Donald Trump will be the 45th President of the United States of America.
Many people reacted with excitement — the complete opposite of we were expecting. Clinton supporters and others stared in horror at the results while Trump supporters nation-wide are excited to “Make America Great Again.”
Why is it both sides are shocked and surprised by the results? Nearly all of the polls and findings and news outlets were predicting a landslide in Clinton’s favor.
Now, a popular argument I am seeing is that Donald Trump won because over half of the country is racist, sexist, homophobic, Islamaphobic, misogynist, xenophobic, what have you. Only racist, sexist, etc. people would vote for Donald Trump. Maybe that’s true. It’s certainly easier to believe. It wouldn’t require much in-depth thinking or examination of the motivation behind Trump voters. We simply write them off as racist, sexist, etc. Never mind the millions of minorities — black people, Hispanic people, women — who voted for him. Trump won because America is predominantly deplorable, and that’s that. The same reactions to Brexit are now happening here.
Maybe he won exactly because of that mindset. The left — or at least the vocal left — has taken every attempt during this entire campaign to discredit Trump supporters. Using bandwagon and ad hominem attacks, they say if you voted for Donald Trump, you are a deplorable. But maybe there are people out there who aren’t obsessed with racial superiority, the patriarchy or a crusade in the Holy Lands. Maybe there are people with legitimate concerns who wanted them addressed rather than rebuffed. There are people who exist who might actually believe that gun rights are an important issue and are worried that Hillary Clinton would seek to take them away. There might be people who believe that government spending is at unsustainable levels and that for the future financial security of our country it would need to be cut. There might be people who believe that regulations and rules laid forth by administrative agencies have crippled the American economy and workplace, and that they need to be repealed. There might be people who worry about the threat of radical Islamic terrorism and the threat of ISIS, and think Clinton only contributed to the problem.
There might exist a subset of the deplorable population who had legitimate policy concerns. People who wanted to voice these concerns, openly and honestly discuss them, and have them addressed. But all that was heard on one side was a vocal, constant rhetoric of “If you even think about voting for Donald Trump, you are a terrible person.” Suddenly, these people might find their voices are ignored, misrepresented, marganilized and attacked. Rather than having their concerns addressed, a great deal of Americans might have found the Democratic Party was unreceptive. So, when a great deal of people feel isolated and blocked by one side, perhaps they decided to turn to the side they felt would actually represent these views. Perhaps, many Americans really did feel like the establishment didn’t care about them, and turned to the embodiment of anti-establishment. Perhaps, by creating a culture of lock-step, of fall-in or get out, many Americans felt like one side just didn’t care about their preferences on the issues, so they abandoned that side all together.
Or maybe over half of America really is a basket of deplorables.
I raise these issues not as judgment but as warning. If you were upset by the results of the 2016 election, don’t reach for the lazy answer of “they’re all racists.” Actually seek to understand the real underlying concerns that so many of your fellow Americans obviously held. Don’t discount the other side completely. Don’t fall into the post-Brexit trap of hastily concluding that the population is evil, rather than an actual analysis. Just because someone might not agree, it does not make them evil or moronic. Unless, of course, you are okay with Trump 2020, Pence 2024, Pence 2028, and Ryan 2032 campaigns, I would suggest a serious examination of the Trump movement and its supporters be examined. The silent majority has spoken, so listen and learn from what’s being said.