Robert Morrow, Travis County’s newly elected GOP chair, claims LBJ killed JFK, Rick Perry is a bisexual prostitute and that “George W. Bush can suck a dick better than Hillary Clinton.” He won 54 percent of the vote on March 1 despite these and other similar beliefs.
I’m not going out on a limb when I say 54 percent of GOP voters in Travis County don’t think “the Bushes are criminals and should be in jail.” Even Morrow himself credits his win to being the first name on the ballot, as voters just “fill out the first name” as he told The Washington Post.
In addition to Morrow, another GOP candidate — Donald Trump — has thrived off of the ignorance of voters.
Voter ignorance got a man who has tweeted “Big Titties now on the agenda of the Travis County Republican party!” and “I am feeling boobylicious today!” elected, and it has made a man who has said “[Megyn Kelly] had blood coming out of her wherever” and “[Hillary Clinton] got schlonged” the GOP frontrunner.
Morrow got elected because voters were ignorant on who they were voting for. Trump is winning because voters are ignorant about their fellow citizens.
Trump wants to ban Muslims from entering the country, but so do do his supporters — exit polling from the South Carolina primary showed 74 percent of voters supported this, and Trump won 41 percent of these voters.
The argument can be made that had Trump not called for the ban, voters wouldn’t have supported it. But that wouldn’t explain why 33 percent of Trump’s South Carolina supporters are in favor of preventing gays from entering the U.S. and think Japanese internment was a good idea. Trump has risen and shocked the GOP by making statements that people think but no candidate has previously said.
Others argue that Trump’s call for a wall and ban of Muslims isn’t overtly racist or ignorant. Juan Ospina, economics sophomore and College Republicans member, said Trump is simply “giving voice to a critical national security issue that many in politics shy away from, and thus people mis-characterize him as a racist.”
“There’s nothing wrong with wanting to build a wall or setting immigration restrictions,” Ospina said. “These things have been done in many places at various points in history.”
Ospina is right in that building a wall and restricting immigration are not racist policies in themselves, but when they are attached to the reasoning and rhetoric Trump has used to describe Mexicans and Muslims, they are.
To put it in layman’s terms, Trump is winning because people support him. The problem with the Republican party isn’t Trump nor Morrow; rather, it’s the voters themselves.
Morrow and Trump are nothing more than reflections of the electorate. It’s too late to stop Morrow, but it’s not too late for voters to use rationality and information in future elections. By doing so, voters will be able to not only stump Trump but also elect candidates who will actually represent their interests and beliefs.
Ethier is a journalism freshman from Westport, Connecticut. Follow him on Twitter @baileyethier.