My dad is voting for Donald Trump and I can’t talk him out of it. Despite using logic and basic human decency to explain why this is a bad thing, my dad is still attracted to Donald Trump—and this is terrifying for America.
I come from a middle-class family in a suburb outside Philadelphia. My dad is a used-car salesman and is a single parent, supporting four kids. He has always been conservative, but I never thought his conservatism would drive him to favoring such a hateful candidate like Trump.
It’s a scary time for America when a middle-aged man who isn’t the stereotypical racist who is usually depicted in most of Trump’s violent and awful rallies has raised four good, smart kids. It’s even more terrifying knowing his candidate of choice has won 18 states already in the primary elections.
For some reason, my dad thinks Trump represents him as a middle-class worker. But Trump was never in the middle class—we’ve all heard how he’s received a “small loan of $1 million” from his father.
“A lot of analysts fell into the trap of thinking that because Trump doesn’t talk about the issues the way presidential candidates do, and he doesn’t talk about anything that the presidential candidates do,” said Michael Hagen, a political science professor teaching about campaigns. “We thought he didn’t have a chance, but it turns out there’s an appetite out there for people who don’t talk about politics in a usual way.”
Some of my favorite arguments from my dad are “He’s going to make jobs,” “He’s not from the establishment” and “He’s blunt and honest.”
Let’s break these down:
It is undeniable Trump is a successful businessman. But the United States government is not a private-sector business that can claim bankruptcy in hopes of someone bailing them out like Trump has done in a few endeavors. When you are on the world stage like a president is, there is no magic wand that will allow “The Donald” to wave his orange fingers and wondrously create jobs and an economic boom.
Trump does not come from the political establishment. He’s not a seasoned politician speaking with his hands closed, like so many politicians do after they’ve been in politics for too long. But other candidates like Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina were also less seasoned than many others—and much less hateful.
Most of the political system is corrupt because so often the corporations that fund campaigns expect the politician to uphold their interests. But picking a candidate because they’re not a part of the political system definitely doesn’t solve it, especially in the case of Trump. If anything, he would be the worst candidate to work with Congress, seeing his negative ability to take criticism.
Trump isn’t blunt or honest. He and his rhetoric are hateful and racist.
Hagen agreed the rhetoric from Trump that has escalated to promote an atmosphere of violence at some of his rallies has gone too far.
Trump’s policies include “We’re gonna build a wall,” and “We’re gonna kick ISIS’ a–.” These aren’t presidential policies—they wouldn’t even fill a page-length paper. They’re simply ideas to rally supporters.
These “policies” do so much damage to the groups of people they are affecting. Illegal immigrants are not all “rapists and criminals” and Islam does not “hate” America and the western world. These are big ideas that pull in the mentality of “us” and “them,” when as Americans, we are supposed to be united.
“There are folks who find him appealing because they don’t like people who are not like them racially, ethnically or economically,” Hagen said. “There are other people who just don’t like the way things are going and they like the idea of someone who’s not a politician being in charge.”
My dad falls into the second category. My family has stayed in Trump hotels when I was younger, and my dad is attracted to the brand.
“You also can’t underestimate the fact that he is really famous, it attracted a lot of attention,” Hagen said. “He’s extremely effective at maintaining a very very high profile, he sort of prevents his opponents from getting much press because he’s such an irresistible story.”
Trump doesn’t have policies set and he isn’t even close to being politically correct. He is preaching hate and violence that appeals to America’s traditional ignorance.
“You’ll see, Gill,” my dad said. “Once he’s the nominee, you’ll vote for him, too.”
Well, you’ll see Dad, not only will I not vote for Donald Trump, I guarantee he is not our next president. America has come too far to fall into the trap of Donald Trump’s bigotry and xenophobia.
Gillian McGoldrick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editor’s note: In a version of this article that appeared in print, it was quoted that Immigrants were not all “racists and criminals.” The quote has been corrected to say “rapists and criminals.”