For liberals wondering how so many people voted for Trump, let me reasonably explain one perspective.
I didn’t vote for Trump, but I agree with many of the policies the Republican party embodies (or at least, that it used to embody… that’s starting to change… but anyway…). This is the case for a lot of conservatives. For many liberals, the federal government is the place to enact social reform.
Conservatives disagree with this philosophy.
Many conservatives don’t see the government as the place for social causes. Instead the place for social reform is in the private sector through charities, and affecting change in the culture through art, books, movies, churches, academic institutions, and the like.
But still, some conservatives are happy to support social causes within government, just not at the federal level. The Constitution says, “the powers not delegated to the United States (federal government) by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States (local government), are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” I know a lot of people who simply have the ideology that local government is better suited to handle social issues. To prove this with a cause many liberals favor, look at how peaceful and smooth marijuana reform has been when handled at the state level. Regardless of your view on it, you have to admit that letting the states handle it is working out well.
So since that’s the conservative philosophy of government they voted for the party that embodies that philosophy the best (and that had a realistic shot at winning), and the nominee of the party that embodies that philosophy happened to be Trump. Many, many conservatives don’t like Trump and think he is morally repugnant, but they voted based on party philosophy, not on personality. (side note: I couldn’t do that, because I believe character is an essential part of a representative democracy… another political philosophy that affects how I vote… but more on how I voted later.)
Clinton said something in her concession speech (a marvelous speech by the way) that I very much agreed with. “It (Our country) also enshrines other things: the rule of law, the principle that we are all equal in rights and dignity, freedom of worship and expression. We respect and cherish these values too. And we must defend them.” The “rule of law” is something that many conservatives value highly, and they value it above social reform. They want what the constitution says to be followed.
So, when the federal government starts taking powers for itself the law does not give to it, conservatives rightly get agitated and argue that those powers should be given to the States. The constitution gave procedures for amending itself and for creating new laws and conservatives are happy to see it amended and to see new laws written if those procedures are followed. They get agitated and argue when “clever” ruses are taken to circumvent the procedures written into the constitution.
That’s where this election (and all elections) landed for a lot of us. That’s why lots of thinking conservatives (I know there are a lot of non-thinking conservatives, just like there are a lot of non-thinking liberals) voted for Trump. It’s not that they’re “afraid” of homosexuals, it’s not that they hate women, it’s not that they are racists or “islamophobes” it’s that they value the rule of law in our country (and other basic political or general philosophies) and want to see peace and order established. They value the constitution over social causes. They value the rule of law over the rule of popular opinion. Without the rule of law, you have chaos.
(Aside about how I voted. Feel free to skip this if you like. Personally speaking, I hold very conservative philosophies of government and Christian philosophies of morality, so I couldn’t vote for the Democratic candidate because of policy and character, and couldn’t vote for the Republican candidate because of character and increasingly because of policy, so I wrote in an independent candidate that does more closely represent me. I believe that the character of a person representing you is one of the key aspects of a representative republic. I believe that if a person claims to support the right policies, but still has a repugnant character, they do not deserve my vote for office.)
My appeal to liberals in particular and conservatives alike:
Please engage in reasoned, rational discourse about your ideologies instead of mindlessly broad-brushing the other side. Many conservatives and many liberals are guilty of bigotry in both directions. Not everyone on the other side is simply a mindless idiot. Some are on both sides, but not all. Seek out those who can engage in rational discourse and talk to them! If you ever want to discuss politics reasonably and hear a thoughtful, respectful, but firm, conservative Christian perspective, I’m always happy to lend my voice, just give me a shout. I pray that everyone who reads this will take steps toward rationally discussing issues of policy and political philosophy with their friends, particularly their friends that they disagree with.
To Conservatives who refuse to THINK about what they believe, shame on you. To Liberals who refuse to THINK about what they believe, shame on you. To anyone who allows emotions and anger to prohibit free expression or the measured and respectful exchange of ideas, stop it! Free speech is one of the things that has made this country great. Being unable to listen to speech with which you disagree is a sign of severe immaturity and a sign of a lack of real thought or conviction. It reveals a simple and childish fear of having one’s worldview challenged.
I’ll close with a quote from Aristotle’s Metaphysics: “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” Americans used to be able to display truly educated minds, so let’s do it again!