US Politics

'I'm a 21-year-old Republican, this is why I'm voting for Trump'


OPINION: Andrew Colvin is part of SBS Dateline’s ‘US Election Diaries’, a series documenting the political reasoning of different Americans with vastly different life experiences in the lead up to the 2020 Presidential election. Here, he explains why as a first time voter, he wants Donald Trump returned.

As a 21-year-old Republican, I’m a first-time voter and planning to vote for President Donald Trump.

I’m a college student in Florida and currently studying business. In politics, Florida is a swing state – it alternates between Republican and Democrat. Every election is like a coin flip, it could go either way. I believe Donald Trump will win reelection, as the American people will see that he is a better choice than Joe Biden for the presidency.

After growing up in a free-thinking family in Florida, my parents allowed me to develop my own opinion on political issues. My mum was born in northwest Florida, which has historically been a conservative area. My dad is a little more moderate, but he usually leans to the right on most issues. My mum and I think more alike when it comes to politics – the less government and taxes, the better.

As a young American, I am concerned about the future. I’ll be graduating in less than two years from university, and being in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, I know it will have a monumental impact on the job market. I grew up during the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, and I saw how difficult it was for families. I am extremely worried about how the pandemic and its economic fallout including higher unemployment will likely affect every university graduate’s ability to get a job.

Andrew says it's hard to voice conservative values in college.

I’m hoping as a country that we will get through this election in one piece.

I believe that President Trump and his economic policies will result in a stronger economy and create a marketplace and jobs for me and other graduates to thrive. I believe that as long as companies are growing, this will allow them to hire new employees…just like me.

The platform that Donald Trump stands for is much like my own, which is supporting the First and Second Amendment rights, backing law enforcement, and other conservative stances.

The First Amendment in the US Constitution protects our freedom of speech, which means you are allowed to say what you want, to a reasonable extent, and the government can’t punish you. I really value this right because on college campuses now, many see freedom of speech as a threat. Some people refuse to hear another viewpoint that isn’t their own. It doesn’t allow for the free exchange of other ideas. If they disagree with your opinion enough, you are at risk of being cancelled. One of my favourite quotes is, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

The SGA Senate President at Florida State University was removed from office because he privately stated that the Black Lives Matter as an organisation and other organisations did not represent Catholic interests. For example, some organisations he mentioned had supported abortion, which is strictly against the Catholic faith. The Senator was thrown out of his position, and students were even calling for other Senators to resign for trying to defend his freedom of speech.

The Second Amendment, which is the right to defend yourself, is also very important to me. In Democratic portions of the US, there are severe restrictions on firearms – AR-15 bans, certain handgun bans, and magazine capacity restrictions. After looking at gun statistics, most gun fatalities are from handguns. If this is truly the case, why are AR-15s being taken away when they are not the most responsible for gun deaths in the US? It doesn’t make sense.

I think it is absurd that other people will shame me from supporting the sitting President of the United States. I am afraid to post anything on social media associated with Donald Trump (such as me wearing a Make America Great Again hat), I could possibly lose friends or even be cancelled.

With several different social movements being pushed on social media, I feel like an outsider. It doesn’t allow for a true conversation – you are either for it or against it. Personally, I believe everyone in this country is entitled to equal treatment under the law. Others have a hard time understanding how Republicans like me can believe that black Americans do matter, but not support the whole Black Lives Matter as an organisation.

In my opinion, the current Democratic Party is very different than what it was 20 years ago. It has gradually pushed further left on the political spectrum. Bernie Sanders, who came in second for the Democratic nomination, was supporting socialist policies. The top 1 per cent of wealthy Americans and corporations are viewed very poorly and are blamed for many problems in this country. Also, many of their solutions would require raising taxes on middle and lower-class families. And for border protection, you cannot let anyone just walk into this country. I believe in lawful immigration. But with no wall or border security, you are just asking for trouble. It will make defending our own citizens very tough.

I know that Donald Trump isn’t perfect, no president ever is. And I believe many people would agree he should stay quiet and get off Twitter sometimes. But then again, he was elected to lead our country, and I trust that he will do his best for the American people.

The views in Dateline’s ‘US Election Diaries’ series do not represent the views of SBS. Over the course of the US presidential campaign, SBS Dateline will hear from different voices in a bid to understand different voting intentions. For detailed coverage of the 2020 US Election, visit SBS News’ dedicated election page.