Why will millions of people vote for Donald Trump?

Photo by Charlie Neibergall / AP
Photo by Charlie Neibergall / AP

Political mysteries of the modern era

By Cazzy Lewchuk, Opinions Editor

From the perspective of most Canadians, and from millions of Americans, the US Presidential election is baffling. How on earth did someone as evil and stupid as Donald Trump get the nomination? Despite his extremely low popularity (as of this writing, Hillary Clinton has an 85 per cent chance of winning), the fact remains that at least 30 or 40 million Americans will vote for Trump on November 8.

It’s important to make the distinction between Trump voters and Trump supporters. I’d bet the vast majority of people who vote for him did not want him to be the nominee, and wouldn’t attend a rally or endorse most of his hate speech. Trump voters come from all areas and backgrounds. There are absolutely certain demographics (and indeed, ethnicities) that will be more likely to vote for him. But Trump voters are in every state, from every city, and from all walks of life.

Perhaps most commonly, people don’t support Trump as much as they support the Republican Party, and strongly distrust the Democrats and Hillary Clinton. A huge part of Donald’s campaign has been highlighting Hillary’s scandals, failures, and perceived untrustworthiness. Many Trump voters believe strongly in Trump’s promise to appoint conservative Supreme Court justices, as well as his free-market view of the economy. Despite his alarming personality, he still advocates for issues supported by these tens of millions of Americans.

On a more distinct level, Trump represents an anti-establishment point of view. He has embraced being an outsider candidate. He claims to distrust systemic politicians from both parties, to refuse big money and foreign influence in his campaign, and even to be a champion for the common people. He’s gone so far as to claim that the entire media and Democrat Party are members of a global conspiracy. He excites many people who are tired of the same old system in politics, and are happy to see a force challenging them. Many of the people who support a celebrity for president supported Trump’s polar opposite: Bernie Sanders, who inspired millions of Americans who are otherwise dissatisfied with modern politics.

Many also feel that, while Trump lacks political experience (and indeed, basic knowledge of how the system actually works), he will be kept in check by the experienced politicians surrounding him. His Vice President Mike Pence will be in charge of most domestic and foreign policy. He’ll have a Cabinet, advisors, and many Republican senators and members of Congress to guide him if he takes office. Although some of Trump’s views are extreme versions of traditional Republican/conservative values, many of his policies are the same as any other GOP candidate in the past. Millions support the candidate who opposes abortion, supports lower taxes, gets tough on illegal immigration, and any other traditionally conservative viewpoint.

It doesn’t matter how outrageous or evil Donald Trump is. In the end, he’s still the nominee of one of the two major parties. In a two-party system, the vast majority of people choose party loyalty, or at least what they view as the lesser of two evils. The Republicans could nominate a random guy plucked off the street, a child, or an actual serial killer, but as long as enough of the party and media gives him support and allows him to run a campaign, Americans will vote for someone who, at the very least, shares a few of their values.