Do Trump Supporters Really Care About Ethics?

Updated on May 17, 2017

During the 2016 election I had many discussions with people who planned to vote for Trump. Most of them admitted that he was not an ideal candidate, but said they could not vote for Hillary because of her ethics. They said they were tired of politicians who would say things to get elected and then not follow through. They wanted someone who was up front and look out for the little guy.

I think we have seen enough of President Trump’s administration now to examine exactly what these people got for their effort. He fired the head of the FBI while his campaign was being investigated by that agency. Can you imagine the reaction if Hillary had won and then done that? His excuses were flimsy and later admitted to be bogus by his own words. His campaign has the appearance of having ties to a foreign power, and home grown extremist movements.

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He has hired five employees and former employees of Goldman Sachs to serve in his administration. If you remember, he pillories rival Ted Cruz for his connections to this company. He admitted that many of the promises he made were just for the campaign and now that the campaign was over he had no intention of following them up. He held a meeting with a minister of a foreign power, which his campaign is under investigation for having ties to, and did not allow American press to attend. There has been the appearance of the Trump family using his presidency to further their business interests.

This doesn’t even take into account the scandals Trump had when he was still running for president. And how have the Trump supporters responded to all of this? “Well, the Clintons are as bad or worse,” seems to be the overwhelming response. As if the other side having a bad guy makes your guy not bad by default, regardless of his actions. If the Hillary had been elected and done any one of these things, these same people would be screaming from the rooftops about how corrupt she is and demanding her impeachment.

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Which leads me to one conclusion. Ethics was never an issue for these people. I’m not even sure they really care about policies. I think they view politics as a team sport, and all they really care about is their team winning. Don’t get me wrong, I know there is a contingent of people who are fanatic about the policies they champion. (I’m looking at you Evangelicals.) But there is a large group of people who will defend someone based simply on their party. After all, Trump has backed away from some traditionally conservative policies like free trade and keeping faith with our allies.

Democrats are not immune to this. I have seen this behavior with Bill Clinton supporters especially. But it has never seemed so blatant as it does with Donald Trump, who is cheered as a genius for admitting that he lied to his base. The man once bragged that he could get away with shooting someone in the street, and I am inclined at this point to agree. We should hold our politicians to a higher standard, especially if we voted for them. If you elect someone based on a question of ethics and they do something that appears unethical, you should be the first ones to rise up and demand an accounting. If you are not willing to do that, then don’t pretend that ethics was ever an issue.

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