This election as an expat living in Melbourne I had the choice between a racist misogynist maybe-child-rapist or a Wall Street-financed war-hawk.
I’ve been hearing Donald J Trump’s name since I was a little girl in suburban New York. He was on Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous in the ’90s. He took out several full page newspaper ads calling for the death penalty for minors when I was just a pre-teen. I didn’t need to be an adult to understand that he was filthy rich and only cared about making money.
When Trump won the Republican primary, I thought he would never win in the presidency and that it was a bad move for the Republican Party. But despite his racist platform and horrible allegations regarding the rape of a 13-year-old girl, Trump is very much in the running.
On the other hand, we have Hillary R Clinton, whom I have also been hearing about since I was a kid. She famously stated once that she wasn’t going to just stay at home and bake cookies. She is also famous for voting for the war in Iraq when she was senator for New York
The war in Iraq was a massive mistake, those weapons of mass destruction were never found, and thousands of young people died fighting in that senseless war. A New York Times article from 2005 mentions the high school I graduated from, Brentwood High school, as having more former students as casualties in Iraq than any other high school in America.
Hillary is being bankrolled by the big banks and is closely aligned with wealthy interests. Evidence points towards her supporting an expanded U.S. intervention in Syria. Although she said her vote for the war in Iraq was a mistake, it was just too late for me and so I didn’t vote for her.
This time I decided it was time to vote Green. (That’s what living in Melbourne for four years – and working for the Uniting Church – does to you.) I decided not to throw away my vote by casting it for a candidate I didn’t believe in or trust. Jill Stein got my vote early and I haven’t felt regret since. Hopefully the Green Party in the US can attain the 5 per cent of the votes they need for future campaign funding, something to look forward to.
My choice has made me unpopular with expat Hillary supporters. But for the most part, my fellow Melburnians like to ask me about Trump supporters. Why and how do people end up following him? I don’t like demonising people based on who they vote for because that leads to further division. Instead I want to understand why anyone voted for Trump.
The last 20 years have not been easy for working people, poor people and the working-poor in the U.S.
The subprime mortgage crisis plunged thousands into uncertainty when their homes were foreclosed upon or their mortgages ended up being bigger than the value of their property.
Police brutality and the astonishing murders of black people in broad daylight have been rampant, while prisons have become so full that the “land of the free” has the ironic honour of having the highest percentage of its own people behind bars in the world.
Inequality has been steadily growing at an alarming rate making the 1 per cent ridiculously rich and powerful. People living in the US are searching for scapegoats, a group of people to blame all the problems on. Is it any wonder that Donald Trump has gained support amongst the blue-collar working class in rust-belt states like Ohio? To me it is not a surprise.
While potential Hillary voters were bombarded with allegations of her dishonesty, Trump trumped on with his simple message. This message had a scapegoat, illegal immigrants, and an easy to understand answer, a gigantic border wall. Mix that narrative in with the promise of jobs, ending free trade agreements and an I-say-whatever-I-want attitude, and you get the Trump phenomenon.
Now that the big day is over, we must wait and see what the real voters, the Electoral College electors, decide to do. They have the final say, and they are not bound by any law to vote for their own political party. Either way America is screwed.
I’ll be an Australian citizen soon, and am looking forward to voting here, where there is no electoral college and I can number the candidates in the order I prefer them.