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How Could a Woman Vote For Trump?

I imagine most would agree that this election cycle has been long and that most of us are readily waiting for it to end. Our televisions have been bogged down with largely negative stories about the two most disliked presidential candidates in modern history. One of them, Hillary Clinton, is seen as the epitome of the establishment status quo—corrupt, scripted, and difficult to relate to. Meanwhile, Donald Trump is viewed as racist, misogynistic, and unpredictable. Many find themselves voting for the “lesser of two evils”.

Many may assume that the choice would be relatively easy for women. After all, Clinton appears to be on the “right side” of women’s issues: she wants to close the wage gap between men and women, she supports mandatory paid maternity leave, and she supports a woman’s right to have an abortion. Meanwhile, Trump has stirred controversy and has made headlines for calling Rosie O’Donnell names, insulting Carly Fiorina’s face, attacking a former Miss Universe because of her weight, and appearing to brag about using his star power to get away with sexually assaulting women. 

Yet, we continue to see women holding up “Women for Trump” signs at his rallies. This has left many to wonder what drives some women to continue to support Mr. Trump despite some of his fiery rhetoric towards women. I decided that I would try to get some perspective from a few Brenau women that have given, or are going to give, their vote to Trump. I was able to sit down with Brittany Brookins (a sophomore Early Childhood Education major from McDonough), Cassidy Collier (a senior Mass Communications major from Lincolnton), and Emma Johnson (a freshman History/Political Science major from Brunswick) to hear their opinions. Read my interview below to find out more about the views of some Brenau women for Trump.

I e-mailed and spoke to over ten people and asked them if they would do this interview with me. They couldn’t do it for various reasons, but a few of them essentially told me this: “I am voting for Trump, I do support him, but I do not want it out there that I do.” So, why did you three agree to do this?
Cassidy: I don’t have a problem with people knowing who I’m voting for or who I support. I want people to know, because then they can ask and I can tell them—I mean, it’s probably too late to change anyone’s mind—but I can still talk to them and give them my opinions, and then they’ll know.

Brittany: I would say the same. I think if you’re going to support something, then support it wholeheartedly. So, that’s why I’m okay with attaching my name to it. I want people to know I support it and that I’m proud to support it. And if they ask me about it, I can give them my views and hopefully educate them. 

Emma: Congressman Jason Chaffetz, a representative from Utah, revoked his endorsement from Trump after the “Trump tapes” were released. He said something that I really liked. He said, “I’m going to vote for Trump, but I’m not going to support him”. The way I took that was, “I’m going to vote for him, I’m going to do this for my party, because I’m a Republican and I want to support my party. I don’t want to see Hillary Clinton in office. But I’m not going to actively campaign for him”. So, that’s kind of my stance with the whole situation.

It’s obvious that you, Emma, weren’t ever on the “Trump Train” and it appears that you aren’t completely on it even now. But were you two (Brittany and Cassidy) Trump supporters from the beginning? How did you come to support Trump?

Brittany: This is going to sound silly, but I knew that in the end I was probably going to vote for Trump, because I was raised Republican and I knew that he was a Republican candidate. I was still not 100% supportive, but that was before I dived into his ideas and dived into everything about him. But now I do support him more.

Cassidy: I originally supported Ted Cruz because I think he is a good Republican Christian man. I really supported him in the beginning. I voted for him in the primaries and I’ve got Ted Cruz shirts and stuff that are pretty much irrelevant now, but oh well! I wasn’t on the “Trump Train” from the beginning, so to speak, but I hopped on board for my party. 

What, in your mind, makes Trump a true conservative?

Emma: Well, a lot of the reasons why many Republicans still don’t support him is that they feel that he is not a true Republican. They feel like he has flip-flopped on some issues like abortion. I would say that his stance on immigration definitely sides with Republicans. 

Cassidy: I think that the things he says is what a lot of Republicans think most of the time—with the exception of the crazy, off-the-wall comments—but a lot of his stances are things that people don’t always say [that they support]. This may seem crazy to say and this may seem like it makes no sense, but I think he’s a moldable Republican candidate. Obviously, given [that] who else is in the other offices and chairs are Republicans, he’ll listen to his party. 

Emma: I think with Speaker Ryan in the House, he’s got some really good Republicans on his team. My former congressman, Jack Kingston, is one of his senior advisors. He (Kingston) knows the tricks of Washington and he knows how to get legislation through. So, Trump’s got good people on his team who will help him get through the presidency. 

So, you think that part of the reason that Trump is a “real” Republican is that he’s got some powerful and well-known Republicans on his side. But we do have several congressmen that have revoked their endorsements, some who still haven’t, some who are actually voting for Clinton, and people like Governor John Kasich who are writing-in people like Senator John McCain. There’s a significant portion of the party that still isn’t supporting Trump, and Speaker Ryan won’t even say his name in press conferences. How do you react to that?

Cassidy: Well, I loved Paul Ryan from the beginning, but I think he’s changed his views [since he was first elected]. But I also think that the media has played a huge role in this election. People are going to go with popular opinion. It’s crazy to me that all the big media businesses can bash Trump constantly at every opportunity. I think it was Buzzfeed that had an article on their Snapchat called “The Seven Craziest Things This Election Season,” and every single one of them, except for one, was about Donald Trump. The only thing about Hillary Clinton was about her whole seizures thing; it wasn’t about e-mails or anything else. I think it’s crazy that everybody can bash Trump 100% and not report anything good about him. 

What do you think makes Trump such a divisive candidate?

Cassidy: I think it’s because he’s so blunt.

Emma: It’s definitely his rhetoric. I don’t think that it’s something we’ve seen before in a presidential election. It’s definitely his rhetoric. I mean, if you go back to his campaign announcement speech, [there’s] definitely some harsh rhetoric. I think that he is very divisive, but he also helps a new pool of voters that we’ve never seen become so strong and have such a strong voice in the election. 

Cassidy: And I think the thing about, really, both of them (Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump) is that they were both big public figures before this election. So, it’s not like Mitt Romney or President Obama, who became public figures after they ran. Trump and Clinton were both big figures before. Trump was the big reality TV star and business owner, so people had already formed opinions on him and aren’t willing to do the research. 

Trump has called some women fat or pigs, he had that dispute with Megyn Kelly, and the “Trump tapes” came out with Trump talking about, some would say, sexually assaulting women. Some, in the media and in the general population, think it’s crazy that a woman would still support Trump after these things have come out. Do you defend those comments, how do they make you feel, and how have you stuck with him after the fact?

Cassidy: I think that actions speak louder than words. You’ve got Donald Trump, who has said these things, said them in the past. And then you’ve got Hillary Clinton, whose husband was with Monica Lewinsky and all the other women that he had been with and assaulted and harassed. And she’s treated those women badly and degraded them. So, you’ve got all this tangible evidence of what the [Clinton] family has done and you’ve got Donald Trump where there’s a tape of him saying one thing. So you’ve got to look at it. 

Bill Clinton and Donald Trump have both been accused of harassment and sexual assault by different women. So, what makes the two situations different for you?

Emma: Well, number one, I think that the only thing that is relevant in this presidential race is the way that Hillary Clinton has treated the women that Bill Clinton has had affairs with. In terms of who’s come out and said that Bill Clinton sexually assaulted them, I don’t that it’s relevant. Bill Clinton’s not running for president. I think the way Hillary Clinton treated these women is the only thing that’s relevant. I think that the claims against Donald Trump need to be investigated properly and then we can go from there. 

What about Hillary Clinton’s treatment of these women bothers you?

Cassidy: Hillary Clinton – we were talking about her earlier – Hillary Clinton has been more derogatory towards women, if you look at it, longer than Donald Trump has and more than Donald Trump has.

Brittany: Well, Emma and I were talking earlier about how Hillary Clinton actually put the blame of a rape of a 12-year-old on the 12-year old, saying that she was basically putting it on herself by messing around with older men. In our society today, we have enough rape culture, we don’t need our president promoting that. Rape is never the woman’s fault. Why would we choose someone to run our country who’s going to put that view on girls? **

Emma: I guess that I think that this is something that we haven’t seen in a presidential election, where both presidential candidates have degraded women. It seems that both candidates have degraded women. So, honestly, you have to line the both up side by side and say, “Who has degraded women most?” If you look at it, Hillary Clinton has. You hear, “If you’re a woman, then why are you supporting Donald Trump?”. Well, it can also be asked: “If you’re a woman, then why are you supporting Hillary Clinton?” Also, just because I’m a woman, it doesn’t mean I have to be voting for Hillary Clinton, because she has not been the most proactive with women. 

So, we’ve kind of already ended up here, but why are you three never going to vote for Hillary?

Brittany: Plain and simple: I just don’t trust her. And I think that the people who are voting for Clinton also know she’s a crook, but I just don’t trust her—plain and simple. 

Emma: You’ve also got a woman who’s been in the public spotlight for thirty years and that’s thirty years she’s had to prove that she can make a difference, that she can make legislative change. What has she done? So, she was a senator in New York and what has she done to show us that she’d be a great president? She served as Secretary of State and while she served, she was taking millions of dollars from the Clinton Foundation. So, you’ve got a woman that we’ve obviously seen that we cannot trust. I don’t like to use the term “never Hillary” because there’s a strong possibility that she’ll win the election next week. But the reason why I don’t want to vote for Hillary Clinton is that she has shown us that we cannot trust her. 

Cassidy: I will firmly say “never Hillary” and fully support that. Here we have a woman who is and has been under investigation by the FBI for the deaths of Americans. Not just Americans, but Americans who have served their country, Americans whose job it was to protect the five of us in this room. For her to let them die the way they did and then for nothing to happen, and for her to think she can run for president, I don’t understand where her mind is to think that this is okay. And I don’t understand where other peoples’ minds are to say that she let these Americans die to protect my rights and my safety, so let’s vote for her. I just can’t.* 

Brittany and Cassidy, you both can pretty much get behind most of what Trump says. But Emma, you still aren’t a huge fan of him. So, why could you never vote for a third party candidate? 

Emma: A couple of weeks ago, I went and saw Evan McMullin speak in Atlanta. He’s on the list for write-in candidates in the state of Georgia. I heavily considered writing in Evan McMullin like a protest vote, saying that this isn’t okay and that there are better candidates than this. And a couple of days before I was going to vote, I looked and saw that Clinton was trailing right behind Trump in Georgia. I honestly had to have a little time to myself to think about how this is going to affect down-the-ticket candidates in Georgia for the state legislature. We have a very heated race between Johnny Isakson and [Jim] Barksdale and I honestly voted for my party and for my party’s nominee. 

Cassidy: I have something to say about that and Brittany and I agree on what I’m about to say. It’s going to sound hateful and, honestly, everyone gets butt-hurt about everything nowadays. I really don’t care if I piss someone off, for lack of a better term. But I feel like, at this point, voting for a third party candidate is throwing your vote out the window. I feel like, at this point, you’ve just got to look at your options, you’ve got to make the best informed decision that’s going to align with you, or it’s literally going to be like your vote doesn’t count. I’m all for freedom of speech and voting for whoever you want to vote for—that’s totally fine. But I personally feel like it would be throwing a vote away in this election. 

What are the top issues that concern you in this election?

Cassidy: I am very much a Christian woman. I grew up in the Church, I have very strong religious beliefs, and I am really concerned about making sure that my candidate’s beliefs align with those. I know we’ve said that Trump has gone back and forth with abortion and all, but Hillary Clinton is dead set on abortion. I cannot support that; I just can’t do it. That’s one big thing for me and that’s always going to be a big thing for me. The immigration is a big thing for me because we desperately need jobs in America and they’re going to undocumented workers. There are people here, there are people you know who you may not know are struggling to find a job. You may not know that they’re facing homelessness or food insecurity, or thousands of other problems that they wouldn’t be facing if they had a job. Those are my two big things, but my third would be the economy, but that goes with immigration in my mind. 

Emma: I’ll start from the bottom up: national security, strengthening the border, and my number one is the Supreme Court. So, the next president has the potential to nominate multiple supreme court justices, because we’ve got two justices who are over the average life expectancy. That’s definitely my number one and, like Cassidy, I want somebody nominated who is pro-life and stands for what I believe in and who stands for the Constitution. So, that’s definitely my number one thing. One of the reasons why I did vote for Trump is that I don’t want Hillary Clinton nominating four Supreme Court justices, because that’s going to impact my children and my grandchildren. 

Brittany: My top two would be the abortions and the immigration. We need to have tighter borders and tighter security. 

How has supporting Trump, or has it, impacted your personal relationships?

Cassidy: It honestly hasn’t to me, just because I’ve always been a strong Republican. When I had my “bug”, I had a huge elephant sticker on my car with my name on it, so people have always known where I stand on things. Nothing has changed for me. They know where I stand. I mean, I’m not concerned. Also, I don’t care what people think about me. I’ll support who I support and you support who you support. You vote for who you vote for, oh well. 

Emma: I really had to heavily consider who I was going to vote for. Number one, because I have to live with this vote. Number two, I want to run for office one day. I want to stay involved with the Republican Party and politics. I would say that it has definitely impacted some friendships. I wish we could vote for who we vote for and that be the end of it. But my best friend said that she didn’t know if she could be friends with somebody who supported Donald Trump and supported what he stands for, so it has definitely impacted some of my friendships. 

Brittany: I definitely thought I was going to see some backlash for being a Trump supporter. When I went to New York, I participated in a Trump rally—it was the coolest thing—but I did post something on my Snapchat. It was a “Women for Trump” rally, and I did get [messages from] people saying, “too bad he doesn’t respect women”. And just the usual stuff like that. I really didn’t receive as much backlash as I thought I would, but even if I did, I would have gladly shared my reasons why I support Trump.

Cassidy: I think more people are closet Trump voters than we know, because they’re scared of backlash. 

It’s the morning of November 9th, you wake up, and Hillary Clinton is going to be the next President of the United States. How do you react? 

Cassidy: I will pray for the country like I always do. At that point, just because she’s president, that does not give her complete and total power over the land. We’ve got checks and balances for a reason. At that point, it is my duty as an American citizen to stay informed about everything that’s going on and do what I can for the country.

Brittany: Obviously, everyone is trying to be informed about what Trump said and what Clinton said and be informed for the election. But if I wake up and Clinton is president, that just gives me a hundred more reasons to stay informed and know what’s going on and voice my opinion.

Emma: It is likely that Hillary Clinton will win the election. This election has done a lot of damage to the Republican party and I think that if we wake up, and Clinton has won the election, we have a lot of soul-searching to do. It’s definitely a time for us to rebuild and strengthen our party. I’m just going to continue doing what I do. I really like local and state politics. I’m going to continue doing that. The first day of the legislative session is January 9th and I’m looking forward to that. 

It’s the morning of November 9th, you wake up, and Donald Trump is going to be the next President of the United States. How do you react?

Cassidy: I’m still going to pray for the country, because that’s just what I do. That’s what needs to happen. As Christians, we are called to pray for the President, pray for the country, and pray for everyone here. I’ll still need to be informed, but I would obviously be happy with that outcome. 

Brittany: If I wake up one morning and Trump is president, I’m just going to be very thankful that enough people had their good common sense to elect Trump. 

Emma: I really like what Kristen [Soltis] Anderson, the woman who was here [at Brenau] for “Beyond the Talking Points”, had to say. She said that if Trump wins, then it is “his party”. It’ll be his job to take charge and to lead us in a new direction. I’ll be interested to see what direction he takes us in. I’m just going to continue doing what I do, which is staying informed, being active in state politics, and being active in legislative issues. 

Any final thoughts?

Cassidy: I find it very important to vote, and I know people who have voiced that they’re not going to vote in this election because we don’t have any options. I think what’s going to happen on Election Day is that the breaking story isn’t going to be who won, but that we’ve had the lowest [amount of] votes ever. Nothing makes me more mad than when people want to sit and complain about what’s going on and who’s president, but will not vote or did not vote. 

Emma: I know a lot of people are frustrated with this election and don’t like either candidate, but I just want to add that you are voting for so much more than the president. You are voting for state representatives, county commissioners, U.S. congressmen, and amendments to the State Constitution. So stay educated, look at your ballot before you go and vote, know how you’re going to vote. Also, if you’re frustrated with this election, get involved in state politics. You can make such a big change at a local and state level. 

*The majority of this interview is an expression of perspectives, beliefs, and opinions. However, it is important to note that Hillary Clinton is not and was not under federal investigation for the deaths of American soldiers. Clinton was called to a congressional hearing, chaired by Trey Gowdy, and questioned for her involvement in and knowledge of the attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya. However, Hillary Clinton has been under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for her use of a private email server while Secretary of State.

**While Clinton did defend a man accused of raping a 12-year-old girl in 1975, there is no legitimate evidence that shows that Clinton blamed the girl for being raped. Clinton’s claim, however, was that the girl had not been raped and had exaggerated aspects of her “relationship” with the man. The man was later charged with “Unlawful Fondling of a Child Under the Age of Fourteen”. Clinton’s involvement in the case has been the subject of controversy, however, because of audio material from a radio interview during which Clinton laughs at some points while recounting different moments from the case.     

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