As a 32-year-old Latina woman, I voted for Donald Trump in last week’s US presidential election. I know that it’s challenging for some women – Democrat-minded feminists, especially – to understand why I was not for Hillary Clinton. So let me try to explain.
First things first: I’m not opposed to having a woman occupy the Oval Office. Like many others, I hope to see the day the USA boasts a female president (and/or a Hispanic president, for that matter). Like many others, I believe that day will come. But for me, that president could not be Clinton.
I appreciate that she has played a key role in our nation, and I respect the progress she has made in moving us towards a vision of a female ruler. She deserves credit for showing girls and women that we can get far in life, that the glass ceiling is not so high, and that together, we can shatter it.
But for me, deciding who got my vote for president was never about voting for a man or a woman. While I think that the sexes should be treated equally, I also believe that a person’s ability and qualifications should determine whether they are right for a job, not their gender.
My cousin, a Hillary supporter, told me that she saw having a woman president as a “perk” rather than a priority, but that wasn’t how Clinton conveyed it. She came across as arrogant about her womanhood: as though she, and she alone, was entitled to be our first female president. Indeed, so intent was Clinton on being an ‘aspirational’ figure to young girls that enlisting the support of pop stars like Beyoncé, J.Lo, and Katy Perry often seemed to be the main focus of her campaign.
Clinton’s shady reputation was another reason why many women weren’t fans of hers. Women are intuitive; we get a sense when a female counterpart is manipulative, backstabbing or in it for themselves. I’ve seen it in corporate America, and I sensed it from Madam Candidate too. Between the scandals surrounding her emails and the Clinton Foundation, the deaths in Benghazi due to her poor judgement and a heap of other missteps, I simply didn’t trust her character.
Yes, Trump has had some failed businesses and bankruptcies. Yes, he faced accusations of sexual assault. Yes, he engaged in some “guy talk”.
But nobody died, and he has never been questioned by the FBI. He has proved his ability to move forward through these setbacks and remain a successful billionaire.
A note on the sexual assault allegations made against Trump. They did not stop me for voting for him, because I was never convinced they were real, especially since Jill Harth and Jane Doe, the women who initiated legal proceedings against him, dropped their cases.
Anyone can come out and claim they were assaulted to stump someone else’s professional growth. There was not enough evidence of these incidents for my opinion of Trump – a family man – to be swayed.
But even if I can justify voting for Trump as a woman, how can I justify voting for him as a Latina? It’s a question that has been asked by some of my ‘amigos’, who cannot understand my support for our President-elect.
I’m less concerned by Trump’s describing some Mexicans as “rapists” and “killers” than his ability to keep our country safe and tackle our problems with illegal immigration. My mother is from Puerto Rico, an island that is in deep debt, and many other Latin American nations have problems with corrupt, oppressive or incompetent governments. This is exactly why so many of their people come to the USA in search of a better life.
In order to offer as the ‘American Dream’ to as many people as possible, we need to maintain our laws and values (you know, the things that make us a great country in the first place). We are a nation that welcomes others and thrives on diversity, but unfortunately, we have become too open.
Allowing people to sneak over the border is unfair to the many people who do go through the lengthy, lawful immigration process, and since we can’t rely on a water barrier, Trump’s wall, or temporary bans from terrorist regions, may be the reinforcement required to secure our country.
Many of my liberal colleagues and friends from around the world, including some in the UK, are outraged and distraught by Trump’s victory. Some are even refusing to speak to me. It’s an emotional response much like the reaction to Brexit, and it’s sad to see the Left protesting and resenting someone who hasn’t even started the job yet. If they really believe that “love trumps hate”, they would practice what they preach – rather than be sore losers.
But I understand that there is a worldwide misconception about Republicans. Our reputation has been tarnished by the liberal media and by people like Clinton, who demonized Trump supporters as “deplorables” (hardly the rhetoric of “coming together”). The truth is, Republicans want unity just as much as anyone else.
So show acceptance, show support, and see that we might actually strengthen our relationships with countries like Israel and Russia as a result of Trump’s election. Imagine that!
I know that Hillary’s concession speech, which came nine hours late, was inspirational to many feminists. If only her supporters would reconcile themselves to what she ultimately said:
“Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead.”
Images: Getty, Rex Features