When Donald Trump announced his run for president with a historic ride on an escalator that carried him down into the bowels of Trump Tower as he stood and waved like an animatronic walrus, I could scarce understand how anyone could vote for him, much less entertain the idea that I might have something in common with parents who voted for Trump.
If people were truly going to support a man known for his wrestling cameos, accusations of assault (per the Guardian), "cotton candy hair labyrinth" (per Gawker), alleged spousal abuse (per the Independent); a man who possibly didn't understand what NATO was, a "businessman" who bankrupted his Atlantic City casinos, as the New York Times reported, and once licensed his name on steaks (democracy dies in darkness; WaPo), I had to assume that they were a world apart from me. A world where, perhaps, the greatest presidents run successful steak-licensing businesses, that the citizens of their country can eat a little piece of democracy for dinner each night, very well done.
The country feels even more riven today than it did on November 8, 2016. Bipartisanship has opened up into a great sinkhole with people who voted for Trump on one side, and people who wonder how a guy could get voted into office while women were coming out in spades to accuse him of indecent behavior, as Time reported in detail, on the other. On one side are people who cheer along with Trump's racist "animals!" chant at a Nashville rally, as Splinter News reported; on the other, well, people who are horrified. One of Trump's first acts in office was to announce a racist "travel ban" that targeted people from seven Muslim-majority countries, and from there, it's gone steadily downhill — just like that escalator.
Trump does like golf — perhaps that's some common ground for us all. Because complete antagonism won't help this country in the long run; we need to keep the conversation going if we are ever going to work together and dig our way out of this hole. And I have to admit that I probably do have a little bit more in common with Trump voters than I would have thought. Let's take it piece by piece...
1First Off, I...Voted
That’s easy enough, right? I voted. Not only did I vote, but just like them, I voted for the candidate I felt was best prepared for the job. I voted with my conscience. It’s not my fault some people’s idea of “most qualified candidate” is also “made a guest appearance in Home Alone 2.”
2I Want A Better Future For My Kid(s)
All jokes aside (well, some jokes), I know that many, if not all, parents who voted for Trump want what’s best for their kids.
Personally, I think what’s best for my kids (and all kids) is to live in a diverse country where we are all treated with respect, and not persecuted for the color of our skin, or where our parents are from, or what language we speak. I think that’s where Trump voters and I might disagree.
3I Worry About The Current State Of The Nation
It’s safe to say a lot of us, parents and not, are concerned with what’s going on in the world and in the country today. Major corporations and banks get away with so much, and the divide between the haves and have-nots continues to widen. Where we differ is on how to close that gap, e.g., via an enormous corporate tax break versus a healthcare bill that looks after citizens and reduces the deficit, per the Congressional Budget Office.
4I Mostly Talk To And Hang With Other People Who Voted Like Me
Guilty as charged. Many of us live in a bubble surrounded by other like-minded individuals. But it’s not enough to be on the same soccer team or hang at the same cafe. These days, we are very often divided strictly by who we voted for, or who we would have, had we cared enough to vote.
5I Wish Politics Were More Transparent And Accessible
Populism was the flavor of the day on both sides of the aisle in 2016, with Bernie Sanders representing the gripes of the common man as central to his platform, and Trump likewise leveraging the wealth gap (Bruegel analysis shows that the wealthy voted for Trump to keep things that way). Voters on the left and right wanted someone from "outside the Beltway," someone who spoke plainly and, well, Trump isn’t exactly an eloquent speaker. The man does not use much in the way of SAT words. I get why some folks appreciate that. But I don’t necessarily think that having someone in office who doesn't know the difference between "would" and "wouldn't" is a plus.
6And Recognize That There’s A Lot Of Corruption Within Politics
7I’m Tired Of The Status Quo
I’ll admit, I voted for Hillary. But I will also admit that I wish we could have more diversity in general when it comes to election season. And no, I don’t mean Bernie. Trump voters love Trump because he came out of left-field. He’s a new face. He’s never been in politics. The man is new to walking, for crying out loud.
8I Want People In Office That Vote In Line With My Beliefs
I’m pro-choice as heck and I want someone in the White House who understands that it’s a pregnant person’s right to choose whether they wish to continue that or not. I’m the daughter of immigrants, and I want someone who understands the struggle of those who come to work hard in this country, and doesn’t break up families. I could go on, but you get what I mean. And these Trump voters, they wanted that too, except their beliefs are basically the complete opposite of mine.
9I Like To Be Entertained
There may actually be people out there who voted for Trump simply because they thought it would be “fun” or “funny.” It’s not. Save your love of entertainment for Game of Thrones.