As a lifelong Republican, Christian-conservative, I was very enthusiastic about the 2016 election. I saw it as a chance for conservatism to make a come-back in true Ronald Reagan style. I started out being very jazzed about Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, they seemed young and vibrant with lots of good ideas. I also found the fact that that they were Latino exciting because the Republican party has had a problem with inclusion of minorities and I saw them as a chance to reach out to Hispanics and even African Americans. It seemed like the dawning a new era for the Republican party. The Republican lineup was even more racially diverse than the Democratic candidates.
THEN, along came Trump. At first, I thought him laughable and remembered him from professional wrestling and from scenes of him saying, “You’re Fired” on The Apprentice. I didn’t really think that anyone would take him seriously as a presidential candidate. I sorely underestimated him and his gravitas. He stumbled upon a message that resonated with lots of Americans and I was left puzzled as to why people found what he said to be appealing.
Trump’s message right out of the gate seemed aimed at Latinos. Early on in the race, he stated that he would “build a wall” between Mexico and the United States. My question was constantly, why did he think that Mexicans crossing the border to find work in the fields and unskilled factories presented a
threat to America? I just didn’t get it! Then, he started talking about Mexican illegal immigrants saying that they were “rapists and murders.” This seemed troubling because the incidence of rape and murder among illegal immigrants is, in fact, much lower than that of natural born Americans, so this seemed like unfounded propaganda to me. I was sure that people wouldn’t buy it, surely, they would see right through that ploy. But, they didn’t, on the contrary, they ate it up and repeated it like a motto.
I figured that these statements would resonate with a small minority of racists, but that
mainstream White America would shun any sort of disparaging remark about Blacks and Latinos. But, NO, it gained ground. I first I just thought that it was racism, but it was more than that. Lots of nice, ‘god-fearing’ folks were getting on the “trump-train” and this worried me. It was more than simple racism, it was an issue of two competing visions of America.
|Trump’s Republican America||Hillary’s Democratic America|
|· America for Americans (white anglo protestants)
· White default America
· Big Government is evil
· Anti-immigrant, anti-diversity
· Protectionist-isolationist policy
· Pro-big business (they provide jobs)
· Anti-environment – disband EPA-bad for business
· Repeal ObamaCare and Medicare/Medicaid/social security
· Lower taxes on upper class and businesses/corporations
· Lower or eliminate the minimum wage
· Against redistribution of wealth (unless referring to tax breaks for the wealthy)
|· America for Everybody (all ethnic groups)
· A multicultural America
· Government can help people
· Pro-immigrant, pro-diversity
· Free trade with equitable protections
· Protections should be placed on big business
· Pro-environment – clean air/water – more protections needed in some areas
· Expand public healthcare and preserve gov’t healthcare programs / social security
· Lower taxes on middle and working classes and raise tax on the rich and corporations
· Raise the minimum wage to $10 or higher / people working full time need a living wage
· In favor of some redistribution of wealth to create a social safety net