Donald Trump. His name is something close to taboo, his ideas and policies are ridiculed harshly and his supporters are harassed and targeted by people from all sides of the political spectrum. Showing support for Trump today is akin to worshipping Satan — so why do people still support him? Hillary Clinton said recently at a fundraiser, “You could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call ‘the basket of de-plorables.’” She acknowledged that the statement was a “gross generalization,” but it is a sentiment held by most people who oppose Trump. The idea that half of Trump’s supporters are simply racists or xenophobes is dangerous, to say the least — but even if Clinton’s claim were true, what about the other half?
Believe it or not, many Trump supporters are actually genuinely decent people. One primary reason why some people support Trump has to do with something called the “estate tax,” or to others, the “death tax.” This tax is levied on individuals upon death and what is leftover goes to those who will inherit the estate. Currently, the estate tax is 40 percent, and applies to estates worth more than $5.45 million. Clinton wishes to increase the tax to 45 percent and decrease the threshold to $3.5 million. Trump, meanwhile, wishes to eliminate the tax altogether.
Of course, $3.5 million is a lot of money to most people, so this tax does not interest the general public nearly as much as, say, immigration reform or foreign policy. That said, there are still plenty of people whom the tax severely affects. Imagine a farmer in a small town who has worked all of his or her life and is now worth $5 million. This hypothetical individual plans to pass the estate to five children after death. $5 million is well over $3.5 million, so the estate tax applies in this situation. Under Clinton’s plan, each individual will inherit $550 thousand, whereas Trump would see that they each inherit $1 million. Essentially, for these individuals, a vote for Clinton now costs $450 thousand. It is easy for a broke college student to say that money isn’t important enough to elect a candidate whom many view as a demagogue, but it is much more difficult for a beginner farmer who needs to buy expensive farming equipment to say the same thing. For these people, who may be just as wary of some of Trump’s rhetoric as many Democrats, Trump is the only logical choice.
Secondly — the point every Trump supporter will use in defense of their chosen candidate — Trump is an extremely successful businessman. People have discovered many shortcomings and failures in his history as a businessman, but he has still achieved that which most Americans will only ever dream about. This business knowledge could very well mean Trump could stimulate the economy and help to create many jobs, as his supporters so often say, but it also means he is an excellent negotiator. If you doubt this fact, watch any interview with Trump and see for yourself just how crafty the Republican candidate is. He chooses each word carefully and knows exactly what outcome his statements will have. The business endeavors Trump has made in New York were done largely without interference from local and state government, which shows just how effective the man is at negotiating with public officials. Trump’s background in business gives him a distinct advantage when it comes to dealing with others, both domestically and abroad. Many agree that Congress often held President Obama back throughout his stay in office. Perhaps if Obama had been as experienced in business as Trump is, he would have been able to convince Congress to see things his way.
Thirdly, a strong argument for Trump is also one of his biggest criticisms: the man refuses to release his tax records. To many people, this is an indication that Trump is trying to hide something, or that he does not respect the presidential race enough to live up to historical expectations.
However, because Trump is in no way legally obligated to release this information, he serves as an excellent reminder and example of the personal freedoms held by all Americans. Just as a police officer cannot search a citizen’s person or vehicle without probable cause or a warrant, the American people cannot search Trump’s private life. Trump’s act of withholding these documents reminds Americans of the values upon which this country was built. Citizens should always be prepared to flex their freedoms, and Trump reminds America of that each day by not conforming to the status quo shared by all other candidates.
At the beginning of the presidential race, Donald Trump was not taken seriously as a candidate. As he gained traction, people began peacefully protesting that which they believed he did or said wrong. Over time, however, protesters of Trump have succumbed to the same acts of hatred and violence they were protesting in the first place. It is important in these times to respectfully evaluate every candidate and their platforms and to make informed decisions based in fact. Maintaining respect and being a decent human being is essential whether you plan to vote for Clinton, Trump or whomever else you feel is best for America.