I’ve really been trying to listen to the people voting for Donald Trump, as I so want people to do for me and my perspective. I recognize the media is probably giving a skewed perspective, just as they do when members of the black community express their frustration, anger, and disappointment in a system that has oppressed them for far too long. I don’t say that to excuse anyone’s behavior. I say it to tell you that I understand there is always more than one side to every story.
It’s been difficult for me to find anyone willing to say they’re voting for Donald Trump, and there are probably many reasons for that, including some of the things I’ve said about this current election. If my words have made you feel shut down, I apologize.
Since I can’t find anyone willing to talk, I’ve had to dig. I have no first-hand accounts, and I wish I did. Everything I’ve read about the people voting for Trump is from a person postulating about what might be going on, so I’m still not getting any input directly from Trump supporters. But, I am starting to understand that there’s a group of people who have felt left out for a while and, if I believe what I say I believe about everyone being worthy of love and our need to be united, then I need to pay attention. It doesn’t matter if I agree with their assessment of the situation. What matters is that there are people who feel they’re being overlooked, and they are voting for the person they believe is paying attention to them. I want to understand that part of this story. The part that isn’t being told.
For many people, it’s scary to watch Trump’s continued rise in the polls and his winning of primaries and their electoral votes. But, I’m reminded of the fear so many expressed when Barack Obama was running for President. During those elections, people expressed their concern that President Obama would ruin the country, that he was a racist, and worse. It’s the same fear, but from a different group of people.
So, I’m working on slowing my roll. I’m searching for people who will let me listen in as they talk about why Trump appeals to them. I’m pressing beyond the rhetoric and the violence and the baiting and the coded language, as uncomfortable as it may be, to sit at the table — or maybe stand in a corner — and try to really hear what’s being said. This is who I say I am. This is where I believe the gospel invites us, or, maybe I should simply speak for myself.
If you’re supporting Donald Trump, and you think it might be okay to talk with me about that, would you please send me an email (send it to [email protected])? I want to know your story, if you’re willing to share it — off the record.
I don’t support Trump. And I didn’t vote for him yesterday int he Missouri primary. But I’ve been seeing enough articles and a few posts by two Facebook friends to know that there is some truth in an article like this one: http://donteatthefruit.com/2016/03/why-there-are-no-trump-supporters-on-your-facebook-feed/ I think I’be been living in a self-constructed bubble, ignoring a very real reality.
Glynn thank you for sharing this link. It confirms exactly what I think is happening. And I agree, this country was built on the backs of the people who have been ignored for far too long and they want their country back. I don’t think fear is the motivator either. I think it is anger. Just plain fed up.
Delonna @ Chick Flick Diva
Deidra – thank you for your honesty and willingness to have an open dialogue about what appears to be a scary moment in our history. Thank you for reminding us not to live by fear.
I love that you opened this door, Deidra. While I have not voted for Trump, I am a huge supporter of people being able to vote period. And you bring up something that is sooooo important. People tend to vote based on concerns. Maybe because of where we have been, or where they think we will go, or how they think it can be fixed. I teach a Constitution/ American Government/Economics class to high school students and so much of what we talk about focuses on learning to see patterns in history and looking for Liberty.
The grace here, in this, is beautiful.
May we learn from our past so we can have a better future for us all.
President Andrew Jackson was the 7th president. Many of these same issues happen at that time. Can we see the good and bad from this time in history
I, too, have been searching for Trump supporters and I haven’t found any — at least not any who will admit to it. And I admit, I have not welcomed the dialogue very well — which to use your words, is not being who I say I am. The best word to describe my own political philosophy is “moderate”. And I do find myself having fearful reactions of those who fall outside that category. So I can understand fear — and I agree with others that at least some of Trump’s appeal is based on fear. And anger, I think. These are angry angry times. I know to speak like that can seem dismissive of the very real issues and concerns many folks are having. I don’t mean it to be. But I have a long personal history with anger, and I’ve learned sometimes it takes a little to ignite change, but a lot, too much — you end up with explosive destruction.
And so we need people like you and like me — who say we are people who want to listen, really listen. And then we need to be who we say we are. (I love that). Thanks for this post.
As an aside, I did talk with a lady yesterday who in a very meek way said she and her husband voted for Trump. It’s like she didn’t want to, but somehow felt compelled to once she got to the polls. She said one thing that pushed them was that Ben Carson, whom they have much respect for, endorsed him so strongly. I like Ben too and was surprised, on many levels, regarding his endorsement. But I think that’s another interesting twist to all of it. When people are feeling marginalized and desperate they look for permission to do something they might feel unsure of.
My dad voted for Trump (my dad is a little like Trump in personality!) and so did my best friend’s dad and her older sister. They are all Cuban in dissent. The general gist that I get from them is that #1 they think that the government is a hot mess , and that somehow electing Trump is going to change that because Trump doesn’t take trash from anyone. They think he will bring change. #2 — They say he is a “strong leader.”
Lynn D. Morrissey
Deidra, the more and more I read your post, the more I appreciated it. Admittedly, I didn’t want to appreciate it :-), because I’m appalled by what is transpiring in this election cycle. And I’m sad, terribly sad. I think the character of a president is paramount, regardless of what s/he promises or even can deliver. I need to trust him/her. That said, I realize I’ve been dismissive of those who would vote for Trump (or frankly, Hillary) and deeply lamenting that “my guy” has already bitten the dust (because I thought he had excellent character, experience, and solutions and would have made an excellent president). But in my dismissiveness, I realize that it doesn’t say a lot about *my* character. I haven’t wanted to listen or to delve into the why’s of someone’s choice–and that, frankly, they are hurting. I’m not in that position, so I realize I’ve been insensitive to their situation. What you are writing and inviting here, however, speaks volumes about *your* character, though, and I applaud it. Like Glynn, I’m from St. Louis, and when I awoke, my husband said that the tallies were still being compiled. It’s 11:32 a.m., and I’ve not yet looked to see the final results, if we have them. (I’m afraid to!) I just read the article which Glynn linked, and I had this thought: Do you, who often talk about “going there,” see any race issues involved with Trump supporters–not regarding racial hatred (that is a subject unto itself), but (for lack of a better term) “reverse discrimination”? I’m not saying it well (AT ALL!), but do you see this division (Trump vs. non-Trump) as a European-American versus African-American (or other “minority”–hate that term–but don’t no what else to use) challenge? Do you think (based on the article Glynn sent) that European-Americans could feel that they are now being discriminated against because they are White?….that they are not personally responsible for the egregious racial atrocities of America’s sordid past, and that they are just trying to live their hardscrabble lives and eek out a living, fearful that they and their progeny will never achieve the American dream, and that because of *their* race, they are now being denied or overlooked? I am *not* supporting this view. It’s a thought that simply occurred to me as I read Glynn’s link. And, as I said, I’m not saying it well. Just wondered your thoughts on it. I do thank you for your post and for always making me think. Keep inviting *all* people to take a seat at your table and to join in the conversation. Keep listening and sharing what you learn. And keep Christ as the ever-present guest that table.
I know two people voting for Trump. I appreciate your heart in the way that you approach this issue. Both parties, Democrat and Republicans have an “establishment”. The establishment are the people in politics with the power and money to bring candidates forward that will push their agenda. Allowing lobbyists and special interests to have a greater voice than the voter. There are many democrats that are frustrated that their choice comes down to Hillary, AGAIN, or a socialist. The difference is the base of the Republican Party believes in limited government. This doesn’t mean we all believe that schools shouldn’t be funded and their should be no social services. It does mean that we believe that local government is in the best position to understand, know and represent its community. so keeping that in mind, where Democrats are frustrated at their establishment, Republicans are beyond pissed at their establishment, the Republican establishment has railed against everything the conservative voter believes in. So out of the two people I know, one actually believes what Donald Trump says, and understand, Donald Trumps view on immigration doesn’t have as much to do with immigration, as security, and there are Americans truly afraid of terrorism. The other person I know supports Trump for one purpose, to blow up the GOP. Blowing it apart comes before the effect Trump might have on the continued division currently going on in our country. For both of these voters they don’t really care about Trumps past or his inflammatory speech, they both view him as someone that cannot be bought. I would argue that Trump is the special interest, so believing that the middle class is important to him, is probably silly. The sad truth though is that we had non-establishment candidates, and people opted for the loudest and angriest, because it mirrors how they feel. I won’t be voting, well my vote won’t count, I will do a write in. A true conservative can’t vote for Sanders or Hillary, and Hillary doesn’t have any more character or integrity than Trump. This Christian can’t support Trump. Be prepared though, Trump isn’t an idiot, and he doesn’t really have anymore negatives than Hillary, in the end I think Trump will be able to stir up more voters than Hillary, I don’t think he needs me, he has brought non voters out if the wood work and although some democrats that have switched parties to vote for him just want to screw up our primary, I think many truly back him. If he scares you, be prepared, those Sanders voters aren’t going to Hillary, and Trump defies all conventional wisdom. Most voters haven’t begun to pay attention, and by the time they do Trump is going to seem great when compared to Hillary and she isn’t going to know what to do with him. ????
I discovered one person last night – in my husband’s side of the family – that they voted for Trump in the primaries. I winced when I was told this information, but in stepping back I understand why they are voting for him. It’s because he is challenging the American governmental establishment, and he’s merely reflecting the underlying narcissism that has been there for generations and they are ardently tired of being [in their perception] ignored. I am noticing also a trend that he’s speaking for those who are down-trodden financially, giving them “hope” of change. The reality is, however, as much as I am listening to them – including this family member, and understanding people’s feelings about our government – the more I am discovering that many people’s hope are resting in the wrong place (in the hands of another human being, be it on the GOP or Dem side). People are seeking out the president to be a savior, when the truth is, we already have one. And so many who support any of the frontrunners…or any of the ones running for the nominations…keep on pushing aside God and character in all of this, and that to me, is extremely dangerous. Alas, scripture does tell us this will happen as the time of the end nears closer. Anyhow, my point is this: no matter who we support, it’s imperative we keep our eyes focused on Who is already our savior, instead of seeking a replacement. Who I vote for, is based upon the conviction He has placed in my heart to focus on His truth…and who best is within the envelopment of His character. In the meantime, I too will listen to Trump and even Clinton supporters – because they at least have a voice. We all do. And we all need validation we are being heard. Perhaps one small act of this at a time will smother the flames of the political season a little at a time?
Lynn D. Morrissey
Deidra, I wanted to add, too, . . . that though I realize I need not be dismissive and to listen to others’ real concerns and griefs, I still need to take a stand against the evils I believe that Trump advocates and perpetuates. I want to be clear that I feel he is entirely dangerous to our nation. But your post helps me to be open to hearing others’ concerns.
You are warm and gracious in your invitation, friend. And why am I not surprised?
Many in my husband’s extended family are avid Trump supporters. Some are on the fence but will vote Trump over Hillary or Bernie if it comes down to it. So many of my husband’s old high school friends from Oklahoma are about Trump as well, but most of them really are openly racist. They’re happy to see someone who will get rid of that “uppity race-baiting black family in the white house and clean house in Washington”.
I appreciate what you’re trying to do here and I hope you get more insight. I feel like I’ve gotten too much and it is hard for me not to be angry and/or discouraged.
First off, they’d never consider emailing or having a conversation with you. A person like you would never even be on their radar but they’d be friendly to you and gracious if I introduced you or brought you home as a friend and they’d mean it.
I’m family and while they love me and call themselves Christians, with their relationship with Jesus being their strongest identifier, some cannot tolerate what I believe and think my soft left liberalism is what’s wrong with America. Some just ignore it. Some don’t understand it. Funnily enough, I’m not a liberal, but that’s another topic.
Knowing them as nice people doesn’t make it any less disheartening that they are so adamantly for so many things I am against, but it does help me understand the mentality of some who are showing up at the polls and rallies and spreading a climate that would allow Trump to do so well this election season.
They would never consider themselves to have any racist ideologies and they welcomed me into the family lovingly even though I’m not really white. They sometimes make jokes or say insensitive things but they mean well. They know black people, at least peripherally, and constantly point out pastors like Darrel Scott or black people like Ben Carson endorsing Trump as a sign that it’s just those black lives matters folks who are media grabbing and inciting violence instead of getting jobs.
Rather than a concern for American decency and equality in general, they believe that this vote will turn our economy around instead of giving hand outs. None of them are college educated, all of them struggle financially to make ends meet. A few have kids in law enforcement and the #blacklivesmatter movement has pushed them further into this stance. They wouldn’t hesitate to call certain people thugs, they believe Muslims should be dealt with in horrible ways in the interest of America’s safety, they believe illegal Mexicans are stealing their jobs and gobbling up our health care and we shouldn’t teach or hire bilingual teachers because this is America and english is what we speak. They also have a biracial Mexican grandchild and love and accept her although the dad is not in the picture. Their daughter will also vote Trump. Further proof to them it’s not about race.
On the whole, they aren’t deterred by the things Trump says because they wholeheartedly believe that the liberal media is out to get him and that they’re blowing things out of proportion when they say Trumps words inspire hatred and violence. They think he’s strong, speaks what’s on his mind, and is not owned by anyone. They think he’ll reform America and believe that drastic times call for drastic measures.
They’ve likened him to General Patton going in to save the soldiers in brash, crude, nonconformist, and heroic form during WW2 instead of to Hitler who started it. They believe Trump will bring back American strength and values to the White House instead of the muslim agenda of the current Obama administration. They were on board for the birther nonsense. On board for making a huge issue of Barrack’s middle name being Hussein and what that could mean. They constantly post articles that could be debunked by snopes in a matter of seconds but even if the facts of an article are proved wrong or Trump is proved to have lied, they think it’s still basically true and the media is misrepresenting him and trying to limit his free speech rights. They believed we’d have a mosque on every corner and that soon none of us would be safe. They believe Christians are the most persecuted in American and especially white Christians because gay marriage passed and the inability to say no to baking a wedding cake is at stake, and they can’t say anything without being demonized as not politically correct and they’re tired of the whining and immorality. Soon they won’t have freedom to worship God in this country if the democrats keep winning.
They would gladly protest against abortion but adamantly believe that police brutality would not happen if thugs were taught manners and obeyed. They believe killing or torturing the families of ISIS will put an end to the genocide of Christians in the middle east and must be done to save lives and for justice and judgement to prevail.
These are also people who serve faithfully in their church. Read their Bibles, pray, believe family matters, we’re saved by grace, and they would gladly have us over to visit. They work hard at their jobs and try to witness to people. It’s all very simple and so very complicated at the same time. This seems so stereotypical of the model Trump supporter and I hate to be reductionist ever but this is what I’ve seen in their lives over the years and especially this election year.
I don’t always know how to come to the table when this is served.
thank you for this, both Deidra and Alia. it’s helped clear my head and lesson some of my worries. a huge question I’ve had is about the people who support Trump and how much hate is out there. this post and Alia’s comment has helped me see from their perspective enough to see them as human again. thank you.
This. Thank you for putting so eloquently what I have had a hard time putting words to for the last year living in Oklahoma. It is horrific what is being done especially by my Christian brothers and sisters, but they aren’t horrible people. I believe they are simply reacting to the same problems as Bernie supporters, they just believe the root of those problems is something else (poor brown people, although that’s not what they’ll admit even to themselves) and thus end up on the opposite side of the spectrum. I want to the love them and be open to the their pain and needs but I don’t know how to do that well simply because all I know is at stake.
Oh.my.goodness. I feel like I just read a biography of my entire in-law family. They are from Southern Virginia, evangelical, hard-working, God-fearing, lovely people. Every word you typed is true. Every single one. I can’t even wrap my head around their outrage of Planned Parenthood and their support of Trump. I can’t wrap my head their dismissive behavior regarding facts like affairs and children out of wedlock. Those things aren’t made up, they are true and no liberal media could ever spin it otherwise. They desperately want change, even if it blind to what that means. The one other thing I would add is that it all stems from fear. Fear of the unknown, be it people of other nationalities, religions, you name it. If it is different, it can’t be trusted. It is very difficult to comprehend even when you live with it.
I love that you’re asking these questions and appreciate your heart here so much. I don’t have any answers, because I feel the bern 🙂 but seriously, glad you’re doing this.
Deb Anderson Weaver
I appreciate your willingness to listen and to be open-hearted, Deidra. I do not understand this trend toward and am deeply concerned regarding the elections. It is commendable that you are trying to understand.
I did not vote for Trump and I do not personally have a friend who has said they did, but I have hunches a few have. I have been utterly confused by this year’s campaign and Trump’s seemingly impossible-to-stop rise to the top of the Republican party. I do admit that there have been times when I felt a little, “Yeah! That’s right! We are mad as @$%# and we aren’t going to take it anymore” when I have listened to him speak because frankly, I feel as if I have not been heard for 8 long years. And people need to be heard.
My main thought is that people are just so utterly fed up with being treated as if they had no value, no wisdom, or investment in this country. That we should be ashamed of all of the hardship and losses we have sacrificed to build this great nation that does more for the world than any other nation because people work hard and stand for godly principles and give generously to those in need. We aren’t’ stupid and we aren’t worthless. We are tired of the folks in charge pushing us around and ignoring us. Even making fun of us. Of shaming us for standing up for what is right and good. We are sick of having our freedoms trampled by those who label us bigots because we stand for truth. We are tired of seeing our morals decay and our God ignored. We want our freedom back. So, in this extreme environment of shame and decay, not to mention the financial hardships we all have suffered these past few years, we have had enough. And when people can’t take it anymore because things have gone so far awry, I believe they have a natural tendency to push back as far and as hard as they can. To the extreme. To fight for what they lost. I believe that is the motivation behind the Trump movement. Because he will tell it like it is, fight for it and not back down. We have not seen leadership like that in a long time and we are hungry for it. The people want strong determination. He arrived on the scene in the midst of the perfect storrm.
But as always, these are just the thoughts of a simple human being. The why could very well lie in the heavens where we can not comprehend. I don’t know the answers to your question Deidra, but God does. I don’t know who will be our next president, but I do know God has a plan and I am praying for his perfect will to be done here as it is in heaven, with or without Trump.
So, I listened to a video today of pastors praying over Donald Trump. (Have you seen it? It is powerful!) And I think I finally get it. Perhaps it has nothing to do with us. Perhaps it has everything to do with God.
Maybe this campaign is all about what God can do in the heart of a man. This man. Donald Trump. God be glorified!
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26
And. In all of our hearts I might add.
This is actually similar to a “person postulating about what might be going on” with Trump supporters, but there appears to be a significant amount of social-science evidence that a major factor behind Trump’s support is his supporters’ authoritarian personalities: http://www.vox.com/2016/3/1/11127424/trump-authoritarianism
As Amanda Taub writes in that article, “Morning Consult data scientist Adam Petrihos said that ‘among Republicans, very high/high authoritarianism is very predictive of support for Trump.’ Trump has 42 percent support among Republicans but, according to our survey, a full 52 percent support among very high authoritarians.
“Authoritarianism was the best single predictor of support for Trump, although having a high school education also came close. And as Hetherington noted after reviewing our results, the relationship between authoritarianism and Trump support remained robust, even after controlling for education level and gender.”
I have a hard time having any kind of rational discussion about Trump, so I appreciate your heart and the grace with which you are extending your hand. It was discouraging to see how my state voted, yet it gave great insight into how we need to pray. There is such a blinding. 🙁