An Open Letter to my Friends Voting for Donald Trump,

In May of 2016, with Trump standing as the sole nominee of the Republican party, it has dawned on me that I may potentially know people who have the inclination to vote for Donald Trump. This both frightens and astounds me.

It was June of 2015.

I remember it all so vividly.

I was snacking on a cranberry-orange muffin when I learned that Donald Trump was running for president. I distinctly remember scoffing and thinking, “Again? He threatens us with this every year” and promptly disregarding the idea. Honestly, I never thought that the man would make it this far.

Later that same month, I was sipping on something delicious at my local coffee shop when I watched the video where Trump referred to Mexican immigrants as rapists and drug dealers. I had some choice words about him on that day as well… While I was still under the impression that he wouldn’t make it far, I began to develop my association between Trump and bigotry. Admittedly, for much of Trump’s campaign, I have entertained, debated, and joked over premises which confidently and indiscriminately associate Trump supporters with fanaticism, white supremacy, self-loathing (for those few minorities who admit to supporting Trump), and anti-feminine sentiment.

Now, in May of 2016, with Trump standing as the sole nominee of the Republican party, it has dawned on me that I may potentially know people who have the inclination to vote for Donald Trump. This both frightens and astounds me. But while the previously mentioned characteristics certainly exist within many of Trump’s supporters (specifically those portrayed in the media) I recognize that it would be fallacious to essentialize the millions of Americans who plan to cast their ballot in his favor.

Newsflash: Supporting Trump does not necessarily imply that you agree with 100% of his sentiments, opinions, or policies. It just means that your views align more comfortably with Trump than they do with the other candidates.

Disclaimer: I firmly believe that if one’s support for Trump stems solely from his verbal eccentricity and brashness, then their support is founded on media mongering, and bigoted sentiments.

Let’s stop for a moment to compare the campaign policies of Donald Trump to democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.

Clinton

Topic Position

Trump

Topic Position

The above charts do more than simply demonstrate the differences between the two candidates, they amplify the range with which a Trump supporter might occupy.

azelia banks trump

On one end of the spectrum, we have rapper Azealia Banks, who is supporting Trump on the basis of his economic policies (along with a confusing theory about how his immigration policies can benefit the black community). Alternatively, a Trump supporter might base their decision on his (new) conservative positions on highly controversial social issues such as  abortion and same-sex marriage. Acknowledging the variance that exists within the republican party, allows me to not be so entirely weighed down by the assumption that all Trump supporters are chauvinistic individuals (unless they fall under the scope of my initial disclaimer).

If I force myself to look beyond the loathsome comments that Trump has made at his various conventions what I, and many other non-extremist Trump supporters, are left with is a fairly average, conservative candidate. Albeit one who, on various social issues lacks clear conviction and resolve: (see article on abortion) // (see article on same-sex marriage).

That being said, I think it is incredibly important for my friends who do support Trump to recognize the entirety of the man you are supporting. As a socially conscious black woman, I do not take kindly to many of the remarks that Donald Trump has stated:

donald trump anti-feminist comment

As a woman, I consider him to be misogynistic, debasing, and regressive. One of the most unfortunate characteristics about Trump is his “hatred” of women. Trump has a well documented, and heatedly discussed history, of publically debasing and discrediting women.

“Trump considers himself such a virile example of masculinity that he’s qualified to serve as the ultimate arbiter of femininity. He relishes judging women on the basis of their looks, which he seems to believe amounts to the sum of their character.” (Foer)

Trump’s remarks about Rosie O’Donnell, Cher, Megyn Kelly, Carly Fiorina, and Hillary Clinton have all been centered upon their feminity by using their physical appearance or personal sex life as a means of discrediting them on a professional and political level.


newt on trump

As it relates to foreign policy, I think Trump is brash and unfit for diplomatic service. In his foreign policy speech at the Mayflower Hotel, Trump vowed to, “shake [the] rust off of American foreign policy.” After being criticized for mispronouncing Tanzania in this same speech, 2012 Republican presidential nominee, Newt Gingrich responded with the featured tweet. Thank you so much Newt Gingrich for this thorough, and highly critical rebuttal– but I must disagree with you. Trump’s inability to be bothered to learn how to correctly pronounce the name of a leading African nation is a physical realization of the ignorant buffoonery which will be his presidency. Perhaps some of the “rust” plaguing American foreign policy is linked to us not paying other countries the respect of knowing how to pronounce their names… How many school children in the American education system can even point out Tanzania on a map? Just something to think about.


make america great againBranching off of that, I believe Trump is disillusioned regarding the status of America. When Donald Trump says, “Let’s make America great again” I am forced to ask myself, “for who?” and moreover, “when has America ever been great?” Was it back during our days of slavery? Perhaps it was during the time when women couldn’t vote or own property. Ah! It must have been during the Great Depression when masses of veterans were homeless. I suppose it could also be aligned with the Japanese concentration camps of WW2, or the devastation which followed Hurricane Katrina.

“[When] asked when he thought American power had been at its peak, Mr. Trump reached back 116 years to the turn of the 20th century, the era of another unconventional Republican, Theodore Roosevelt” (Sanger, Haberman).

See, for Trump, life has never been hard. Trump has the unique privilege of being able to think back on the 1940s and 50s and wish he had existed in that space. This is a blatant display of disillusionment and white masculine privilege. To put things into perspective– In this time period, Rosa Parks had not yet refused to give up her seat, schools were still racially segregated, gay rights were nonexistent, and women were still not allowed to attend Harvard Medical School. This was the reality of America for racial minorities and women in the 20th century. This is the period that Donald Trump considers to be G R E A T.


For me, Donald Trump and his candidacy are founded on principles that I consider offensive, regressive, or hyperprivileged to the extent that they are irrational (ex. wall on the Mexican border). But for some, for those of you who are actually voting for Donald Trump, his flagrancy is outweighed by his conservative policy. I respect your stance. Still, as a friend of some potential Trump supports I encourage you all to do a few things:

  • Do your Research
    • This is not a thinly veiled attempt to steer you away from voting for Trump. Rather, it is a genuine plea for you to gather a well-rounded understanding of your candidate. One of the things that separated this campaign from those in recent history is the role that media has played. Trump’s public image is heavily skewed by media representation. Everything that he says, does, and implies is reported upon, discussed, and mocked. This is why his candidacy was considered a joke for so long. However, I think that it is very important to move beyond the bias of present day media and dig into the history of your candidate. Understand who he is today, and compare that with who he was 10/20/30 years ago. I believe this will allow you to build a profile of your candidate, and determine if he is truly the man you believe him to be.
  • Interrogate Yourself
    • Engage in the process of introspection. I don’t think there is any single act which is more insightful than the process of deep thought. When you come to a more thorough understanding of yourself, you can then substantiate and find confidence in your beliefs. BUT, if in your self-reflection, you come to realize that the rational behind your voting decision is based on something arguably problematic. Take this knowledge, and work to eradicate the evil. On some levels, we’re all problematic (I myself struggle to combat my habitual return to classist ideals). But what separates the bigot, from the humanitarian is a willingness to better oneself. To improve upon the You of today, in order to mold a more positive, loving, and tolerant You for tomorrow.
  • Abandon Party Allegiance
    • There are few things that I hate to hear more in political speech than, “I don’t support/acknowledge/trust so&so because they are a Democrat/Republican.” This type of rhetoric is incredibly limiting, and can lead one to vote based on party allegiance rather than common sense or personal values. I am a proud registered Independent (although that word holds less and less weight every damn day)– but I am so because it allows me to vote for whomever I chose, regardless of their place in our twisted 2-party system. This is a value that I believe we should all hold. Just as society is evolutionary, so are politics. Look at the core issues, track records, rhetoric, and behavioral history when voting for a candidate, not their (R) vs (D) nameplate.

To be fair, I honestly have no idea how many of my friends are voting for Trump. In fact, it’s entirely possible that I penned this letter entirely in vain. But I think it is very important to acknowledge that this election cycle has taught me a lot about myself. Instead of actively avoiding those whose opinions directly oppose mine (a habit which I adopted in high school to spare myself from uncomfortable situations,) I am now able to tackle them head-on, and put my liberalism to the test.

As a liberal, I have always claimed to stand for the greatest social good. Surely that aim cannot be achieved by blocking out the 45% of Americans who support Donald Trump! Instead, I am choosing to heed the not-so-ancient wisdom of Steven Covey who cautioned, “Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood”

Wise words Steven Covey… wise words.

Sincerely,

Anjel.


Sources
Foer, Franklin. “Donald Trump Has One Core Philosophy: Misogyny.” Slate Magazine.                      Slate, 24 Mar. 2016. Web. 19 May 2016.
“Hillary Clinton 2016 Election vs Donald Trump 2016 Election.” Inside Gov. N.p., n.d. Web.               19 May 2016.
Milbank, Dana. “Trump’s Many Racist Supporters.” Washington Post. The Washington Post,              n.d. Web. 19 May 2016.
Roberts, Dan. “Donald Trump Unveils ‘America First’ Foreign Policy Plan.” The Guardian.                  N.p., 27 Apr. 2016. Web. 19 May 2016.

Sanger, David E., and Maggie Haberman. “In Donald Trump’s Worldview, America Comes                First, and Everybody Else Pays.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 26 Mar.                  2016. Web. 19 May 2016.

  1. Very well spoken Anjel. Like always. This letter should be broadcasted on a broader spectrum. Hope all is well

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    1. Thank you!! I’m glad you had a chance to read it!

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  2. Love your concise understanding and articulation of the present state of chaos and your sincere attempt to appeal to rational Trump voters and to see their point of view regardless of how irrational it may seem or even be….considering this man’s actual track record! Love your writing kiddo!

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    1. Thank you so much! I appreciate you taking out the time to read my work!

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AnjelArticulated

Student. Traveler. Foodie. (coffee.fueled.discussion.)

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