I’ll admit, up until recently, I’ve stayed away from taking a close look at the Trump campaign; I was concerned that I would come away extremely disappointed with the Republican party. I had bought into the idea that Trump was a joke candidate who was saying crazy things to get attention.
But after Rubio’s disastrous debate and Trump’s string of primary wins, I finally decided to take a hard look. It was on Saturday that I finally made up my mind.
I am now a Donald Trump supporter. Why make this decision now? It took until I saw the coverage of the South Carolina Democratic primary.
First, the snarky saying that “not all Republicans are racist but all racists are Republicans” was proven, yet again, to be patently false. I browsed political forums after the South Carolina results came out Saturday evening, and the amount of condescending disrespect coming from so-called progressives was so toxic that it could melt the paint off of walls.
“They are low-information voters!” several people posted, referring to the large percentage of black voters who supported Hillary Clinton. “Don’t they know that Bernie Sanders marched with MLK?” The idea that black voters might not trust an old northern white liberal and be much more comfortable voting for a Clinton was too far-fetched a concept.
I waited to see if the media would cover this racism as voraciously as they cover racism in the conservatives’ ranks, and especially with Trump. Nothing. The truth is, both sides have their racists, which is a fact that will have to sink in. This highlighted, however, the bias in the media of Trump coverage.
I recognize the appeal of an anti-establishment candidate. But Sanders is not the right one, as I discussed in my first article on him. On the flip side of the aisle, however, a similar story is playing out. Conservative voters are fed up with their own establishment and are supporting Donald Trump, but unlike for the Democrats, the anti-establishment candidate is winning.
I was certain that his comments on immigration would tank his campaign, but the Nevada caucus opened my eyes a little. A man who I was certain couldn’t pay a Latino or Latina voter to caucus for him ended up winning about half of the Republican-voting Latino/a population. About 45 percent of Republican-leaning Latino/a voters caucused for Trump. Granted, only 17 percent of the Latino/a population in Nevada are registered Republicans (thus the only ones able to attend the caucus), compared with 55 percent registered Democrats and 28 percent registered independents. However, Nevada Latino/as tend to not vote consistently along party lines, supporting Clinton, Bush, and Obama in recent history. Are they low information voters, too, or perhaps individuals who live in the neighborhoods most affected by illegal immigration and who want a change?
I dug further into the Trump campaign to find out that on social issues, he is much more liberal than any other Republican candidate. For example, he viewed women as equals in business long before it was in vogue.
“But many women who have worked closely with Trump say he was a corporate executive ahead of his time in providing career advancement for women,” said The Washington Post. “While some say he could be boorish, his companies nurtured and promoted women in an otherwise male-dominated industry. Several women said they appreciated how Trump granted them entry to a new playing field.”
But what about his comments on Muslims?
His comments on Muslim immigration pointed to a need to improve our vetting process in the wake of San Bernardino and were overblown by the media.
Calling for a “review of our procedures to admitting immigrants from a region of the world undergoing extreme difficulty and posing a real threat” is the politically correct way of saying that “we need to shut down immigration from this region until we know what we are looking at.”
I found out that Trump isn’t against immigration. He is against illegal immigration, or more accurately, a system that incentivizes people to skirt around the law, including those who have nefarious intent.
I was surprised that Trump, while he might say inappropriate things, is no sexist or racist in practice. The media treated him badly, stripping down his quotes from context and painting him as this crusty, women-hating, minority-hating bigot that is only receiving support from rednecks and white trash. (When asked directly by Politico, Reverend Al Sharpton refused to call Trump a racist).
I believe most of Trump’s controversy over minorities is in fact due to a media establishment hell-bent on destroying his campaign. The most recent salient example is CNN’s attempt to portray Trump as a KKK supporter by claiming he did not disavow David Duke.
Let’s think about this. No one was talking about David Duke before CNN brought him up, thus one could make the strong argument that it was CNN itself that injected Duke into the mainstream conversation and gave white supremacists a media platform. CNN attempted to twist a story for the sole purpose of trying to sink the Trump campaign before Super Tuesday and ended up giving a microphone to David Duke. Well done, CNN.
Additionally, Clinton has been seen embracing Robert Byrd, a former KKK leader and democratic senator. Sure, Byrd later claimed that he regrets his KKK past, but is there a statute of limitations on being this type of extreme racist? It makes about as much sense to keep asking Trump about Duke, who Trump has repeatedly disavowed in the past, as it is to question the Clintons about their close relationship with a former KKK leader. Why isn’t Clinton being asked to disavow Byrd’s racist past? At least be fair.
The truth is, Trump is a threat to both the conservative and the liberal establishment elite, including those journalists at CNN, and the narratives we hear reflect this fear. Clinton needs the black vote to beat Trump, CNN supports Clinton, so CNN tries to paint Trump as a racist in a very biased and inconsistent way.
He also doesn’t get fair treatment from Fox News, which has done everything in its power to try and unseat Trump. They tried to support Carson, but everyone saw he was a sleepy doctor and possibly running as a vice presidential candidate. Fox News then tried to run up Cruz, but walked away with slime all over their hands. Now they are pushing for Rubio, a polished establishment contender who has a reputation for being a robot being a robot being a robot.
What has Fox News achieved? Its ratings are down, a lot. Conservatives are viewing Fox News as “just like any other media outlet” with its own agenda instead of a fair presentation of all the candidates. Trump has fractured the image of Fox News among conservatives, something the liberal media hasn’t been able to do in over a decade. He crushed the establishment’s first choice, Jeb!, without much difficulty.
He doesn’t get fair treatment from the other mainstream media stations either, who are concerned that Trump will beat their candidate, Clinton. In an establishment vs. establishment general election, such as Clinton vs. Rubio, Clinton would probably win. But a motivated voter base, angry at eight years of liberal presidency, angry at 20 years of establishment conservative letdowns, and pushing the Trump message with high energy, could put Clinton in serious jeopardy.
This election isn’t Democrat vs. Republican. It is the elite establishment vs. a breath of fresh air. I see establishment conservatives on my social media feeds threatening to vote for Hillary or not at all if Trump is the nominee. I see establishment liberals shaking with fear as they try to get Clinton over the top while nervously eyeing Trump’s poll numbers.
Trump, like Sanders, isn’t beholden to conservative think tanks, lobbyists, media pundits, or anyone. He built up his fortune from a million-dollar loan into a multi-billion dollar empire. He knows how to lead.
His plans will help the poor and middle class, end corporate and rich-class welfare, reform immigration, stop our incessant involvement in overseas affairs that are not our responsibility, and strengthen our military to take care of foreign conflicts, such as dealing with Daesh (ISIS).
Think marijuana should be legalized? So does Trump. Don’t think the government should profit off of student loans? Trump doesn’t think so either.
Out of all the candidates, Trump is the one most likely to strengthen the meritocracy aspect of capitalism. He wants to protect and grow American industries instead of bleeding jobs overseas, where corporations are able to exploit cheap labor and pollute under lighter regulations. Free trade might have been a good idea in recent history, but now the negative externalities have to be accounted for; there is market failure in the free trade model.
To consider Trump a racist, a sexist, a reality TV joke, is to buy into the propaganda designed to keep you scared and from ever taking a close look at him as a legitimate candidate. But once you realize that the Nimble Navigator, the Teflon Don, the high energy, anti-establishment candidate is a serious threat to those who want to maintain the status quo, then better conversations can be had.
Stascavage is a member of the class of 2018.