Do Sympathy Votes Count?

As Trump’s second week in office nears its end, a glimpse back to the campaign-from-hell may give insight into how the new president won his title.

By Kristina Fernandez, Florida State University


It is a tough argument to defend, but what if Donald Trump won the presidency through sympathy votes?

The United States is comprised of a vast amount of perspectives, and perhaps, some voters witnessed the hurtful comments made about Trump and actually felt sorry for him. Some  may have viewed him as a man trying to make a difference, who didn’t deserve all of the negativity being thrown his way.

As he trudged through all of the anti-Trump rhetoric of the election, Donald Trump showed that he was a confident, strong man capable of behaving as an unmovable force. There has been a boatload of criticism for the truculent neo-politician throughout his entire campaign, and it seemed almost certain that he was not going to win, but here we are. For the next four years, whether good or bad, Americans are living in “Trump’s America.”

Throughout modern history, there has never been a president going into office with as low of an approval rating as Trump. The reactions to his winning the election were either met with tears of joy or sobs of fear. For some, it is difficult to comprehend how someone could empathize with him, but based on how his supporters feel, it is clear that doing so is possible, as Trump fans shamelessly take his side in his fight against the media.

Sympathy May Have Crash-landed Trump in the White House

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Despite irrefutable evidence that Trump has made several false claims, his followers remain faithful. While the media says one thing, he says another. President Trump has challenged journalists, accusing them of being dishonest, “horrible people,” most likely for the way they watch him like hawks, ready to strike at any moment.

We’ve all seen it. As you scroll down your Facebook feed, dozens of Trump interview clips will show the president making statements that he later denies . The contrast between Trump and the media leaves viewers pretty damn confused, so many voters made sure to do everything they could to prevent a Donald Trump presidency. Countless celebrities in commercials, high-profile endorsements and shows like “Saturday Night Live ” really laid it on thick to encourage voters to ensure Trump did not step foot into the White House.

Oh, and you can’t forget the memes. Never forget the memes.

Memes, articles and videos from media outlets make negative comments on everything associated with Trump. During the campaign, people who brought up previous remarks he made in order to make him look terrible were immediately attacked for asking questions. For Trump supporters, it did not matter. Their perspective was, “This is what it has come to. We need to act in order to protect ourselves from threats.” Many people are angry and scared, and when you’re tired of being frustrated, you look for something or someone to blame.

Their fear may be what drove Trump’s campaign motto: “Make America Great Again.” The slogan was a clever trick to inspire people’s nostalgia and create an image in which everything appeared wonderful and picturesque in America. The perfect family who lived in the loveliest house surrounded by the whitest of picket fences. The thought of an unreachable, idyllic world works for some people, but not for everyone. You can’t get everyone to support the return of a time that only seemed to be great for a select group of people.

Trump tugged on the fears and desires of people who saw him as their champion, as he embodied a no-nonsense businessman who genuinely wanted to do right by Americans and fix shit up. When the harsh criticism started to roll in, his supporters defended their figurehead, and anyone who spoke against their beloved Trump was perceived as untrustworthy, and most likely liars.

Perhaps in a brilliant move to defend himself, Trump began to play the victim card. Honestly, he really should’ve taken some lessons from Taylor Swift though, because he didn’t really do a great of a job of it. There were voters who just wanted to pick who they thought would be a less horrible choice, and for some, the choice was Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton was not necessarily the purest of politicians, but at least she’s been in the game for a while and had a smaller chance of fucking up a lot of shit.

Sympathy May Have Crash-landed Trump in the White House

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Trump has expressed dozens of grand plans to the public, and he has made sure to say a whole lot about how he was misrepresented and continually targeted by the media. It is no question the election has been a circus. A complete shit-show, if you will. If it were tallied, I imagine more memes were created than answers provided. At one point, many people seemed to dislike both Clinton and Trump, and were just trying to pick the lesser of the two evils. Most of the country has incredibly little faith in his presidency.

Within his first week as president, he has already signed an executive order reinstating the Global Gag Rule, which stops U.S. funding to international organizations that aid with family planning and reproductive health options, including abortion. On his sixth day as president, he approved the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, which so many defended for the sake of the environment and Native American people. Most recently, he instated a travel ban for seven Muslim-majority countries, preventing travelers from entering the United States, with an indefinite ban on Syrian refugees.

With each passing day of his presidency, Trump is continually losing support (not that he had that high of an approval rating to begin with) and is really pissing a lot of people off. Whether you agree with President Trump’s new policies or not, it is crucial to be open minded to the opinions of others and to look out for and attempt to understand one another. This is not a time to be a divided nation, as it is crucial we stand together for what we believe and speak out against injustice.

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