“Republicans are destroying this country.” It’s a sentiment many Democrats share, especially on social platforms like Instagram, Twitter and Reddit, where the left-leaning user base of each site vehemently hates Republican politicians and those who vote for them.
While I agree that in the past four years, the GOP has done extensive damage to America, it’s important that we, as individuals, recognize that our fellow Americans’ political leanings don’t define them. Many Republicans are upstanding citizens and good people who want the best for our nation–they just see a different path to that point.
Now, before I launch into my wholehearted defense of Republican voters, it’s obvious I’ll have to make some qualifications. I’m not saying that the beliefs and actions of every Republican are just, nor do I believe that all Republicans are good people. And, for that matter, not all Democrats are good either–there are always exceptions. All I believe is that when you look at the majority of Americans who voted for Donald Trump in 2016 and/or 2020, most of them aren’t bad people. They’re simply—at least from my political standpoint—misguided individuals.
When I talk to my Republican acquaintances about why they support—or supported—Trump, it’s often because they don’t see a bright future for our nation under a Democratic candidate. Never have I knowingly met a bigoted Trump supporter. Most don’t like him, disagree with the majority of what he says and despise his racist and sexist comments, but voted for him because they care more about policies than personalities.
Though Trump may be an awful person, not all of it is reflected in his policies for America. Or at least, the policies they care about, since many are fiscally conservative voters who let their pocketbooks guide their ballots.
And that brings me to the real crux of the issue: Too many Trump voters and Republicans, in general, simply care less about social issues than they do about finances, because, at the end of the day, the state of racism in the nation means little to a suburban white man or woman trying to feed their children or an entrepreneur running a business.
Regardless of whether Republican presidents actually do better for the economy, as long as they’re perceived as such, they’ll have the votes of many upstanding Americans who might, otherwise, choose Democratic candidates. A part of the reason Joe Biden won is because of the economic downturn and high unemployment rates we’re seeing during the pandemic, which are turning “pocketbook voters” to Biden’s side.
The truth is, because we only have two viable parties in America, each is going to encompass an enormous spectrum of beliefs, and the majority of each side’s voters don’t agree with every one of their candidates’ policies–they just choose who they think is best for America.
What truly shows a person’s character is not their political party, but the reason why they choose to vote for specific candidates. People who are trying their best to do what’s right for their community will base their decisions off of a candidate’s individual policies and views, choosing the one they think will best represent them in government. And if that means a Democrat voting for a Republican, or vice versa, that’s OK because our parties don’t define us. Our beliefs, and how we express them, do.
It’s never too late to change your mind about who you support and who you claim to hate. What’s worse than blanket-judging a group once is continuing to do it just because you can’t bring yourself to apologize—and that applies to people of all political standpoints.