The notion just didn’t register with the traditional thought lodged in my college educated brain.
Sure, I could surmise that people would vote Republican. I fully expected Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz or even Rubio to gain the party’s nomination. But Trump? He isn’t even a real Republican. One can make the argument that he’s not a politician.
So you’re supporting a billionaire who represents the interests of other billionaires, and you’re not a billionaire? You’re putting your faith in a man that has a reputation for making piss poor business decisions? You believe in a man who has a disturbing record of misogyny and racist rhetoric? You’re voting for an oversized Oompa Loompa who refers to himself as “The Donald” and cheats at golf? You’re fucking kidding me, right?
So, I set off on a journey to figure it out. I recently had some in-depth conversations with five Trump supporters in the great State of Alabama. The names have been changed as each of them declined to be publicly identified. They are listed below:
Lisa: Caucasian, 42 years old, married with two children, office manager
Daryl: Caucasian, 33 years old, single with no children, package delivery driver
Gerald: African-American, 37 years old, single with no children, youth pastor
Bob: Caucasian, 55 years old, divorced with two children, owner of building company
Cody: Caucasian, 20 years old, single with no children, college student
As you can see, it’s not a varied bunch. All of the individuals I spoke with identified themselves as Christians, except Cody. He informed me that he is an Atheist.
I spent at least 2 hours talking with each person. I wasn’t poised to engage in a debate or even a discussion for that matter. My views didn’t have a place here. Instead, I was only interested in understanding their perspectives and the various reasons for their support of Trump.
While much of Trump’s rhetoric is deeply rooted in hate and bigotry, many of the people I spoke with didn’t convey the same rancor as their desired candidate. Yes, there were certainly some racially insensitive, and gender-biased undertones. But what I mostly garnered from listening to their various concerns was fear and anxiety rooted in misinformation.
For instance, Daryl told me that he was supporting Trump because of his distrust of traditional politicians and his growing frustration with the ineffective policing of illegal immigration.
Daryl says, “I’m sick and tired of Obama raising the national debt and it ain’t fair that I have to foot the bill for programs I don’t believe in,” specifically referring to Planned Parenthood and the NEA. He also said, “It just isn’t fair that people are losing their jobs to Mexicans who don’t pay any taxes when I was born here and have to pay taxes.” He then said, “I’m a Christian, and I don’t believe in abortion, so why do the taxes I pay have to go to supporting abortion?”
Lastly, he stated that just last week there was a robbery involving two “Mexicans” which resulted in the shooting death of a woman. He said, “more needs to be done to keep them out.” I asked if he was aware of any legislation that cracked down on illegal immigration in Alabama and he replied, “There is no such law because they’re still here.”
So here’s a couple of things to note. Daryl doesn’t know that Alabama passed one of the harshest anti-immigration laws in the nation. He also doesn’t understand that abortions account for less than 5% of the services that Planned Parenthood provides, with the other 95% allocated towards screenings, prevention and treatment of STDs, and contraception. Moreover, tax dollars cannot be used for abortion. It’s illegal.
Furthermore, while he vehemently opposes the NEA, Daryl doesn’t know what the acronym stands for, just that it represents, “unnecessary money for artsy folks.” Note: it stands for National Endowment for the Arts and it’s much more than allocating money for “artsy people.”
When speaking with Gerald, he stated that he was supporting Trump because he was a huge supporter of Ben Carson’s meteorically terrible bid to become the 2nd Black man to call The White House home. Thus, when Carson declared his endorsement for Trump, he followed suit, blindly supporting Carson once again.
He also said given his profession, he was Pro-Life, unless of course conception occurred as the result of sexual assault. I asked the obvious question of why on God’s green Earth he would support Trump given his ethnicity. “Bro, you’re Black, and you’re supporting Trump? That doesn’t make sense to me, or most other Black people for that matter.”
“I know it’s not a popular choice, especially given my skin tone,” he said. “But I believe he’s the best candidate that’s available.”
He then went on to say, “In the end, I probably won’t vote. If I do, it’ll be Trump. But it’s not like voting matters. As long as I’m busy doing the Lord’s work, then that’s a better impact than voting in my book.”
The other three people I spoke with shared similar convictions about Trump. Lisa listed morality and “the growing abomination of the transgender community” as a few of her reasons. Cody said his father lost his job as a result of “ObamaCare” which then led to his struggle with substance abuse. Thus, he is now anti-Obama and anti-Democrat.
The most compelling person I spoke with was Bob. He has been financially affected as a result of Alabama’s HB56 law. He told me when members of his staff discovered the bill’s existence they vanished seemingly overnight. Since then, he’s struggled to find adequate, cost-effective labor.
“People don’t want to work anymore,” he says. “They just want to get paid $10 (an hour), take breaks, and do shitty work. I didn’t have that problem with Hispanics. They came in, worked their asses off for $7 (an hour). And they never took breaks. It could be as hot as a hooker’s twat in hell, and they’d still be out there working.”
Bob has also benefited as a direct result of Obama’s landmark Affordable Care Act – or ObamaCare – due to a preexisting heart condition. “I own my own (business), and no one (insurance company) wanted to cover me,” he says. “I had a heart attack a few years ago. Too much red meat, booze, and women, I suppose. But ObamaCare ain’t so bad. I got coverage. I’m able to spend time with my granddaughter. I’m alive dammit. That’s all that matters.”
Despite this, he still supports Trump, because he’s simply tired of being “politically correct.” As he so eloquently put it, “Everyone’s too damn sensitive these days. (You) Can’t say shit without offending someone these days. My son’s gay, but I didn’t raise him that way. I called him a faggot once, and he hasn’t spoken to me since. He’s being a pussy over some words I said. But he still spends my money. That’s what’s wrong with this country. Trump will change that.”
I casually asked him, “Would you call me a nigger?”
Without an inkling of hesitation, he replied, “Of course not! From what I can tell you’re a bright young man, and you’ve got a hell of a (golf) swing. You’re not like these other ghetto folks out here blaring that terrible (rap) shit making your car shake.”
Only I was. When I pulled up to Eagle Point Golf Club a few hours preceding our chance meeting, I was bumping the hell out of ASAP Ferg’s “Hungry Ham” with my windows down. So if he witnessed my “ghetto” entrance before our round of golf together, Bob would’ve labeled me a “nigger” despite my impressive golf skills and uncanny wit.
As you can see, on the surface it may seem like the individuals I spoke with are just abhorrent, intolerant ass-holes. But as I said before, it’s not that they’re flat-out bigoted racists. (Although they may be a little bit racist, probably un poquito.) They’re mostly just misinformed, which then sparks their anxiety and subsequent distrust of the establishment.
Most of all, they’re just scared shitless. Bob is afraid the business he built from nothing – real nothing, not Trump nothing – will dissipate because his children have no interest in it. It also concerns him that his son will be hurt, maybe even killed, because of his homosexual lifestyle.
Daryl is genuinely panicked about China one day owning the US due to the country’s increasing national debt. He fears that he may lose his job and won’t be able to take care of his mother.
Tina just wants her kids to be “healthy, happy and not gay, so they don’t go to hell.” Cody doesn’t understand why his dad lost his job as a result of ObamaCare while Gerald doesn’t appreciate the real value of his vote. And they’re all getting their news from the same sources: Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, and The Daily Caller. “None of that liberal media bullshit,” says Cody.
What I find most ironic is that The Republican party deployed every fear mongering tactic at their disposable in hopes of building a strong base to propel their most prominent candidate to the throne of the Oval Office. They did so without hesitation, confident that the result of their mass solicitation of calumnious news would pervade the minds of their viewers and listeners.
And it worked. But instead of backing the party’s presumptive favorites (most notably Jeb Bush) people became enraged, not only by the believable bullshit that was being shoveled down their throats, but also with the existing Republican politicians who apparently did nothing while Obama destroyed their country. They wanted a leader who could make America great again. Who better to do so than the man who gave us “The Apprentice” over-priced luxury condos?
Trump has said many times he is the only candidate fit for 1600 Pennsylvania. After all, he’s the only candidate who’s uninfluenced by special interest groups. He’s the only one who’s funding his candidacy to the White House. He’s the only person who’s smart enough and bold enough to take on the tasks that traditional lawmakers have been afraid to tackle. And while this grandiloquence has resonated in the hearts and minds of those most apprehensive to change, it’s the antithesis of Democracy. One man cannot make America great again (assuming you believe it was once great) because one man didn’t do it in the first place. Unless of course you’re an incendiary autocrat. In that case, you can do anything. You’re welcome America.