Let’s get this out of the way first. I’m a 21-year-old, politically-moderate, non-religious, raised-Christian, white-male-middle-class college student. I voted for Mitt Romney in 2012, but I think Obama’s been a pretty good president. Being a college student, I have a lot of friends that are progressive. I think that’s an arrogant term to give to your ideology. Although I absolutely don’t support Donald Trump and many of my friends have voiced the thoughts I’ve had a couple of times: “I just can’t understand the mindset of a Trump supporter” and “Why would a well-educated Republican, who fought against him in the primaries, support him now?” But after reading a couple of articles on the matter, I think I finally get it.
A lot of people assume that it’s just partisanship. That these people are going to vote for Trump because he’s a Republican, and now has the backing of the Republican Party. It may be there are people that are just so brain-washed they believe someone who identifies as a Democrat could never be fit to govern this country. That’s pretty easy to believe if you’re a left-leaning or even moderate person and you watch far-right commentary that attacks Obama with such vigor that it feels like the only argument they actually have is that they hate him. But it’s only half-true. People don’t hate Democrats just because they’ve always been Republican. People don’t support Trump just because of the party.
People support Trump because of a priority of morals.
This finally clicked for me when I was reading an article from a Christian on why other Christians should vote for Trump. It addressed their concerns about his sketchy morals, his brash and angry appearance and continued to say that Trump would fight for them, that he would champion their cause. It never actually mentioned Hillary Clinton, but as I read on, I started to understand the underlying message it was getting at: Clinton is the greater of two evils, not because she lied to the American people about sniper fire, not because she tried to cover up her private email server, but because she supported gay marriage, because she supported abortion, because she stands on the wrong side of these Christian issues.
This comes to a head when you notice that one of the biggest aspects of the election around which Trump’s campaign and the Republican Party are pushing to unify the party is the appointing of Supreme Court Justices. Republicans are hoping that Trump will keep his promise to appoint justices that are biased towards conservative morals and thus won’t allow another Obamacare to get through, or another religious liberty law to be struck down. That promise is enough for many conservatives to look past all of his moral ambiguity, because at least these few important political issues might go their way. “Make America Great Again” is “Make America Less Sinful Again.”
This isn’t necessarily a bad argument. It’s admirable to be devoted to your morals. The problem is prioritizing some morals above others. Politics have brought questions regarding gay marriage and abortion to the forefront, sure. But to Christians, these are not the most important things to being Christian. In fact, if you’re looking for an appropriate way to prioritize your morals, Jesus already gave that to you. First, love God. Second, love your neighbor. If those were the only two commandments, then it seems like Trump is at least one check mark off from getting into Heaven. His policies include building a wall between us and our neighbors, his tactics include calling his neighbors mean nicknames and he’s even said he doesn’t want to rule out nuking our neighbors. People close to Trump have said again and again that he doesn’t care about the people around him, they’re just tools to him: great while they’re useful, and cast aside when they’re not.
It would have been really nice not have to pick between two candidates who both conflict with your morals. Clinton is a liar, but so is Trump. Clinton is committed to big business. So is Trump. Everything Clinton does is for her own gain. Same with Trump. But at least Clinton’s track record shows that her policies have always aligned with what she thought people wanted. Maybe you feel like one of the few moral people left in America whose responsibility it is to lead everybody back to the light. If that’s the case, maybe you have a moral responsibility to support a candidate like Gary Johnson or Evan McMullin. But if you’re still overlooking the fact that Clinton, for whatever motivations, has always followed the majority opinion and served her neighbors, and instead focusing on getting a Supreme Court Justice that will interpret the law in a more “Christian” way, remember what James said: “For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.”