3 Millennial Women Who Voted for Donald Trump

Hannah Smothers
Cosmopolitan
Photo credit: Spencer Platt / Getty
Photo credit: Spencer Platt / Getty

From Cosmopolitan

While Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, the first female presidential candidate didn't totally win over all women. According to a CNN exit poll, 42 percent of women voted for Donald Trump - and a majority of white women, at 53 percent, voted for him - which means Trump had female support all along.

Three Millennial women who voted for Trump spoke with Cosmopolitan.com about why they decided to vote the way they did, how you can be a feminist and still vote for Trump, and what they're looking forward to under a Trump administration.

Randi Schneider is a 23-year-old woman living in Texas, who feels she's part of a new generation of "Millennial Republicans" who voted for Trump.

Do you typically identify as a Republican?

I’m definitely a Republican. But I think there’s a new party that hasn’t been named - Millennial Republicans. We support most social issues but we are Republican in our belief systems.

What do you mean by "Republican in your belief systems"?

I’m very pro-life. I don’t think Roe v. Wade should be overturned, but I did not want to see late-term abortions happen. I know the transgender bathroom issue is touchy and I see it from both sides. It’s definitely discriminatory against the transgender people but also it is discriminatory against Christians who are against it.

And immigration. In my small town in Texas, [I know someone who] literally came over through a hole in the wall. So I do think something needs to be done about that.

Can you explain what you mean by "pro-life but do not think Roe v. Wade should be overturned"?

I would have a hard time if any of my family members or friends had one. I'm against it but it is what it is. I wouldn't want to see [Roe v. Wade] overturned at all. I don't think it will be either - no matter what he threatens.

How did you defend yourself to people who criticized you as a woman voting for Trump?

I say I don't support Trump, I support the Republican Party. As terrible as it was having to vote for Trump, we were voting for the whole party, not just him.

Photo credit: Cosmopolitan
Photo credit: Cosmopolitan

Do you hope to see a woman president in your lifetime?

Oh, definitely. Millennial women my age, we didn't support Hillary mainly because we know there will be a woman president and we just don't want it to be her.

Would you call yourself a feminist?

I’m in the middle. When I think of feminists, I think of extremism and then I’m like, "No." But I hate unequal pay. I hate that we’re discriminated against for maternity leave. So, yeah, I guess I'm a feminist.

What are you looking forward to under a Trump presidency?

Stricter immigration. And guns. I knew Hillary wasn't going to take away our guns but she did want to ban assault rifles.

Do you think that liberal, Millennial women are overreacting to the election results?

I don't think they're whining or are too upset. I completely understand. I think maybe we should try to move on. I just hate the protests. I think it's dividing our country more. I don't think feeling emotional about it is wrong at all; I think the physical actions that are happening are wrong.

Sarah Joy* is a 27-year-old from Texas who asked to remain anonymous because she's a sexual assault survivor.

Do you usually vote Republican?

My views typically align with Republican views. But I’m capable of thinking for myself and I don’t believe in just voting one way because you were raised to.

I voted for Ted Cruz [in the primary] because I felt like he had the best chance to beat Trump. I think that says a lot about my distaste for Trump.

Why did you decide to vote for Trump if you didn't like him?

It came down to a "lesser evil" question.

I was raped by different men, at different times in my life. I felt the evidence was that Trump’s been in the public eye for a long time and people were just now coming forward with the stronger accusations against him. Whereas my entire life, I have associated Hillary Clinton and her husband with people who try to cover up abuse.

The first time I told someone [about my rapes], that person shamed me and said, "This is an awkward subject; don't talk to anyone about it." It was an older woman who said that to me.

It's harder for me to vote to give a woman - who has potentially shamed other women who have been victims like I am - more power. I don't feel much better about Trump having power; however, his actions seem limited to words.

To make sure I understand, it was your feeling that voting for a woman - Hillary Clinton - who potentially shamed other women into staying silent was worse than voting for a man - Donald Trump - who potentially committed actual assaults?

This election was unfortunate on all sides. I want a woman president but I do not want the first woman president to be one that makes us take a step backward in terms of empowerment. The more important issue is women supporting other women.

Are you worried about any of the rape accusations against Trump being substantiated?

I am slightly comforted by the fact that any homework I did suggested that it's all recent, so my prayer is that they're unfounded. Rape should not be something that you use as a manipulation tactic. I think one woman, I haven't looked into it enough, may have been [making accusations] to threaten Trump and help Clinton.

Do you consider yourself to be a feminist?

I do.

Have you seen people saying that you can't be feminist and also vote for Trump?

I have. I have friends posting articles about how, if you're a self-respecting woman, you cannot vote for Trump. I feel like that perpetuates a shaming culture of "if you have this experience, you have to think this same way I do."

What was the most difficult part about voting for Trump?

The recording where he said something [about] 20 years ago about grabbing a woman by the P-word. I won’t say it. At that point, it felt like pick your poison. Either way you chose, you’re contributing to a culture that silences rape survivors.

What are some things you like about Trump that don't feel like a pick-your-poison type of thing?

He definitely makes me nervous but somebody made the point to me that change is always hard. I'm hoping that, as someone who's been a businessman and doesn't necessarily have a certain amount of interest in politics, something different will work this time.

Grecia Hernández is a 23-year-old graduate student living in Florida who felt people view her poorly as a young, Latina woman who voted for Trump.

How was this election different from previous elections?

Saying that you're supporting Trump caused people to have a very negative view of you. They automatically categorized you as either anti-immigrant, racist, or sexist, and that was very anti-American.

I'm Latina. I'm originally from Honduras but I was raised here - I identify more as American. This is my culture, this is my country.

There are people who come here illegally and it's unfair to the people like me. The process that my family took [when we immigrated to America] is a long process and it's a lot of money. It's unfair to the people that go through that process for illegal immigrants to come and do as they please.

I understand why the Hispanic community felt offended by the comments Trump made but he wasn't talking about every single Hispanic person. I'm Hispanic and I feel like I'm an asset to this country. I'm in grad school right now and I'm trying to pursue a job in national security.

Photo credit: Cosmopolitan
Photo credit: Cosmopolitan

Which comments are you referring to?

What he said about Mexicans crossing the border was one of the first things that caused the Hispanic community to feel offended. But Trump was referring to immigrants that come [across the U.S.-Mexico border] that are criminals and are bringing drugs. He wasn't referring to all Mexicans. The people violating the law - they should go back. What's the point of having them here when they're not even respecting the laws of this country?

Did you feel like you faced backlash for voting for Trump because you are a woman?

Definitely. People see me differently just because I was supporting him.

How did you justify your vote to people who said "women shouldn't vote for Trump?"

The comments he made about women, he made them over 10 years ago. [Those comments] were wrong and offensive - just how it would be offensive for women to express themselves like that about men.

You watch Sex and the City and they speak about men just the way Trump spoke about women in that tape. At the end of the day, it’s wrong and offensive, but he apologized. As a girl who was raised with a lot of men, I’ve heard comments like that before. I’m not saying it’s OK. I’m just saying that doesn’t give me a reason not to like him.

Do you feel like people were especially judgmental of you because you're a Latina woman voting for Trump?

Definitely. It was more because I am a Latina that people couldn't believe I was supporting him.

Where I work, there’s another girl who's a Caucasian female and she voted for Trump. She wasn’t seen as negatively as I was because I am Latina. Being a Latina woman was the most difficult part of this election.

What do you look forward to most under Trump's administration?

A change. I feel like he will bring something different and hopefully something positive. The people who are against Trump want to see him fail and that’s horrible because we’re all Americans. We want this country to continue being the best in the world.

These interviews have been edited and condensed for clarity.

*Name has been changed.

Follow Hannah on Twitter.

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