Why didn't you vote in the US election?

US elections 2020: why so many voted Donald Trump anyway

Donald Trump was able to gain even with blacks, Latinos and white women. How can that be? The answer to this question has a lot to do with your own prejudices.

Democracy is anything but easy and sometimes it is damn hard to endure. This form of government demands a lot from citizens: self-control, tolerance, tolerance and resilience. In dictatorships people are at the mercy of powerlessness, in a democracy they are condemned to take back themselves, to regulate disappointment, frustration, anger and incomprehension, and to let others grudgingly take precedence. Donald Trump cannot do any of that. "He is not a democrat, and even as an autocrat he is lousy," it said aptly in a comment by the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger.

Donald Trump has not yet won the election against Joe Biden, everything is still open on the second day after the vote, but he has achieved astonishingly great success. In Texas, Florida, Ohio, three states with many voters, contrary to the last polls, he drove a clear lead of eight percentage points in some cases, even in Florida it is more than three percentage points and not just one, as in 2016, when Donald Trump against Hillary Clinton took over.

One of the reasons for this is that, according to Edison Research, Donald Trump was able to gain ground among ethnic minorities. In 2016, eight percent of blacks voted for him, now there were twelve. Among the Latinos, Donald Trump also rose by 4 percentage points.

Dismay shaped by prejudice

Many people in and outside the USA are completely perplexed, downright disconcerted, when minorities of all people vote for someone like Donald Trump. This dismay has a lot to do with one's own prejudices. After all, there are many different reasons why minorities voted for Donald Trump.

The most important reason is: Members of minorities are also completely normal people. Not all are fixated on their distinguishing features, such as their origin, and are, for example, defined solely by their skin color or their immigration history; this one-sidedness is constantly attributed to them, above all from the outside.

Perhaps they see themselves primarily as conservatives, as anti-communists, as evangelicals and are on the move in the appropriate social milieus, so that for them it is not Donald Trump's statements in the context of racism that are in the foreground, but his quality as a republican. They then ignore Trumpism at the ballot box because, from their point of view, the candidate has better grasped their own subjective problems.

Complex personalities, not just external attributions

The same goes for white women. With them, Mister "Grab them by the pussy" was also able to gain. Now women can see more in themselves than just women. It may irritate some men, but women also have complex personalities and cannot be understood only one-dimensionally through their gender. For example, a woman who sees herself as an entrepreneur above all else may feel more socio-economically addressed by Donald Trump, and the assumption that he is doing more for the economy will be decisive for her choice.

"Women for Trump": Despite the misogynistic statements Trump made in the past, he also found many female supporters in the election campaign. (Source: Andrew Dolph / imago images)

For others, it is self-hatred or feelings of insufficiency or inferiority that make them tend to this regardless of the hostility from Donald Trump. Some women chose him to say, "Look, I'm not a weak woman, I'm strong enough to vote even a macho."

As with majorities, there is a tendency towards generalizations among minorities. "They're all the same anyway," it says: "Barack Obama was a black man, and what did he bring us? Nothing." A Trump vote at this level can be a classic expression of frustration.

Status increase through Trump election

Underprivileged people hope for a status increase if they cling to Trumpism. In this context, courtesy services or attempts at ingratiation are also possible: Against the background of the racism debates, some voters are concerned with overcoming their own fears of exclusion and discrimination. They want to be able to call out to the "White Supremacists" in an emergency: "Hey, you don't need to attack me. I voted for Donald Trump!" Sometimes this is paired with the Saint Florian principle: "Better to button the rest of us, they voted for Joe Biden and are much worse for you."

The idea that members of a minority group always stick together and show solidarity with one another is a persistent prejudice, or at least a very widespread misunderstanding that has persisted for a long time.

Not only whites can be xenophobic

It is similar with another idea: many instinctively assume that only white people are racists and that they discriminate against other groups. This is by no means the case. Hispanic American, Afro-American citizens, Cherokee, Asians, Arabs, etc. can also discriminate, be xenophobic and reject further immigration for ethnic reasons. You would therefore be at the right address with Donald Trump.

Finally, there are biographically anchored reasons for a pro-Trump judgment that cannot be quantified at all, or selective factual considerations: some Jews, for example, focus on Donald Trump's support for Israel, while some Sunni Muslims focus on his tough position on Shiite Iran.

Only the complete package can be selected

But to make one thing clear and to prevent any distortions: the vast majority of voters among blacks and Latinos (87 and 66 percent) voted for Joe Biden. The explanations for the election of Donald Trump are by no means to be understood as justification.
A president is only available in a complete package. You can't choose just part of it. In the case of Donald Trump, this consideration is particularly significant, because anyone who has re-elected him for a facet that one likes or found personally useful has shown absolute ruthlessness and accepted sometimes fatal consequences.

Donald Trump may fulfill the part that one personally promises of him, but the price for this is complicity in everything the rest of the president is responsible for, such as deaths in the corona pandemic, the social division of the country, the massive escalation of ethnic tensions, the spread of sexism, the undermining of international agreements such as the Paris Climate Agreement and much more. Anyone who has voted for Donald Trump again after four years in office with such a shocking record cannot avoid such accusations and critical questions.

In the future, the responsibility of voters will have to be discussed more intensely on the other side of the Atlantic, but also here in Germany. A choice is sacred, a single choice is not. This complicates democracy even more, but like recognizing election results it is an essential part of it.

Lamya Kaddor is German with Syrian roots. In her column "Zwischenentöne", the Islamic scholar, Islamic religious educator and publicist, who is a member of the Greens, analyzes the topics of Islam and migration for t-online. The views expressed in the guest post reflect the opinion of the author and do not necessarily correspond to those of the t-online editorial team.

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