Bri Close is a senior advertising/public relations major from Lexington, South Carolina.
Dear Optimist Editorial Board,
After reading some of the editorials last week I wanted to express why I’m a Republican, who’s also pursuing a career in politics, who is voting for Hillary Clinton. When the primaries began over a year ago it was so exciting to see many great candidates join the race for the GOP. The presidential race seemed to be favoring the Republicans with a decent shot of taking the White House since the two major candidates on the other side were either a Democratic Socialist or a scandal-filled former Secretary of State.
I spent the entire primary season telling anybody that would ask, and some that didn’t, that Trump would never be the GOP nominee. I’ve spent the last several years attempting to become any kind of authority on politics and policy through constantly reading various news sources, talking with others about their viewpoints and spending two summers as an unpaid intern in D.C. to learn more. My views on politics are not just opinions but something I have worked so hard to be educated on and something I like to think is always evolving with hopes of leading to some kind of career.
Once it became clear that a contested convention was not going to happen and Trump became the official GOP nominee at the RNC, I and many others now had to make a decision about the direction of our votes. I knew one thing. I would never vote for Donald Trump. I’m a traditional Republican that believes firmly in the Constitution and that free enterprise gives every person the chance to build themselves up from anything.
Donald Trump isn’t actually a Republican. I won’t even go into how many of his policies go against the hallmarks of the GOP. This is a man who has changed parties seven times since the 80s, including his stance on abortion. This is a man who has praised Putin and encouraged the Russian government to hack into the DNC. He launched his campaign by attacking Mexicans and proposing to build a huge wall. He attacked an American-born federal judge’s ability to do his job because of his Mexican heritage. He’s attacked Hillary Clinton by prompting conspiracy theories including that she doesn’t have the stamina to be President. As Secretary of State, she traveled to over 100 countries, testified in front of Congress for 11 hours and not to mention had to debate Trump for a total of 6 hours now. Trump has attacked peaceful Muslims around the world with proposing a ban on Muslims entering the country – which I believe is leading to more radicalization. I can’t think of anything more unconstitutional but also more unchristian. He publicly made fun of a disabled reporter. He has sexually assaulted women. He was caught talking about women in ways I never want to repeat. What he and many others consider as “just words” matter to women and especially to victims of sexual violence. The way he talks about women is an insult to good men everywhere. He just goes too far. People seem to like Trump because they think he’s real or because he tells it like it is, but I think the only person in the world that should really care about being politically correct is the U.S. president. If Trump is actually “telling it like it is,” I hope that’s not how things actually are. But I digress because that is just the tip of the iceberg on which he has said horrific things about almost every type of person.
So here is why I’m a Republican voting for Hillary Clinton that has nothing to do with Trump. I do support her foreign policy objectives of diplomacy but also strength when necessary. I do support her fight for paid family leave. I do support her respect for all religions and races around the world. I also can tell my future daughter that she can literally be anything she wants to be if she works for it. The most important thing she gives us, though, is stability. Many of things people don’t like about Hillary are things we speculate or assume about her, but we know Trump has a blatant record of discrimination, lying, sexually assaulting women and cheating small businesses.
I understand why people don’t like her. I get it – but a case against her is not a case for him. You really can’t compare the two. There are a lot of things I don’t agree with Clinton on and this election really just sucks, but don’t cast your vote for someone just because he is attached to the word Republican. There is a part of everyone that appeals to Trump but it’s a part of us we should run away from. And God calls us to never give in to that side. There is nothing the Bible talks more about than love.
Trump simply brings out the worst in us. He plays on our fears and prejudices. In the words of the musical Hamilton, “I have never agreed with Jefferson once. We have fought on like 75 different fronts but when all is said and all is done, Jefferson has beliefs. Burr has none.”