Billionaire real-estate mogul and now presidential candidate Donald J. Trump is leading the Republican primary polls this summer. Yet, even as his numbers rise the majority of narratives I read online continue to reflect the idea that Trump “has no chance” and that he “shouldn’t be taken seriously.” But while much of the media seems to have written off Trump’s chances, I certainly have not.
After living through the (Republican) presidency of George W. Bush and (Democratic) presidency of Barack Obama, one glaring similarity presented itself above all others—my interests were no longer represented by either party. In the American political system, money buys influence and power. Unfortunately, I don’t make enough to have either. Ironically, it is Trump’s extensive wealth that gives him the unique opportunity to change this broken system.
Trump is the only candidate (on both sides) who won’t be vying for political funds in exchange for political favors. He has made it clear that he won’t be bought. When asked about campaign donations during the first major republican primary debate on Aug. 6, for example, Trump’s reply was refreshingly honest. “I give to everybody,” he said. “When they call, I give. And you know what? When I need something from them, two years later, three years later, I call them. They are there for me. And that’s a broken system.” A broken system indeed.
As a millennial, an immigrant, and a New Yorker, I don’t seem to possess the characteristics of the Trump supporter stereotype. I’m not a member of the 1%, nor am I anti-immigrant or anti-women. Nevertheless, Trump has convinced me that he will provide the necessary leadership to help our country succeed. Of all the candidates arguably none have accomplished more or led more industries than Trump.
As an immigrant who legally immigrated to this country, I strongly support Trump’s stance against illegal immigration. Illegal immigration has an unfair effect on legal immigration and the pursuit of the America dream. I don’t believe we can ever expand legal immigration if our resources continue to go to those who have accessed them illegally. Trump understands this and wants to crack down on illegal immigration so that legal immigrants can achieve the American Dream they deserve. Indeed, the idea that someone can cheat the system and be rewarded for it, while law-abiding individuals have their access stripped away, is something no American should support.
As a New Yorker, I struggle to find anyone on either side of the political aisle that truly understands me. New York has made me socially liberal in many ways—I abhor discriminatory policies based on sex, race, gender, etc. and strongly believe in the separation of church and state. Policies that are anti-gay marriage or anti-choice don’t represent my views. At the same time, after witnessing a despicable amount of corruption and waste in New York’s governance, I have become fiscally conservative. Thus, I am left looking for a candidate that is both socially liberal and fiscally conservative.
Trump is this candidate. Like me, he is fiscally conservative. And, like me, he is more influenced by his New York upbringing than by any religious motives. He has liberal-leaning tendencies (has often said gay employees should not be discriminated against) and even Republican Party leaders have criticized his lack of “conservatism.” And while Trump has also been criticized for “non-liberal” stances on abortion and gay marriage, remember that in 2008 Obama himself said he was against gay marriage. All candidates are forced to make statements by their political environment—statements they may or may not personally believe. I see Trump as the conservative candidate least likely to make any significant changes when it comes to social issues.
Ultimately, Trump’s more balanced positions are an opportunity for some much-needed compromise in a hopelessly polarized Washington. His urban upbringing gives me hope that he might actually fight for compromise on common sense issues, such as stricter gun control (Trump isn’t part of the gun culture although he has called himself a supporter of the Second Amendment), women’s health issues (Trump supports funding Planned Parenthood), increasing opportunities for the poor by taking back jobs from overseas and reforming the H-1B visa program.
These might be lofty expectations for a man with no political experience. Then again, political experience hasn’t worked out so well in Washington lately. With Congress’s approval ratings at sustained lows and polarization at abysmal highs, we need a drastic change in Washington. I believe Donald J. Trump as president could be that change.