Trump and his minions: Behind the story
There is no requirement in the United States Constitution that a presidential candidate must have worked for the government or must have been in an elected office. The current president of the United States never worked for the government and never held an elected government position. He was an entertainer whose first job was with his father before owning his own business. He was the owner of Miss. Universe, Miss USA, and Miss Teen USA beauty pageants for nineteen years. Entertainers love attention. That is their game. Therefore, it is not surprising that for the four years Trump has been in office, the Twitter world has been in overdrive prompting many social media giants to add warning labels to some of his tweets. Fact-checkers from The Washington Post have reported a staggering record of more than twenty thousand falsehoods, lies, or misleading claims since his presidency.
In 2016, against all odds, Trump beat eleven major Republican contenders most of which had held government jobs and elected offices to clinch the presidential Republican party ticket. As a presidential candidate, Trump’s, rallies were not conventional. He disrespected military families, his supporters burst into colorful chants against his democratic rival at rallies, he stereotyped Mexicans and promised to build a wall between Mexico and the USA. Again, against all odds, he won the presidential election through the Electoral College. Senator Hilary Clinton won the popular votes.
Almost four years later, he won his party’s nomination to become the candidate for this year’s election. In a surprising turn of events, his democratic rival has won the Electoral College Votes and the popular votes. However, in Trumpian style, he began a slew of lawsuits all of which were based on speculative allegations of voter fraud. He has not conceded defeat. Some of these lawsuits have been dismissed. In the mind, of a narcissist, he is never wrong. Trump has promised to appeal and even take the cases to the Supreme Court. This 2020 election has been declared as one of the most transparent. He has refused to cooperate with President-elect Joe Biden’s team to ensure a smooth transition. His stance is putting the country at risk. He has maintained without evidence that he won the election. Instead, he fired the head of his cybersecurity for admitting that the 2020 election was the most secure in USA history. He also fired his defense secretary for opposing the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. The firing of two high-ranking officials at a transitioning period might not be the best strategy for strengthening democracy. In spite of all the drama surrounding the elections, we should take a moment to examine some impressive milestones. President-elect Joe Biden won by the highest number of popular votes in American history. Trump also made history though he lost. He got the highest number of Republican votes in history.
Here lies the story. Although Trump lost, a staggering 73 .7 million Americans voted for him. President-elect Joe Biden has a current vote tally of 79.9 million. As unlikeable and as unpresidential Trump maybe, 73.7 million people voted for him! Who are his minions and why did they vote for him? Evangelical Christians, young, White males, older White females, rural dwellers, those without college degrees, Latino and African American voters. He did not gain as much ground with old, White males when compared to 2016.
Evangelical Christians voted for him because, under Trump’s presidency, three more conservative judges have been appointed. The most recent Supreme Court judge; Amy Coney Barrett was appointed a little over a week to the presidential election. Trump’s presidency has tilted the Supreme Court in favour of the Conservatives. Never mind that when Barack Obama wanted to appoint Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, eight months before the presidential election, the Republicans in the house refused and insisted that the next president would appoint the Supreme Court justice to fill the vacancy left by the death of Antonin Scalia. Antonin Scalia was a conservative Supreme Court Justice.
Prayer has been brought back into schools, gay rights have been pushed to the back burner, reproductive rights issues have also been tightened. Further, despite numerous mass shooting sprees in his four years, the National Rifle Association has prevailed on the outright ban and stringent regulations on gun ownership.
Under Trump’s presidency, far rights groups that were usually seen and not heard became electrified and took center stage in many racist protests often clashing with the Black Lives Matter Movement. This fringe group that hitherto were likened to the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) saw a leader in Trump because they shared similar values. They had a voice in Trump who refused to blame them outright for a fatality that occurred in Charlottesville, Virginia during a rally in 2017. Trump’s stance stoked racial tensions and seemed to energize the group. The rally was a protest against the removal of the Confederate statue of General Robert Lee. Similarly, during the unrests that followed the killing of George Floyd by a White police officer, Trump’s rhetoric was, ‘When the looting starts, the shooting starts,” a phrase attributed to several White men including police officers in the ’60s to validate shooting of rioters or looters. The undertone of this phrase was seen by many as an unwritten signal by Trump for the police to shoot looters during the George Floyd protests.
The older, White females supported Trump’s policies. In 2016, 54 percent of white people voted for Trump and 39 percent voted for Hilary Clinton. In 2020, 57 percent of Whites voted for Trump while 42 percent voted for Joe Biden. The reasons should not be glossed over. The Democratic Party always promises to stir things up; opening up borders, allowing migration, increasing tax on the wealthy, and reducing gun rights. Sixty-five percent of the electorate are White. Trump may be brash and unpresidential but they’ll hold up their noses and still vote for him. After all, he promises continuous White dominance through his nationalistic policies. Why would they want to rock the boat when they are sure of things being as is under Trump? They might complain loudly about racism but inwardly when it’s time to vote, they’ll vote for one who would maintain their status quo. No one likes to be the underdog. Trump’s vice president is White. President-elect Joe Biden’s vice-president-elect is a child of immigrants; a Black father and an Indian mother. The possibility of having a Black second in command does not sit well with some White voters. It does not matter to these White voters that Trump has not handled the pandemic well. More than 200 thousand Americans have died. Trump will not increase tax for the wealthy. After all, he only paid $750 in federal income taxes in 2017! And he is in support of gun rights.
Rural dwellers and those without college degrees voted for Trump. A lot of Americans without college degrees live in rural areas and coal mining is also a feature in some rural areas. It is a source of livelihood for generations of rural dwellers. The emergence of President Trump was seen as a saving Grace to mining states like West Virginia. Under President Obama, climate change was on the front burner and the use of coal was discouraged thrusting many rural dwellers out of their jobs. West Virginia, a coal-mining state cast 69 percent of her votes for Trump. Similarly, in 2016, Donald Trump won the state of West Virginia by 68.6 percent. A lot of White, rural dwellers are also pro-guns.
Surprisingly, Trump had 32 percent votes from Latinos and 12 percent votes from Blacks, up from the 2016 election. Biden had 87 percent of the Black votes and 66 percent of Latino voters. The Blacks that voted for Trump voted for him because of the economy. The wealthy Blacks that voted for him were propelled by Trump’s promise not to increase taxes on the wealthy. The Blacks from the low-income bracket that voted for Trump were afraid of losing their jobs. During this pandemic, Trump has insisted on keeping the economy open and avoided lockdowns. If there was a lockdown, most of the service provider jobs are done by Blacks who earn a low income; bus drivers, caregivers, cleaners, chambermaids, and other hospitality jobs. All these jobs would go if there was a lockdown and so would their income. Therefore, the two sets of Blacks that voted for Trump voted based on the economy. It is the economy that would put the bread and butter on their tables, not the racist rhetoric.
The Latinos are a diverse group of about twenty nations averaging 60 million people in the USA. Some of the Latino groups also voted for Trump based on their economic situations just like the Blacks. The Cuban Americans had a peculiar reason for voting for Trump. A lot of Cubans fled to the USA during the reign of Fidel Castro. The Cubans in Florida voted for Trump because they feel a democratic president would sympathize more with the Cuban Government. Trump won the election in the state of Florida. Many Cuban Americans reside in Florida. Under Trump’s presidency, some of the gains made by former president Barack Obama in normalizing ties with Cuba were reversed.
The minions that have voted for a person seen as the most divisive president in American history see him as a voice for the voiceless. We should note that even after he leaves the White House willingly or unwilling, he has created a movement of white nationalists who were always present but not bold enough to extrude their ideologies but have since become emboldened by a president who sees loyalty above national interest. Joe Biden, the oldest President-elect in American history has a herculean task ahead of him.
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