By every measure, I should be an ardent Donald Trump supporter. I perfectly fit the demographics of his followers: I’m an older white guy who lacks a college degree. My income has decreased dramatically due to the Recession. I’ve suffered corporate downsizing three times and lost jobs that I loved. I feel that the economy is rigged for the rich.
I’ve been overtaxed and my private detective agency is over-regulated, requiring me to carry a million dollars in PI insurance, even though I don’t carry a gun. I was forced to get health insurance (but admit it reduced my premiums). I attend a predominantly-white Protestant church. I live in a community that has seen an influx of minorities and Muslim immigrants from Southern Europe.
I have many reasons to be bitter toward the “establishment elite” and support an outsider who’s going to shake things up.
I also share a few traits with Trump: We both have thinning hair and small hands. Although I’m a lifelong Democrat, I was ready to vote Republican this year, provided they nominated someone who was reasonable.
I’m happy the Democrats finally nominated a woman for president, but I couldn’t get excited about Hillary. Plus, like many Americans, I found Trump entertaining in a train-wreckish kind of way. Have we ever had a presidential candidate who was more spontaneous and unpredictable?
I’ll admit I find his off-the-cuff comments disturbing, from the moment he launched his campaign to his most recent pronouncements. However, his lies, insults and ignorance don’t bother his supporters. Why should I get upset if he wants to violate the Constitution with his hare-brained ideas? Other presidents have trampled the rights of citizens and immigrants.
I worry, though, that some of his rhetoric is downright dangerous and could incite violence. In some countries, Trump would be banned for engaging in hate speech. But we treasure the 1st Amendment and let candidates make irresponsible remarks. The TV networks love it.
I also feel Trump cares about older white guys like me. He sends me e-mails almost daily. I even received a personal letter from him. It’s four pages long and signed by The Donald himself. It contains many of his bullet points about building walls, tearing up trade deals and making America great again. It’s a very well-written letter. I didn’t find any spelling or grammar mistakes.
I’m not sure how well his proposals will work, though, especially when it comes to restoring manufacturing jobs. Thanks to automation, that ship has sailed. I don’t see our future in steel mills, coal mines, or factories. But what do we have to lose by electing a “successful businessman?”
I’ll admit Trump is not my ideal candidate but at least he cares enough to ask for my money. I hope Hillary also cares about older white guys with thinning hair and small hands, but she hasn’t sent me a letter and she probably stays away from e-mails. If I really embraced my bitterness, I’d vote for Trump in a heartbeat. But finally he said something that was a deal-breaker for me.
After one of his huge victories, he said, “We’re going to win bigly.” Bigly? I didn’t think it was a real word until I found it in the dictionary right near “big lie,” “big-mouthed” and “bigot.” It’s an adverb but hasn’t been in regular use for a century. As someone who cares deeply about language, I found this to be a very poor modifier.
So, instead of choosing bitterness on Nov. 8, I’m voting for “betterness.”
It’s not a real word but it could catch on.
John Rice is a columnist/private detective, who has seen his business and family thrive in Forest Park. He thoroughly enjoys life in the village and still gets a thrill smelling Red Hots, watching softball and strolling through cemeteries.