Why People Still Voted For Donald Trump
Remember the presidential election four years ago? I was following along carefully. A woman was running for president and had an actual shot. I didn’t know much about Hillary Clinton, but I knew my step-mom owned books about her, so she must be awesome. I saw the polls and statistics. It seemed likely she was going to win. I mean, she was running against that racist, sexist, and homophobic old man, Donald Trump, she had to win.
I live in the Netherlands, so the election results are usually published by the time I wake up. First thing in the morning, I checked my phone to see who had won. I could feel all hope and excitement leaving my body. “Donald Trump, 45th president of the United States of America.” I honestly couldn’t believe it.
Four years, a study abroad program in the US, a lot of confusion, and many American friends later, I kind of understand.
Outside the US, Donald Trump is painted as an a**hole. And, I mean, he is. I don’t think he’s a righteous person. I think he’s horrible. For the longest time, I didn’t want to understand why people voted for him. I figured they were just that stupid. “Americans, am I right? They’re just racist and sexist, and homophobic, and misogynistic, and 50 years behind.” But there may be another side to all of this. I didn’t realize that until pretty much last night.
I have many friends in the United States now. Most of them from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. (Go Huskies!) I talked with them about politics a lot. They seemed pretty open about it. I got comfortable. Joking with them about Trump and America became a regular thing.
What I didn’t realize was that in some cases, I was not very considerate. I somehow assumed that all my friends were Democrats. Probably because of how I viewed Republicans. As you can imagine, I was very wrong. Some of the nicest people I met told me they were Republicans. Most of them directly followed that up by saying that it doesn’t mean they support Trump (although they voted for him). Again, not all of them said that last part, but I didn’t notice. I still couldn’t wrap my mind around the fact that someone could actually support Trump.
About a month ago, I viewed one of my friends’ Instagram story. She was basically coming out as a proud Trump supporter, going to rallies and everything. How could such a sweet girl vote for such a disgrace of a human being? I’d never heard her say anything racist or homophobic. I was so confused. I knew I wasn’t going to drop her as a friend.
I decided to leave it. But after one of her IG stories popped up on my timeline again, I asked her. I was a little nervous because I know I talked shit about Trump to her as well, and she never said a thing. I hope I didn’t hurt her feelings too much. Luckily she responded well to my question. In her answer, she went into great detail about why she voted for Trump last time and again this year during the 2020 presidential election.
I expected her answer to be ignorant. But it wasn’t. Her main reasons were for her family. She voted for Trump because his effect on healthcare works great for them. Obamacare, on the other hand, only made things worse. It was too difficult for them to quickly get good appointments, even though her parents were paying way more for insurance. Since Trump, that has changed for the better. Getting appointments is now more accessible, and costs for prescriptions have gone down. My friend currently doesn’t have insurance because her mom got laid off because of COVID, and she doesn’t qualify for Obamacare. If Trump hadn’t changed it, she would’ve gotten a penalty if she hadn’t gotten new insurance fast enough.
She also tells me she has many friends and family members who are veterans or in the military. In the current election Biden would take away or decrease the benefits they receive, while Trump will continue improving them. I know this last argument comes back each election. The Republican party supports veterans and the military, while the Democratic party does the opposite.
Maybe Trump supporters aren’t so bad after all. There are always bad apples; they’re on both sides. I’m sure most of them don’t love spreading hate or creating division.
- Don’t judge too quickly
- Everyone is doing what they think is best
Before the election, my social media timelines were filled with posts that said to “vote with your heart” and “like your life depends on it.” To “vote in support of your friends, your family, your neighbors, and your loved ones.” And that’s precisely what most people did. It just didn’t mean the same to everyone. They voted for the changes they wanted to see. And in the end, that’s what really matters.
Written by a feminist woman from the Netherlands with an interest in human rights who votes left-wing at all times and loves socialism and the environment. Sign up for the mailing list here.