Palmetto Trump supporters share their thoughts on the country
March 28, 2017
Donald Trump was once a billionaire real estate mogul who made a cameo in Home Alone 2, hosted Celebrity Apprentice and generally stayed to himself. Then he announced his candidacy and shot to even greater popularity—and newfound infamy. He created two conflicting flocks with his unfiltered words and refusal to be politically correct: followers who revel in his unbridled words and refusal to bend into popular opinion, and enemies who see him as a bigot who simply rambles for the sake of inciting fervent anger in his base.
“I don’t really remember the first time [I saw Trump as a candidate] but one of the first things I can remember is when he called Ted Cruz ‘lying Ted’ and I was like that was pretty ballsy,” senior Diego Ramon said. “I started watching the primaries and I kind of liked the way he talked to people and the way he’s very anti-PC [politically correct]. He’s the opposite of being politically correct. I like that a lot. I like that he doesn’t really care what other people think, he just says what he feels.”
Whichever persona people view him in, he captured the support of certain Palmetto students who feel that racist, sexist, xenophobic and white supremacist titles are unfair—innately bigoted—and unreflective of the majority of Trump supporters.
“Just know that we’re not all bad people. We’re not all racist, sexist people. We just want to see some change,” Ramon said.
We gave them the opportunity to speak and fully explain why they support Trump, whether they see him as a better alternative to Clinton or the next big thing.
“There are numerous policies I agree with and numerous policies I disagree with,” senior Blake Benson said. “At the end of the day, it’s better than nothing. And also he’s my president, so obviously I support him.”
Senior Justin Valle supported Trump during the past election, though he is not the typical conservative that backed the president.
“You could say I’m Libertarian-conservative,” Valle said. “The difference with being conservative is I don’t think my personal beliefs should get in the way of people’s rights. [For example], if you’re talking about abortion, then I don’t think that should be illegal because we live in America. If you get an abortion, it might offend me, but I’m not going to cry about it and try to outlaw it.”
Ramon identifies as a Libertarian, and though he supports Trump, it is simply because he feels he was the best person to choose given the lineup of candidates, not because he is a diehard supporter.
“I definitely think he’s a million times better than Hillary Clinton, but I don’t praise him. I don’t think he’s a god. He says a lot of stupid [stuff],” Ramon said. “He doesn’t always say the most sound things, and he doesn’t always have the best ideas, but what I do feel is that he points out the problems that need fixing. He might not have the best plans to fix the problem, but at least he’s going and pointing out the problems.”
Benson feels that the assumptions made of Trump supporters highlight intolerance on the part of the left, and the current political polarization is a result of intolerance on both sides.
“I feel like during the election and after the election proponents of the left are extremely bigoted,” Benson said. “I feel like there’s a lot of misinformation going around, and even then people try to justify bigotry and say ‘oh it’s against the greater evil’ or whatever, when essentially, they’re just making an attempt to shut out any political beliefs that don’t directly agree with them.”
Following the election, protests and hate crimes peaked significantly. Over 25 cities saw their streets fill with protesters immediately after Trump’s win, chanting “Dump Trump” and “Not my president.” While these events accounted for tens of thousands of people, they were simply a preface to the Women’s March, which—on the day following Trump’s inauguration—drew at least 3.3 million people in the U.S. alone, making it the country’s largest protest. It turned into an intercontinental affair, with even individuals in Antarctica participating. Hate crimes spiked at 867 in total the first ten days after the election, decreasing each consecutive day from 202 on Nov. 9. In descending order, the top three motivations were anti-black (187 incidents), anti-immigrant (280) and anti-Semitic (100), although some were anti-Trump (23).
“I think it’s incredibly unfair what the Democrats are doing now, to resist Trump at all costs,” Benson said. “I do feel this very negative social stigma like somehow if you’re a Trump supporter you’re racist, misogynistic, xenophobic—you’re a Nazi. There’s nothing coming from the left of let’s tolerate it, he’s our president now. If Hillary was elected and conservatives were acting like this, liberals would be telling them to get over it. There’s such a double standard because these days it’s like you can’t win if you’re a Tump supporter. Your voice was heard and your candidate was elected to office but you can’t’ speak out or you’ve got a world of [hatred] coming towards you.”
During the general election, a lot of back and forth involving having to choose the lesser of two evils—a term that described either candidate depending who you asked—was proposed on both sides of the aisle.
“I do think the approach they took towards conservatives during the election was divisive, which was Hillary is this champion of women’s rights and gay rights and all these social issues, and somehow you didn’t follow those beliefs—or you identified as anything other than that—then there was something fundamentally wrong with you,” Benson said. “Calling Trump supporters Nazis and things like that, protesting right wing speakers at college campuses. I think that’s just ridiculous.”
During the election, Trump came under fire repeatedly for saying things deemed to be disrespectful or not politically correct. Earlier in the article Ramon stated his admiration for then-Candidate Trump not simply doing or speaking as others wanted.
“Without a doubt, I think being PC definitely should not be a huge thing,” Ramon said. “I think it should be more of a moral thing that people know where the line is and where not to cross it, but I don’t think we should get to the point where saying something that’s not politically correct should be outlawed or should be frowned upon. Everybody has the right to say whatever they want and they have the right to free speech.”
On the Issues
Diego Ramon: I feel that if you’re working a full time job and you’re not making enough to provide for yourself, you’re either working a job that is not enough to pay for you, or you are living in conditions that your job cannot support. I believe the solution to [poverty] is you need a better job.
The Panther: What if you can’t get a better job?
DR: The reason you can’t get a better job is because you’re not qualified to get a better job. That means somewhere along the line you didn’t do enough to get yourself the qualities and attributes that you need to get a higher paying job. If you had just done that, or start to do that now, then you prevent yourself from being in that situation.
TP: So if somebody didn’t get the qualifications they needed to get a better job, you would think that that blame would fall solely on them?
DR: Yeah, I think everybody is responsible for their own actions. There’s not some invisible force that stops black people from doing good in the world. There’s nothing that keeps black people poor, there’s nothing that keeps white people rich. That’s not how it works. It’s literally just where you come from, how your parents did. I’m well off right now because my parents did good. I’m not even that well off, my parents just used to have a lot of money because my dad worked hard and he went to a good high school, and then he went to a good college, got his degree, and he got a high paying job that he’s been working at for 15 years. That transfers over to my life.
DR: They [people from Muslim majority countries] might think it’s okay to be oppressive to women and in some Muslim majority countries they don’t treat women like people, they kind of treat them like they’re property, which I think is wrong. If we can more effectively stop where they’re coming from, in theory it’s a good idea, in execution it doesn’t really stop people from getting into our country because they can just go to another country and just come through there.
Blake Benson: I have two views on it. I do think it’s being smart in some ways and at the same time I do have some belief that with the current state it’s kind of an overreaction, but I do think that kind of attempting extreme vetting is necessary. It’s better to be safe than sorry. As a nation we’ve kind of learned that in the last decade, including 9/11. I think it [the Muslim ban] should be however much time it takes for us to enforce security. I do feel it should be a temporary—not a permanent—ban because that’s un-American, and defeats the purpose of it. The purpose of implementing it is so you can fix the system we have now, but just preventing people from certain countries from coming here is like passing an exclusion act. I don’t think that’s what Trump wants to do, but that doesn’t sound right to me.
DR: I think in our country feminism is a joke. In our country we have some of the most individual freedoms I’d say probably in the world. That applies to women and men equally, that applies to all races equally. There might be individual discrimination, where some guy might think ‘oh yeah women can’t do this because they’re girls’, but that’s just an individual’s thoughts. It’s not like a country that needs feminism, that’s somebody just being ignorant. I think that we don’t really need feminism because women aren’t really oppressed in our country. They have just as many rights.
Justin Valle: Apparently, they say that 5 out of 5 women support equal rights, but 3 out of 5 of those women label themselves feminist. So feminism to me is not what it used to mean, it’s evolved into something totally different.
JV: It’s not the government’s business: health care, all that stuff. Who you should marry, that’s none of the government’s business. There’s a quote from Thomas Jefferson that says the government that’s strong enough to give you everything you own is strong enough to take it away from you. Government is good as far as some things go. Our military’s pretty good, I’m proud of it.
DR: I remeber this guy Thomas Sowell said he used to be a socialist until he started working for the government. He realized how inefficient it is and he was like ‘wow, this gets nothing done.’ Thinking about it, would you want the people of the DMV to run your life? Would you want them to handle everything you do? Because those are the kind of people who have government jobs. In a private business they have to please you. If there’s competition, they have to do as good of a job or they lose their customers and they go out of business. The government can’t go out of business, they can do whatever they want. Nobody’s there to be more efficient than them.
TP: Why do you think white nationalists backed Trump?
BB: I don’t understand the whole thing between white nationalists and white supremacists. There’s nothing wrong with being proud of your heritage and your culture and whatnot, but there’s obviously a line drawn between the people like that and the people that use that to discriminate against others based on their race or culture. I see a problem with the militant sides of [white nationalism] but it’s a free society and if you want to be proud of your Norwegian heritage, I don’t care.
There’s a parallel between white nationalism and whites feeling like they need to be empowered within this country—empowered more than they already have been—versus white supremacy, which is [the view that] blacks and Jews must die. I’m saying there’s a parallel but there’s a difference. I feel like there’s this effect that’s going on in which a lot of people view white nationalists as if they’re white supremacists. It depends on who you’re talking about. If you’re talking about Richard Spencer or someone like that, he’s said a lot of controversial things, but at the same time he’s said a lot of things that whites can agree with. Like he doesn’t think affirmative action is fair. There’s a massive amount of whites that feel that way as well. I personally feel that way. When I was applying to colleges I felt like I was being discriminated against on the basis of my race. So I do think there is some warrant to some of those voices, but there’s obviously a fine line when it comes to enforcing those views and limiting others of their freedoms and liberties.
TP: Why do you think some people feel that white nationalism is a euphemism for white supremacy?
BB: I think people feel that way because the second they see an organized group of whites promoting something white, they yell ‘KKK’ because of the history of whites. I do feel that there is kind of a racist narrative going on in this country in which whites have to pick a side. Whites have to view certain issues certain ways to not be controversial, and I think that’s inherently wrong. I think a lot of it is totally biased and racist, honestly.
TP: On the note of affirmative action, in what others ways are white people discriminated against?
BB: I feel like there’s a massive amount of racism in this country when it comes to anything from police to socially conservative policies. I also kind of feel like there’s an ignorance from the left that dictates that if you’re white you have to feel this way and if you don’t you’re instantly categorized.
TP: Do you think that they [people of color] are oppressed in this country?
DR: No. I think that everybody in this country is equal. We’re all subject to the same law. There might be some discrepancies in the way people of color are treated in the criminal justice system, where they’re getting more years of prison time or they’re being treated more roughly by police officers. That’s wrong. I think there are way too many people in prison just in general, not just black people. But when you look at the FBI crime statistics, black people commit a lot more violent crime than white people. They commit almost fifty percent of the murder, and they’re only 13 percent of the population. So if they’re committing fifty percent of the murder, and they’re committing a lot of the violent crime, there’s a reason—that’s part of the reason that there are way more black people in prison.