Editor’s note: this article was written before the string of sexual assault allegations regarding Mr. Trump. Geraci has not withdrawn his support.
Among their generally more left-leaning peers, young Trump supporters often feel a need to stay quiet amid what seems to be a social stigma against them.
A PBS article titled “Some Trump supporters are afraid to speak out” details the stigma some Trump supporters feel about showing their enthusiasm publicly. Author Tara Jeffries cites the case of students at the University of Maryland who have started a club called “Terps for Trump.” This was done with some reluctance the–students did not know how it would affect them in college. Members highlight abuse ranging from online harassment to disapproving looks from others on campus. One member of “Terps for Trump,” however, brings up that the club has seen some support from student, albeit quietly.
Trump supporters are also present on McDaniel’s campus, and they too claim to have been treated with hostility when they express their support. One such supporter, Joe Geraci, a sophomore economics and political science major, has been following the 2016 presidential campaign closely.
After Rand Paul’s drop from the presidential race, Geraci turned to Trump. Geraci notes that he has seen “only a handful” of fellow Trump supporters at McDaniel. He is openly pro-Trump and does not shy away from expressing his sentiment, though this has not gone over well with everyone on campus.
When Geraci tells people about his support, he notes that their “whole opinion of [him] changes” and that “people definitely treat [him] differently.” Geraci agrees that a fear of hostile treatment for supporting Trump is a factor in many supporters’ reluctance to voice their support, stating, “the reactions from others can be emotional and hurtful.”
Beyond the stigma of his views, Geraci has been satisfied with Trump’s leadership decisions so far. Geraci was initially skeptical of Trump’s running mate Mike Pence, though, after research, Geraci now states that Trump “couldn’t have made a better choice” for his running mate.
When asked about the Never Trump movement, the conservatives who claim that they will never vote for Trump, Geraci states that they are a small group and feels as though they are being “sore losers” and that they have “a lot to lose” if Trump does not win the election. Geraci was also not sympathetic to Republicans like President George H.W. Bush, who claim that they will vote for Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee. Geraci asserts that President George H.W. Bush “never really stood for what he believed in.”
Finally, Geraci states that Trump definitely has a “better temperament than Hillary” Clinton. He also thinks that we will see a change from Trump and expects Trump to win the second debate on Oct. 9th.
Love them or hate them, Trump supporters have a presence even here at McDaniel. Perhaps what’s important is to foster mutual understanding and see why everyone supports whichever candidate, not demonize individuals for supporting what they think is for the betterment of the U.S.