Who are Donald Trump’s Supporters? I’m Living With One
Washington, D.C. held its Republican primary on March 12th. This is also the day I found out that my roommate was a Donald Trump supporter.
I was shocked when he walked into the kitchen, a Trump 2016 sticker proudly displayed on his chest. As a woman of color, I find Donald Trump, his campaign and his supporters to be absolutely repugnant. Finding out that I was living with someone who supported him was very disturbing to me.
My roommate is certainly not the kind of person I have come to associate with Trump’s campaign. He’s young, educated and and a self proclaimed “news junkie.” He’s not the typical uninformed Trump supporter we usually hear about. I was particularly surprised because in a city where only 6% of voters are Republicans, meeting a Trump supporter is rare. Yet here I was, sharing a bathroom with one.
“So, what made you vote for Trump?” I asked him in an offhand way, while pretending to be absorbed in making boxed mac’n’cheese.
“A few reasons,” he said. “Mainly that he isn’t a politician, he doesn’t take contributions from lobbyists or special interest groups. I’m a big believer that reducing our national debt has to be a top priority. As a businessman, Trump has experience managing budgets. He’s had experience hiring and firing people.”
This was certainly not the first time I had heard Trump’s business savvy offered up as an asset in place of actual experience. However, I still fail to see how hiring and firing people is the most valuable skill someone could bring to the presidency. Is Trump going to fire ISIS? I would like to see that. However, I thought it was best to let this go and get to the question I really wanted to ask.
“That’s an interesting point but don’t any of the comments he’s made about women, Muslims and people of color bother you?” I asked.
“He wasn’t a politician when he made those comments. He was in entertainment,” he replied. “The anti immigrant comments were aimed at the Mexican government. He does speak off the cuff and I don’t agree with all of the things he says but I think his strengths outweigh this issue for me. I definitely did not agree with him coming after Ted Cruz’s wife though.”
I took a deep breath at this point, fighting the urge to abandon civil conversation altogether and just start screaming obscenities in his general direction. I guess some people find making bigoted comments excusable as long as you are not a politician when you make them.
“But he was a politician when he made those comments about Mexican immigrants being rapists and murderers,” I said. “I mean I’m the son of an immigrant, I don’t agree with that comment but I feel like people should obey our laws.”
I forged ahead with my line of questioning. “It seems like his rhetoric is really whipping people up into a frenzy though. There has been so much violence at his rallies and he offered to pay that one guy’s legal fees after he hit a protester. Don’t you think that kind of speech is irresponsible?”
He conveniently evaded the part of my question that addressed Trump’s response to the violence by responding that “Both sides have the right to rally and protest. I feel like the protestors are agitating Trump supporters and baiting them into disputes. There’s blame on both sides. Pretty sad people can’t rally and protest in peace.”
By this point in the conversation, my mac’n’cheese was done and I had exhausted myself by trying not to appear apoplectic with rage. It was a good time to make my exit and I did so as quickly as possible.
From the comfort and safety of my room, the image of the young educated Trump supporter began to take shape in my head. He is white (of course), sports an unkempt ponytail and only owns two pairs of shoes. He listens almost exclusively to early-2000s butt rock, leaves copies of Gwenda Blair’s biographical book The Trumps in the kitchen and he doesn’t always flush the toilet if it’s just pee. He subsists purely off of delivery food and 99 cent bottles of ginger ale. He doesn’t have a discernible profession but he does have a giant weed plant in his closet. He loves Trump because he’s an outsider, not a politician. Yet his unsettling comments about why he supports Trump are blamed on the would-be candidate’s political inexperience.
Despite the fact that my roommate possesses a higher level of education and political savvy than the average Trump supporter, he sees Trump’s campaign in much the same way. Here’s a guy who can run our country like a business and at the same time protect the status quo. Trump’s ridiculous racism, sexism and softness on the issues are enough to stop a sane voter in their tracks but my roommate managed to explain all of these things away with relative ease.
After processing this information, I remain horrified and a little nauseous. There has to be some kind of loophole to get out of my lease, right? I mean I feel like it should have been disclosed by my landlord before I moved in that I would be living with a Republican. And not just any Republican, a Republican of the worst order.
All I am left with is the disturbing fact that we share a shower. I guess my only hope at this point is to build a wall between his room and the bathroom. And then make him pay for it.