Election Day, 2020 is 46 days away today, and after the last four years, I still don’t understand how people could have voted for Trump even in 2016. Everyone’s got their excuses, “conservative” politics, and a “good” economy, but his racism was as blatant in 2016 as it is today. However, that’s not what this article is about; today, I beg the question, “How do veterans still support Trump?” Over the last four years, Trump has done nothing for the military besides abuse his power and insult their courageousness. Time and time again, he shows blatant disrespect for our armed forces, and yet, way too many veterans live and breathe to support Trump — and I can’t understand.  

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Lies, Lies, and More Lies

Someone recently pointed out to me— and I guess I knew this— if someone can support Trump through the last four years, they’re never going to change their mind. People are usually good at realizing when someone lies. It’s just a matter of whether we have too much pride to admit our mistakes. There have been quite intriguing studies on the different types of lies and how successful people are at pointing each one out, especially in Trump’s wake. PolitiFact— a website dedicated to uncovering the validity of statements— reports that only 4% of Trump’s claims were valid. Compare that to Obama’s 86% valid claims.

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Greater Good Magazine by Berkeley University explains that “blue” lies are “told on behalf of a group that can actually strengthen the bonds between members of that group. “White” lies are “generous,” and “black” lies have selfish intentions. Blue lies fall somewhere between “white” and “black” ones depending on the liar’s intentions. In Trump’s case, he lies because he preys on his supporters’ desire for a “voice” and a community. Therefore, he selfishly lies about anything and everything dealing with liberals, democrats, and anyone else who doesn’t blindly follow him. Jeremy Smith — an editor of the Greater Good Magazine — explains how Trump tells these “blue” lies to bring his supporters together against their mutual “enemy,” democrats.

These “blue” lies are considered a primary reason why Trump was able to win the 2016 election with a campaign based on nothing but lies and empty promises. This assumption is undoubtedly valid about the 2016 election, but what about in 2020? How do veterans still support Trump? “Blue” lies indeed play a role and are extremely powerful because no matter how ridiculous his claims get; his supporters will back it. However, he has openly— and bluntly— insulted everyone who’s served and serving. I thought that insulting John McCain and every other veteran would’ve “drawn a line in the sand,” but I stand corrected. 

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The Stats

According to the MilitaryTimes, Trump’s ratings have fallen due to his recent offensive language.

MilitaryTimes.com

While this is surprisingly good news, the ratings between Trump and Biden are far too close. In this election, “close” guarantees almost nothing, as seen in 2016. So while I won’t complain that only 3.9% more active-duty troops plan to vote for Biden, it’s not enough. Also understand this poll is solely active-duty troops. As for veterans, Pew Research Center found this:

Pew Research Center

With over 50% of veterans supporting Trump, in 2019, unless they had a sudden change in morals, I’m not sure if they’ll ever stop supporting Trump.

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Who Hasn’t Trump Insulted?

I’m going to stick to the last four years because I’d be writing for days if I ranted about Trump’s military insults. In August 2018, John McCain died from brain cancer. McCain was a highly-decorated veteran as well as a prisoner-of-war survivor. He laid his life on the line and experienced a soldier’s — very possible — worst nightmare. Despite his sacrifices, when McCain died, according to three sources — each directly involved with Trump — he said, ‘We’re not going to support that loser’s funeral,’ and he became furious, according to witnesses, when he saw flags lowered to half-staff. ‘What the f*ck are we doing that for? Guy was a f*cking loser,’ the president told aides.” Mind you, McCain was republican, with conservative principles, so it wasn’t political. There’s just something utterly inappropriate about Trump’s morals.  

It seems as if every month — or every couple of weeks — some inappropriate comments that Trump said arise. And like everything else he says, it largely goes without protest from his supporters. Earlier this September, it came out that, in reference to visiting a veteran cemetery, Trump said, “Why would I want to go to that cemetery? It’s filled with losers.” And according to The Atlantic, in another conversation referencing the same visit, Trump called the more than 1,800 marines who lay in those graves and sacrificed their lives, “suckers.”

Photo by Holly Mindrup on Unsplash

Trump has insulted just about every social, sexual, economic, and racial group to exist — sometimes multiple at once. Frankly, even the low socioeconomic white class (his biggest supporters) has no practical reason to support him. But if they stuck with him through the last four years of lies and misogyny, then there’s no changing their minds now. The only group in this country I can see having a “practical” reason to vote for him is rich white men, though that would require one to also have no morals. 

I don’t think I’ll ever fully understand why anyone, especially veterans, still support Trump. I guess I’ll toss this one up to the mysteries of human pride — once someone thinks they’re right, it can be impossible to convince them otherwise.

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“All men make mistakes, but a good man yields when he knows his course is wrong, and repairs the evil. The only crime is pride.” 

Socrates, Antigone

Posted by:Cleveland Lewis III

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