A young American who voted for Trump in 2016 tells us why she has changed her mind and wants Biden to be the next President.
Jemima* is 30 and from South Georgia. She previously worked in law enforcement and now works for a university. She voted for Trump in 2016. Here she explains why, as a former Trump supporter, she will be voting for Biden this time around…
I was raised in an extremely conservative home. There was, and still is, no bending from the Right.
I was first able to vote in 2008 at the age of 18; I knew little to nothing about what I believed personally regarding the issues, I just followed along with what my parents thought. In 2012, I voted against Barack Obama again, choosing Romney/Ryan. I still was not totally immersed in politics at this point. 2016 was the first election where I was truly torn; I almost selected Gary Johnson. I leaned much more liberal at this point, but I hated Hillary Clinton.
Why I voted for Trump in 2016
The truth is I hated Hillary. I just truly, truly did. The handling of Benghazi was the end for me. After that, she was unforgivable and I did not want her running the country. I was ready for a female president, but not her. Honestly, nothing about Trump made me hopeful. He was the lesser of two evils.
I’m trying to recall if I had major concerns about him back in 2016 but it’s hard to remember. I was concerned he didn’t have a political background and his comments and past with women disgusted me. I would say, in 2016, those were my BIGGEST concerns.
When the results came in, I would say I was comfortably numb. I was honestly shocked that he won. I was assuming that Hillary would pull it off. I was hopeful that he would prove everyone wrong and do some good for our country. I wanted us to be able to support our president and see some positive changes. However, he has not presented any opportunity to allow anyone to do that.
On social media, I don’t get involved with politics. I’m not one to engage in political debates. I feel as if it’s a whole lot of talking and fighting with no one changing their minds. I made one political post two months ago voicing my support for Biden/Harris and I was attacked. Keep in mind, several of my Facebook friends are those who still reside in the southern region of the state and are “Trumpers”. However, I stopped playing mute at that point, because it was important to me to express my support for my candidate, no matter what others said.
The issues that are most important to me now when I choose who to vote for are healthcare, LGBTQ+ rights, women’s rights and criminal justice reform.
I am a former law enforcement officer who had to leave the field due to my disability (my choice). I have seen how Obamacare negatively affected some people once it was enacted – my parents’ insurance costs went up $20K a year.
However, as a member of the disability and chronic illness community, I have seen how lapsed insurance, or no insurance, can financially destroy or fail to provide basic necessities to those who need medication, equipment, treatment and hospitals to survive. Proving that you are a disabled person and receiving disability is extremely difficult. I need ostomy supplies in order to have waste exit my body – I can’t walk around shitting on myself all the time! I have had nine urology appointments in the past 18 days due to my illness and, yes, they were essential. How could I afford a lapse in insurance for even a day? I don’t know the answer to the healthcare question, but too many Americans aren’t covered and I want a plan to see what would happen to me and many like me if we find ourselves in such a predicament. As evidenced by Covid-19, our insurance should not be tied to employment.
As someone who has worked in the law enforcement profession, criminal justice reform is necessary. I wish that Biden would legalise marijuana entirely instead of decriminalising it, but even that is still progress. Aside from the taxes that could be made from legalisation, it is a waste of time to prosecute through the criminal justice system. No one should be locked up as a result of a marijuana charge. It’s something many law enforcement officers are exhausted with dealing with: from arrest to charge, to prosecution and probation. Should you drive under the influence? No. Other than that, it’s an incredible waste of resources and taxpayer dollars.
I care about treatment and rehabilitation. Biden has constantly mentioned drug courts, which I have worked closely with, and this is something that makes my heart happy each time I hear him speak on the subject. Those who have a drug issue need treatment, not incarceration. Incarceration will do nothing for them – there are a plethora of drugs within the jails and prisons (I have been on many drug raids in jails and they can seriously hide paraphernalia anywhere – and lots of it). Treatment and rehabilitation will allow them to help treat their disease and reintegrate into society. I cannot describe what a beautiful thing it is when it works and it works well.
Mandatory minimums need to be completely abolished – it is nonsense. Capital punishment is ludicrous at this point. Statistics can vary from state to state, but it costs the tax payers so much more money to try a death penalty case and execute someone (exhausting appeals in the process) than to keep them in prison. It is a waste of resources.
How four years of Trump changed my mind
With the Supreme Court nomination of Amy Coney Barrett, I’m terrified. Will same-sex couples be able to marry? Will women be able to get abortions? Those seem like simple questions, and maybe, “no way that’ll be overturned” but it’s something I greatly fear for them. We must protect those in the LGBTQ+ community, women, and those in marginalised populations. I would say the last few months have had me most scared in regard to this.
I regret my vote for Trump every day. Looking back, in 2016, I still would not have voted for Hillary.
I think that Trump is a businessman and he has helped to bolster the economy that Obama built during his time in office, up until Covid. The First Step Act was a movement toward criminal justice reform, but not enough. Despite the fact that his failures are momentous in comparison to his accomplishments (the handling of the pandemic, separating/killing families at the border, destroying America’s image, to name a few of the failures), he is a blatant racist, misogynist, xenophobic, nepotistic person that I do not want representing our country.
As for the mood music here, it is dismal. We are exhausted, angry, hurt, fighting. It seems to be the thing on everyone’s mind – and even though we are nearing election day, we know we might not even get a president straight after the vote if there is trouble over mail-in/absentee ballots and the likelihood that Trump will contest if he loses. So we’re gearing up for another round of chaos.
My peers share my views. My immediate family do not; my extended family do. This is the first year in a long time that my parents and myself have actually had thoughtful, peaceful discussions about issues, and even been able to joke about things at times, which is odd to do considering the state of the world.
While Biden would not have been my first choice, I was very happy to have the introduction of Kamala Harris as Biden’s running mate.
Would I be swayed to vote for Trump again? Short answer: no. Long answer: hell fucking no!
*Name has been changed
Image credits: Getty