Since Trump declared his candidacy for president in 2015, the opposition to him from Democrats and Liberals has been nearly unanimous. He and his supporters paint this opposition as the result of partisanship, and while that is undoubtedly true for some, they represent only a small fraction of the group. We are a diverse group, and, as such, we have a wide variety of opinions and beliefs. I identify as Liberal, but in terms of politics, I’m an Independent; I refuse to join a party on principle (I believe that, as Washington foresaw, political parties are the source of 95% of our country’s problems), and while I happen to align more with Democrats currently, my political ideology is closer to that of the Republican Party (which was once the party of Liberals) under Eisenhower (sans his disgusting racism); I believe in individual liberties, small government, and fiscal responsibility. Most Liberals I know fall into this same category, which means that the argument that our opposition to Trump and the Republican Party is based entirely in partisanship is logically impossible.
But simply stating this doesn’t prove that we don’t hate Trump for the sake of hating him. Literally thousands of essays and articles have been written on this (including several by myself), and we are still being attacked as nothing but partisan hacks. So instead of rehashing this for the millionth time, I’m going to take a different tack, and ask Trump’s supporters to set their ideology, beliefs, and preconceptions aside so that we can perform a thought experiment. I’m going to discuss three reasons we don’t support Trump, and I want you to put yourselves in our shoes for a moment so that you can appreciate our perspective. Only one of these has to do with actual policies of his, but it is included to illustrate something far different, which will become clear shortly. I don’t expect to change many minds here, but my hope is to at least help people understand our point of view.
1. Trump’s Treatment of Those Who Disagree With Him
Since declaring his candidacy, Trump has routinely attacked anyone and everyone who disagrees with him. He insults us at every opportunity. He maligns us as “radical”. He lies about our position on various issues, suggesting that we love things such as terrorists and “high taxes, high crime, open borders, late-term abortion, socialism, and blatant corruption”. He goes out of his way to berate and impugn us with every tweet he sends and every word he speaks. He’s implied that we’re anti-Semitic by calling us anti-Israel, which is itself a lie. He characterizes our opposition as proof that we “hate America”, which is heinously offensive.
In short, he is a bully, and we are his victims. As someone who spent most of his childhood and adolescence being tormented by bullies, I’m intimately familiar with such people, and Trump is the textbook definition of a schoolyard bully. So I ask you: why should I support someone like this?
Why should I support someone who insults me at every opportunity, who equates my opposition with treason?
Why should I support someone who lies about my beliefs and values to bolster their own positions?
Why should I support someone who calls me a “radical” and a “socialist”, neither of which holds a grain of truth?
Why should I support someone who paints my entire side of the political spectrum as illegitimate terrorist sympathizers that want to bring “crime and drugs” into the country?
Why should I support someone who has done everything in his power to demonize people who think like me?
2. Trump Has Made It Abundantly Clear That He Only Represents Republicans
Many on the left side of the political spectrum have said on more than one occasion that “Trump isn’t [their] president”. This isn’t an uncommon sentiment under most presidents, but it’s taken on an additional meaning in our current political climate. Where it once referred to one’s refusal to accept the current president as their representative, it now is also used by many to show that the current president isn’t in any way acting as their representative.
Since declaring his candidacy in 2015, Trump has made it clear that he only represents those that support him and agree with his positions and policies. His rhetoric and actions have divided us more than ever, and he has done nothing to try to unite the country. On the contrary, as I discussed in the previous point, he excoriates anyone who disagrees with him. He doesn’t just dismiss every complaint against him as partisanship; he also refuses to entertain Democratic ideas. For example, he has consistently claimed that the House has done nothing under Nancy Pelosi’s leadership, despite the over 300 bills currently sitting on Mitch McConnell’s desk. He hasn’t once supported or endorsed a Democratic bill or resolution, and won’t even endorse those with strong bipartisan backing.
He consistently attacks every Democratic position as “anti-USA”, and berates every Democrat who speaks against him. He will only support ideas endorsed by the Republican Party and Fox News (his favorite news outlet), and will not support anything they don’t like or agree with. He’s even turned the very name of the party into a pejorative, referring to them as the “Democrat” Party, as opposed to the Democratic Party (the proper title), which is a not-very-subtle way of further demonizing the party (it suggests that there is nothing Democratic about the party). He’s gone so far as to lash out at Fox News *simply for having Democrats on as guests*. As such, I and others on the left feel that we literally don’t have a seat at the table anymore, that our voice doesn’t matter. In Trump’s view, only those that agree with him and stroke his ego get to be heard. So why should I support someone like this?
Why should I support someone who believes my views don’t matter?
Why should I support someone who believes that no one from my side of the aisle should have their ideas considered?
Why should I support someone who believes we shouldn’t even have a seat at the table?
Why should I support someone who has never once made even the slightest effort to reach out to people like me?
Why should I support someone who intentionally doesn’t represent me, and makes absolutely no attempt to hide this?
3. Trump’s Rhetoric, Actions and Policies Represent a Very Real Danger to Those I Love
Of the many things about Trump that infuriates myself and others, one of the worst is the fact that his rhetoric and policies are laced with the most vile kinds of hatred. He started his campaign for president by referring to Mexicans as “rapists” and “thugs”, and pushed for a ban on Muslims from entering the United States and his bigotry has only intensified. Sadly, he hasn’t limited his hatred to immigrants; he’s shown that he’s also sexist, ableist, and anti-LGBTQ+.
His sexism was, of course, evidence LONG before he declared his candidacy; he’s had numerous affairs, and has bragged about his exploitation of women on numerous occasions, with the worst being his boasting about sexually assaulting women on the infamous Access Hollywood tape. Since declaring his candidacy, we’ve seen him attack countless people, but his most vicious attacks have nearly always been directed at women. He’s repeatedly lobbed vile insults at women, and had a feud with Megyn Kelly after she asked him about this at a Republican primary debate, later saying she “had blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever”, with the implication being painfully obvious, and later tweeted that she was a “bimbo”. He called Stormy Daniels “Horseface” on Twitter, he’s referred to numerous women as “nasty” and “wacky”, and has also attacked numerous women for their looks, such as former presidential candidate Carly Fiorina. He called his former aide Omarosa Manigault Newman a “crazed, crying lowlife” and a “dog”, called Congresswoman Maxine Waters an “extraordinarily low IQ person”, and even mocked Christine Blasey-Ford after she testified against Brett Kavanaugh, who she accused of assaulting her. This is only a tiny fraction of the hatred of women he’s unleashed just since declaring his candidacy, and it shows him to be a textbook misogynist.
As if being viciously anti-immigrant and anti-women weren’t bad enough, Trump is also ableist, which strikes very close to home for me. For those unfamiliar with the term, ableism refers to prejudice or hatred against those who have disabilities, be they physical or mental. I worked with the special needs students when I was in high school and counted many of them as close friends, and my two oldest and closest friends have mental disabilities. In addition, I have many other close friends and family members that have varying degrees of physical disabilities. As such, this is a very touchy subject for me, and one I don’t take lightly or have much forgiveness over.
Trump showed his ableism early in his campaign when he mocked reporter Serge Kovaleski, who has a physical disability. Some have tried to defend this by saying he was “just making funny gestures”, but that simply isn’t true. That gesture wasn’t heinous just because it mocks Kovaleski’s specific disability, but because it mocks all disabilities. I’ve seen it firsthand more times than I can count, used against both me and friends with disabilities. It isn’t funny, and it isn’t cute. It is a calculated gesture used to denigrate those with disabilities.
Sadly, this is far from the only example of his repugnant ableism. In 2018, a book by legendary Watergate reporter Bob Woodward on Trump’s administration claimed, among numerous other shocking things, that he called then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions “mentally retarded”, which is heinously offensive (this term is no longer used because the term “retard”, from which this is derived, is a particularly vile pejorative). In 2019’s budget, Trump initially slashed funding for the Special Olympics, and suggested that it should be funded only by state and local governments. He later reversed course on this, but the fact that he even considered this is insulting. More recently, Trump has repeatedly attacked and mocked climate activist Greta Thunberg, who has Asperger’s Syndrome. His attacks on her haven’t been inherently ableist, but an analysis by Vox showed that they’re part of a larger pattern of attacks from the right that are clearly designed to mock and denigrate her for being autistic. In addition to these attacks, Trump has also pushed policies that would further harm the disabled, such as advocating for slashing the funding for disability benefits, Medicaid (as well as taking away healthcare in general), and food stamps, all of which are literally a matter of life and death for millions of disabled people across the country.
Finally, Trump has repeatedly attacked the LGBTQ+ community, but not in as direct a manner. Instead, his attacks have been mostly in the form of endorsing policies and positions that will have a catastrophically adverse impact on the LGBTQ+ community. This, like his ableism, hits close to home for me, as I have many close friends and family members within this community. Trump is undermining the rights we’ve fought for, and as such, I can’t in good conscience support him. He’s appointed numerous judges that aren’t just opposed to LGTBQ+ rights, but are in fact downright hostile to them, including Brett Kavanaugh. He instituted a ban on transgender people serving in the military, despite there being zero evidence to support such a ban. He had the Justice Department withdraw a lawsuit over North Carolina’s ban on transgender students being allowed to use the restroom of their choice. Multiple departments in his administration have rolled back LGBTQ protections. He has supported allowing companies, including federal contractors, to fire people purely for being LGBTQ+. His HUD secretary refused to reinstate rules prohibiting discrimination against LGBTQ citizens, which means they can now legally be denied access to homeless shelters. He instituted a new rule allowing doctors to deny healthcare to LGBTQ citizens. These are but a miniscule fraction of the repugnant way in which Trump has treated LGBTQ+ Americans (for a more detailed, albeit disturbing, list, refer to GLAAD’s website).
All of the policies and rhetoric I’ve laid out above are specifically damaging to people I love, to family and friends alike. These are all things Trump has said, done, supported, and endorsed (which is why I provided citations for most of them). We’re supposed to protect and defend those we love, so how could I possibly support someone who wants to hurt those I love most?
Why should I support a man who is anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim when some of my family’s oldest and dearest friends, who are very much a part of our family, are Muslim immigrants who came here in fear of their very lives?
Why should I support a man who insults, mocks, and berates women, who brags about assaulting them, who oozes the worst kind of misogyny, when I was taught by the extraordinarily strong women in my family and circle of friends to be repulsed by exactly this kind of person?
Why should I support a man who insults and denigrates people with disabilities, who uses language that hurts my family members and some of my oldest and closest friends, who wants to take away benefits that some of them need in order to survive?
Why should I support a man who denigrates people with mental illnesses when I myself have two diagnosed mental illnesses?
Why should I support a man who wants to take away the rights of my LGBTQ+ friends and family, who wants to make it harder for them to go to school, use the bathroom, get a job, adopt a child, or get medical treatment?
Simply put, I and most Liberals and Democrats refuse to support Trump because he gives us no reason to do so while simultaneously giving us every reason NOT to support him. He has never tried to appeal to us, he’s never extended an olive branch or showed any sign that he wants to work together. Instead, all he gives us is resentment, anger, and attacks.
I’m not saying that those who support him don’t have perfectly valid reasons for doing so. What I’m saying is that our reasons for not supporting him are no less valid or legitimate. This isn’t about partisanship or hatred of one man. This is about following morality, the law, and my own conscience, all of which tell me that I cannot support Trump.
I cannot support a man who belittles everything I believe in, who thinks my entire side of the political spectrum doesn’t deserve to be heard.
I cannot support a man who believes the simple act of disagreeing with him or his party makes you a “radical leftist” and a “socialist” who “hates America”.
I cannot support a man who insults and degrades women, who has shown time and time again that he is a model of the worst kind of misogyny.
I cannot support a man who mocks and denigrates the most vulnerable members of our society.
Most importantly, I cannot support a man who threatens the livelihood and even the very lives of people that I love.
Were you in my shoes, I guarantee you’d feel exactly the same way.
Originally published at http://uncoveringthemanwithin.blogspot.com.