Not Your Typical Trump Supporter

When I asked ACC student Brandon Wood whom he voted for earlier that Tuesday – day of the elections – his answer couldn’t have been more axiomatic: Donald J. Trump. Admittedly, I didn’t gauge Brandon as a Trump supporter, and was curious to comprehend his philosophy on voting for Trump, and his views on the future state of the nation.

Poised, courteous and well-spoken, Brandon, a Highland’s Ranch resident and an aspiring medical doctor describes himself as a conservative leaning Republican. He isn’t fond of big government and admires people who fend for themselves. His parents met in Seoul, South Korea, where his young father worked for the US Government, in the field of Intelligence.

“It wasn’t always easy,” explains Brandon whose mother was born deaf and whose father was raised by a single mother. “My father wanted to ease the burden for his mother, by enlisting in the military, and becoming financially independent.” Years later, when Brandon turned sixteen, his father taught him how to open IRAs and stock accounts, and he says this accounts as to why he happens know much about the stock markets.

I asked to pick his brain in a more formal manner, and the resulting interview is below:

Rashid Mohamed: Given your financial background and knowledge, how does Donald Trump appeal to you as a Presidential candidate?

Brandon Wood: I dabble in stocks and bonds a little. You have the best of both worlds. Trump is a business man. There’s two different types of financial growth: small business growth that heavily relies on stocks, but you also have government growth which depends on bonds and treasuries. With Trump, you will see more business growth because he will lower taxes on the rich which in turn might mean inflation of the stock. Now, this could be bad from one perspective because the reason for the recent recession was that the stocks became so inflated that they had to eventually drop back down. You see, the way stocks work is they always hover around the inflation mark. Rarely do they go far above, or far below that mark. Well, recently its been shooting way above the mark, that’s why a lot of people started becoming rich. The recession kind of alleviated all of that situation.

Rashid: Donald Trump’s business acumen is well-known.  However, from a societal perspective, do you find his rhetoric might create an America that is going to be more polarized?

Brandon: There is that aspect, but I think it’s more because he’s just not thinking clearly. I believe one reason why people like Trump is because of the coined phrase “politically correctness” and identity politics. You can’t say gays, you can’t say lesbians, there’s the term homophobia and all that now. It’s the fact that we’ve pushed so ‘PC’, like the Press; if you say something wrong, or you say something bad, well you immediately have to give up you job. If you say something discriminatory against women, like how the media showed Trump speaking badly about women, amongst his peers. I don’t see it as such big deal when Trump comes out and says these things.

Rashid: With regards to Freedom of Speech do you find there should be any limitation placed on that right when it comes to hate speech or sexually explicit statements or even calls for violent protest?

Brandon: Certainly not from the government. Like we have the idea of freedom of speech here in America. And I believe everyone should have the right to freedom of speech, but does that also apply to racism and discriminatory tags? I say, yes and no. People should have the right to say what they think without you and me saying, “you can’t say that and you can’t do this,” – when they’re amongst their own people. Also, America is a big country with a large population. Often times the aspect of intelligence plays in too and sometimes people simply don’t know that what they are saying might be offensive to others.

Rashid: People have criticized the media for focusing too much on Trump’s verbal mishaps. Would you say his comments especially about women are harmless?

Brandon: I do think that is one of the bad traits of Trump. But the point that counter-acts those flaws is his honesty. There’s a reason why I can’t go for Hillary Clinton, and that’s typically because of her dishonesty. Even though Trump will say bad things at least he’s being honest and forth right about it. He’s not going to change his mind unless there’s a viable reason for him to change his mind. Whereas Hillary, there’s been a lot of lies where she’s gone back and forth and I personally think she’s doing it to appease the masses. Like the situation in Benghazi. She blatantly lied about what really happened. Those are the two things that irk me the most: Benghazi and the fact that she went to Libya and says she was shot at but she never was shot at. Then she quickly changed what she said had really happened.

Rashid: It seems like the issue of Benghazi has haunted Hilary throughout her whole campaign. Is it just the dishonesty that you don’t like about Hilary or are there other things?

Brandon: Well, there are a lot of policy issues she wants to continue, such as Obama care. Universal healthcare isn’t a bad idea, however, the way we’re going about it, is completely wrong. When it first got started it cost $1.2 trillion dollars to finance Obama care. Eight years later, it’s now pushing $4 trillion; there’s no way we can support it because we can’t keep giving, giving, giving. Also, Hillary doesn’t want to support the war on ISIS by sending troops. Well, the reason why we sent troops there was to contain ISIS and keep them small. Now, when it has become as flagrant as it is, ISIS has now grown to several countries wide, we can contain them any longer as a small insurgency. There’re everywhere, even here in America.

Rashid: Your father is an American and your mother is a native South Korea. Given your biracial background, are you sometimes confronted with discrimination?

Brandon: The thing about discrimination, is that it comes in all shapes and sizes. Like racism: people think we’ve solved racism but everyone is going to be a little racist, every now and then. The typical stereotype that Asians are smart, Asians become doctors. Although these are good stereotypes, you are still taking a race and you’re attributing some sort of idea or tag to it. So, I still think there’ll be some sort of racism; you know, like the stereotype that black people typically tend to have less than white people. And I don’t think there’s a way to stop that.  I mean, take high school for example, it’s like, why didn’t you hang out with ‘Bruce’ over there? He was a nice guy and all, if you actually knew him, but you decided not to. Why? Well, it’s human nature to conform and find a place where you fit in. No one wants to be the odd man out. So, I think there’s always going to be some sort of discrimination and racism – but we can lessen it, as much as we can.

Rashid: What’s your take on Donald Trump’s immigration policy?

Brandon: So, the way I am about immigration is nicely summed up in a Youtube video of a American professor who uses gum-balls as a metaphor for immigrants. The professor explains the flawed policy of the US government taking in nearly one million immigrants a year in order to alleviate poverty in developing countries. These immigrants, in my opinion, ought to be given authorized work permits so that they can come here to learn but then take back that knowledge to grow their own communities back in Mexico, Africa and Asia. So, as opposed to letting these people stay indefinitely, they ought to be given limited work permits, because according to the World Bank, every year nearly 52 million people slip into poverty. So the problem is when they come over here, they see all the social benefits America provides for its citizens and they want that as well. They eventually ask themselves why go back to South America or Africa or Asia when I can just stay here? And I don’t agree with that at all because it creates a ‘brain-drain’ in those poorer countries when the educated people leave and don’t return to build their communities.

Rashid: Seeing as many of your family members have come from another part of the world, are you concerned about how they will be treated in Trump’s America?

Brandon: Yes, actually quite a bit; especially my mother. I don’t know if it’s because of World War II with the Japanese or something, but there’s a lot of older Americans that have an extreme prejudice against Asian people, especially if they’ve fought in the wars. They have the right to think that way, I mean, even though South Koreans weren’t fighting against Americans, but there’s still that discrimination because of the Asian aspect. And it’s not so much verbal, as it is body language, cause they’ll give you the glare, the cold stares and sometimes if you need something at a restaurant, they’ll kinda just ignore you as long as they can, till you come up and say, “hey, I need some help.” Then they’ll help you. But I don’t think things will necessarily change or worsen drastically under Trump. —

The brown and yellow leather-cushioned seats, in the mostly empty McDonald’s on Santa Fe drive, basked solemnly in the afternoon sun while several hanging flat screen TVs quietly relayed the latest news on the upcoming Presidential elections.

Riding home later that evening, I realized just how much of Trump’s message truly echoed across so many of America’s societal layers; demystifying the notion that only working class ‘white’ America supported Trump. Still, somehow I felt my faith in a cohesive America burning ever brightly, particularly when I considered the high approval ratings for outgoing President Obama. Perhaps the divide isn’t that big and won’t be as hard to bridge if Donald J. Trump does become the 45 US President.

Brandon believes America will keep calm and carry on business as usual.

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