It has been nearly two weeks since Trump took office in the White House. Within those two weeks, he has continued the overarching theme of his campaign: division. His numerous executive orders and presidential memos have sparked off waves of protests and marches against him. This is due to the far-ranging and impactful policies he is attempting to implement – from building a wall along the US-Mexico border, a temporary immigration ban on immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries, repealing the Affordable Care Act, green-lighting two controversial oil pipelines, restricting women’s rights on abortion around the world and taking a stance against the ‘One China’ policy. One thing that must be said about Trump is that he does keep his campaign promises.
And that is what his supporters have voted him for. On the backbone of these promises, Trump has delivered (at least, is attempting to deliver) what many of the disenfranchised masses have wanted him to. It would be unfair to paint all of Trump’s supporters with the same brush. It is true that Trump attracts a certain segment of the American population that includes white supremacists, bigots, misogynists and more but there are many more who silently agree with what he says. Those are the people who have been missed out by the mainstream media in predictive polls which generalize the average Trump supporter as dumb and racists. They have become afraid to speak out about their support.
Supporting Trump does not necessarily mean supporting all of his policies. It may be for some that some of the policies that he proposes have a higher priority than others. Many of his economic policies for example, in retracting on the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement and the North American Free Trade Agreement appeals to those who have lost their jobs and have become disillusioned with the disconnect of Washington from the rest of America.
As outsiders to US politics, it can sometimes be hard for us to understand the intertwining of both economic and social policies within the two parties. Traditionally, the Democrats are more liberal in the social sphere (think: pro-choice, pro-LGBT rights) and favor government intervention in the market while the Republicans take a more conservative stance on social issues. Economically, the Republicans support less government intervention. This is due to the historical origins of how each party was formed and the demographics of their members. The confluence of both social and economic issues within a party’s ideology could possibly explain why Trump’s supporters continue to support him even if they do not agree on all of his policies.
I personally do not support Trump nor many of his policies. Yet, I can understand how his rhetoric and enactment of his policies can appeal to so many Americans. Humans are not rational beings. The appeal of Trump is real to those who have been left out by the wave of leftist-liberalization who fear that their jobs will be taken or resist the influx of immigrants. By enacting so many different policies, some are bound to appeal to the Trump supporter and will thus continue to give him their support. Understanding these sentiments and doing something about it in a less controversial way is the key to win these voters back in a democracy.
Until then, there is four more years of President Trump.