Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton…WHY? This is the question I got asked all the time from professors and random Europeans while studying abroad in Maastricht, Netherlands. Since Europeans get all of their information about U.S. elections from the media, most of them think a majority of Republicans liked Donald Trump.
One day in class my professor went through the list of the Republican candidates asking us who we supported. When it came to Trump? No one raised their hand. For the Democrats? Not a single hand up for Hillary Clinton (a lot of Europeans are surprised we chose Hillary Clinton given all her scandals). Then he asked well who is supporting them since none of us are. Now I was studying abroad with Baylor which has a very conservative student population so it’s understandable none of us would raise our hand saying we supported Clinton.
So why did none of us support Trump in the Primary election? Because we are not the type of Republican supporter that Trump is targeting. He’s targeting non-traditional voters. However, to the rest of the world, Trump is overwhelmingly the Republican favorite.The all the Europeans I met thought Americans are crazy for supporting Trump. Random students I would meet around campus, hostel workers, or fellow tourists would make comments to us about the election and would ask if we were supporting Trump. Every single person was perplexed when we said no we aren’t supporting Trump. It was quite embarrassing to walk around and everyone think you are either a Trump or Hillary supporter when there were so many other candidates to support during the primaries.
It turns out that Trump ended up being the Republican nominee but without the support of the traditional Republican base backing him during a large portion of the primary season. This is why Europeans wondered well who then is supporting him? Since he kept winning primaries and the media was giving him so much attention. I felt like a target everywhere I went because since I was American, in the eyes of a European I was either a Trump or Hillary supporter.