by Arnold Snyder
First off, I should mention I’m 70 and when I voted for Trump in 2016, I was 68 and had never in my life voted for a Republican. Most of the Trump supporters I know are people like me. One of the biggest mistakes being made by democrats, the media, and the anti-Trump factions, is that Trump supporters are characterized as a bunch of uneducated backwards hillbillies or racist gun nuts or mentally defective idiots or hardcore republicans. Most of the Trump supporters I know are pretty damn smart, simply because my friends and associates base consists of a lot of professional gamblers, a subset of the country that’s definitely above-average in intelligence.
Despite never voting republican in the past, I’m not and never have been a hardcore democrat. For most of my life I’ve been apolitical. George Carlin once remarked that he never voted because the system is rigged and the people running the world are in a private club and we’re not in it. I relate strongly to that sentiment.
The first time I ever felt like voting, like maybe my vote could make a difference, was in the 2008 election (at which time I was 60). When I first heard there was a black man in serious contention as the democratic party’s nominee, I figured he didn’t stand a chance against Hillary, whom I couldn’t stand. I figured she would get the nomination and I wouldn’t even waste my time voting.
When Obama became the dem’s candidate, I was astonished. My wife and I both donated the max allowed for individuals to his campaign (and my wife—a Harvard graduate—was a political cynic much like me) and we even went to see Obama speak at a rally at Cashman Field here in Las Vegas. It was the first time I’d ever donated to a political campaign and the first time I’d ever gone to see a candidate speak.
I remember the immense pride I felt that a major party was running a black man for president and how it made me feel an even greater pride for the country when he was elected. His beating McCain astonished me, as McCain was a well-known war hero, a highly experienced politician, and someone I couldn’t stand because I saw him as nothing but another republican war hawk. I felt Obama’s election was a real milestone that indicated that the country truly had changed.
By the time the 2012 election rolled around, I was thoroughly disgusted with Obama. He’d spent four years bailing out the banks to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars, letting the homeowners who had been taken to the cleaners by the banks suffer the bankruptcies and lost life savings. He was just like the rest of that private club, in it for the money.
But up against Romney—whom I viewed as even more disgusting than McCain, as Romney essentially got rich through Bain Capital doing hostile takeovers and stealing retirement funds from otherwise solvent businesses by putting them into bankruptcy and liquidating their hedge funds—I voted for Obama once more in 2012 as the lesser of two evils.
Then, 2016 comes along and Bernie Sanders is in serious contention for the democrat’s nomination. I found it hard to believe that he stood any chance at all, as he refused to take money from lobbyists and special interests, but his rallies were drawing thousands of supporters and I was convinced enough that he had a chance that once again, I found myself donating to his campaign and I even caucused for Bernie in Nevada—first time I’d ever caucused for a presidential candidate. I admit I was encouraged that Bernie had a chance because of the huge crowds he was drawing when Hillary’s rallies were pathetic. She obviously had no support to speak of. Bernie was the man.
Meantime, I started watching the republican primary debates. I wanted to see who Bernie might be up against. I found the republican debates to be great entertainment because of this screwball candidate Donald Trump. I had no prior opinion on Trump one way or the other. I’d never seen his TV show. My wife and I got rid of our cable and Dish 15 years ago as we had no interest in the popular shows. I’ve never seen an episode of Survivor, or any of the Real Housewife shows. I wouldn’t know a Kardashian if I tripped over one. Just by being on social media, I knew the names of many shows and their stars, but had no interest in them. My perspective on Trump was solely as a businessman who had once owned Atlantic City casinos. If anything, I found that more negative than positive, but not that negative. I have a lot of friends on both sides of the tables.
But the republican primary debates were hilarious. Trump dominated every debate and he was so funny as he destroyed his competition. I couldn’t stand any of the other republican candidates –Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Carlie Fiorina, etc—they all came off as complete nincompoops. It was so much fun watching Trump—who was so obviously the smartest of the group, the quickest wit, the most polished speaker, the most informed—embarrassing this pathetic field of republicans that I hated.
All these other republicans were getting big money contributions from the Koch Bros (who hated Trump) and George Soros (who was also donating huge amounts to the Clinton campaign) as well as the big banks, etc. Trump and Bernie were the only two candidates who refused to take special interest money and that endeared me to both of them. George Soros, of course, is one of those big shots in that “private club” that George Carlin referred to. Soros was giving money not only to Clinton and lots of establishment dems, but to lots of establishment republicans as well, including Jeb Bush and John Kasich and Paul Ryan and lots of other slimeballs who would do Soros’ bidding to help him rake in more billions. In fact, when all the other Republican candidates had been thoroughly trounced by Trump, Kasich’s campaign was kept alive entirely by Soros.
When Hillary won the democrat nomination—and it came out even before the convention that Bernie had been officially shafted by the DNC that had decided on Hillary as the candidate long before the primaries and the convention—I was totally disgusted with the DNC. I had wasted my money donating to Bernie. The DNC had picked their candidate and the whole Bernie campaign was just a show to make it look like Hillary had actually won, when she had been chosen.
It was in the summer of 2016 (4 -5 months before the election) when the Wikileaks DNC documents were published. I thought I disliked Hillary before; now I was thoroughly disgusted with her and the entire DNC. It was just flat out wrong what they did to Bernie. Millions of his supporters had donated many millions of dollars to his campaign, and god knows how many hours his dedicated campaign workers had spent to get him the nomination, and the DNC had already decided it was going to be Hillary. And Hillary knew it was rigged and she did nothing to stop it.
The Bernie supporters who then supported Hillary when Bernie was knocked out were the ones who paid no attention to the Wikileaks docs. Those of us who were reading them in disbelief couldn’t possibly vote for Hillary. I started viewing the entire DNC as nothing but a criminal enterprise. It was also when I first realized the mainstream media was bogus, as the media had access to the Wikileaks docs, yet they glossed over that story so fast and just became big time Hillary cheerleaders. Disgusting.
When Trump won the republican nomination, I was confused. There must have been a hundred articles written about how he was destroying the republican party. All the major conservative/republican pundits like Bill Kristol and Krauthammer and dozens more were dragging Trump through the mud. Paul Ryan hated him. Romney hated him. McCain hated him. But I disliked all of them. There were constant articles in the conservative press about various schemes the republican party could employ to get rid of Trump and get an establishment republican in his place.
A huge NeverTrump faction of republicans arose to attempt some kind of coup that would work to get a real republican into the election. The republicans felt they’d been blindsided by a nonrepublican who ran on their ticket and somehow won. How could it possibly have happened?
I started watching the Trump rallies and immediately I understood the republicans’ concerns. Trump really wasn’t a republican in the traditional establishment sense. At his rallies he kept talking about making America work for the disappearing middle class and the working class and the poor. He kept reaching out to blacks and Hispanics who were trapped in the inner city war zones that were ruled by drug gangs, neighborhoods where there were crappy schools and no jobs available and no hope. He kept saying to the blacks, “Vote for me. What have you got to lose? I will fix your neighborhoods. I will bring real jobs with decent pay. I will get the gangs and the drugs out of your streets. What have you got to lose?” (I’m paraphrasing.)
This appealing to blacks and Hispanics and the inner city poor had the republican establishment fit to be tied. Republicans had traditionally been the party of the wealthy, the party of the elite. Krauthammer and Kristol were right. Trump was ruining the traditional republican party.
But his message also scared the shit out of the democrats who had always considered the poor and the minorities to be a big part of their base. In fact, since Bill Clinton took office in 1992, the democrats had quit fighting for the middle class and the poor and the dems had become—just like the republicans—another party for the elite. This is why so many establishment republicans—like the Bushes—said they would be voting for Hillary. She, at least, was part of their elite “private club.”
What truly shocked me was the way the media portrayed Trump and his message. The media likened Trump’s speaking style to Hitler’s. I admit I don’t speak German and all I’ve ever seen of Hitler’s oratory is short bursts of loud yelling, but Trump in his rallies was essentially a humorist, the same as he was in the republican primary debates. He was very funny, constantly joking. He had me laughing out loud many times. I don’t recall reading that Hitler’s speeches had his audience in stitches.
The media also said Trump was racist like Hitler. That made no sense to me. Did Hitler in his speeches tell the Jews that if they voted for him he would get them better jobs and a better lifestyle? Trump has also been characterized as anti-Semitic. But Trump is decidedly pro-Israel and has been praised by Netanyahu for his staunch defense of Jews and Israel.
Although many of those who are calling Trump racist are, in fact, black, Hispanic or Jewish, some might argue that his racism is directed at Muslims. But Muslims are not a race. Muslims, like Jews, are Arabs. And Trump has never condemned the Muslims or any other religion. He has railed against ISIS and Hezbollah and Al Qaeda, but these radical thugs who kidnap children and murder Christians and Jews have been condemned by Muslims all over the Arab world as not representing true Islam.
I really saw no option in the 2016 presidential election other than to vote for Trump. Hillary is a crook and an establishment goon like so many republicans (and democrats these days) and if Congress or the FBI ever gets around to looking at the Clinton Foundation, she will likely be prosecuted for high crimes and felonies.
By the way, I don’t own a gun. Never have. I’m not and never have been an evangelical anything. In the 60s I did volunteer work for a group in Detroit called Vietnam Summer. We organized antiwar efforts and distributed antiwar materials like the Children of Vietnam book that showed pictures of children who had been napalmed. I suspect the FBI has a dossier on me from that time. In 1967, I moved to San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district to be a “hippie,” as we freaks were referred to by the media. I took a lot of psychedelics for a few years. In the 80s I moved to Berkeley and got into performance poetry.
Today, I’m mostly noted as a gambling expert as a result of many books I’ve written on blackjack and poker. My main source of income right now is from a website I edit and write that reviews and promotes adult entertainment (strip clubs, legal brothels, etc.) in Las Vegas. I still smoke weed regularly. I don’t consider myself a democrat or republican. But I’m still happy I voted for Trump and I’m glad he’s taking down the crooked Democrats and Republicans. He may be the most honest politician In Washington, and in my opinion, he is by far the most courageous.
I often see articles in the mainstream media wondering how Trump supporters can continue to support him even after all the negative news that has come out about him. But most of the reputable news I’ve seen about Trump has been very positive. I don’t consider CNN or the New York Times to be reputable anymore. At one time, they reported news. Now they’re just propaganda rags. They slant every story and just make shit up. But there’s a lot of honest news reportage available to anyone who’s online — which is almost everyone. I wonder about the IQ level of people who are believing the dreck that’s published in the so-called mainstream media, which really isn’t mainstream anymore. Any time someone tells me about something they read in the Washington Post or heard on MSNBC, if I have any interest at all I know I have to go online and get the real story, which is almost never what the MSM reports.
I’ll start respecting the mainstream media again when they start acknowledging that many Trump supporters are actually smart and well-informed — and a lot more well-informed than people who pay attention to the MSM. For example, regarding the media’s reporting prior to the election, see Fake News Part One.