A young Donald Trump supporter revealed how the Republican presidential candidate had tapped into voter anxieties about their own beliefs — and how they’re perceived in the social media age.
The 22-year-old described himself to The Atlantic‘s Conor Friedersdorf as a white libertarian who lives near San Francisco and earns a bit more than $50,000 — although his “Asian fiancée earns about three times as much.
“We’ve both benefitted a lot from globalization,” said the young man, whose name was not used in the article. “We are young, urban, and have a happy future planned. We seem molded to be perfect young Hillary (Clinton) supporters, but we’re not. In 2016, we’re both going for Trump.”
The Trump supporter was specifically frustrated by what he sees as an “ultra-PC culture” that he believes inhibits political discussion by labeling viewpoints such as his own as “fascist, racist, bigoted, etc.”
“In my first job, I mentioned that I enjoyed Hulk Hogan to a colleague who also liked the WWE,” the young man said. “I was not aware at the time, but Hogan had recently made news for his use of some racial or homophobic slur. I was met with a horrified stare. By simply saying I liked his showmanship, I was lumped into saying I too was racist or homophobic.”
“I feel like I have to hide my beliefs,” he added.
He envisions a Trump win as a symbolic — and possibly even legislative — blow against cultural forces that reject bigotry and shun demeaning slurs against minority groups.
“If Trump wins, we will have a president that overwhelmingly rejects PC rhetoric,” he said. “Even better, we will show that more than half the country rejects this insane PC regime. If Trump wins, I will personally feel a major burden relieved, and I will feel much more comfortable stating my more right-wing views without fearing total ostracism and shame. Because of this, no matter what Trump says or does, I will keep supporting him.”
The Trump supporter expressed some fears about the potential risks inherent to electing the real estate developer and reality TV star to the most powerful position in the world, but he’s willing to overlook his concerns — which are primarily economic.
“This may be something of me being 22 and feeling that we have time and can take risks,” he said. “With Hillary Clinton, we have a stable America, sure, but one where we have to police what we say in fear of being fired by an overly liberal manager. With Trump maybe we can restore some sanity to this country and fight back against this PC craze.”
Friedersdorf describes how the Trump supporter’s perception about his own place in a so-called “PC society” had led him to “engage in zero-sum thinking” — and signaled what the writer sees as an alarming shift in American politics.
“If identity-based tribalism is America’s lot, he intends to vote his group interests, whereas he was previously inclined toward a more individualist ethic,” Friedersdorf wrote.
Friedersdorf put it another way in a previous piece he wrote last September: “Encouraging a focus on white identity is a dangerous approach for a country in which white supremacy has been a toxic force.”