Trump Pretends To Love The Military, But The Military Is Feeling The Bern

Trump Pretends To Love The Military, But The Military Is Feeling The Bern

Presumed unfortunate Republican nominee Donald Trump loves him some military, he does. Or he says he does, anyway. But members of the military aren’t showing him the love. They’re showing it to Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders instead.

Indeed, in the race for president, members of the armed forces are going for the Democrats in a big way, with Sanders well in the lead.

Individuals who listed the U.S. Department of Defense or branches of the military have contributed $374,600 to Sanders, and that’s more than any other presidential candidate. Hillary Clinton is a distant second, at $247,649, while Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is close behind, with other failed Republican candidates following.

Here’s Why Those In The Military Prefer Sanders To Trump

Undoubtedly, some of Sanders’ support comes from veterans who may very well remember that he tore into the GOP last year, for their plan to cut Social Security benefits for disabled veterans. And it’s support that he definitely deserves.

Related: Surprise! Clinton Supporters Favor Bernie Sanders For Hillary’s Running Mate

Military support for Trump hasn’t exactly been what you might call enthusiastic. He’s reaped a mere $15,502, and that figure even includes gifts from retired service members. This may have been helped along after recent evidence shows that companies owned by Trump have been firing military veterans for reasons that seem pretty ridiculous.

But there’s also the young people factor here. Sanders, a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War, and his support comes down to demographics.

“It makes sense, if you look at the demographics of the military, that they kind of align with the demographics of those supporting Bernie Sanders,” says Amy Bailey, an assistant professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago. She focuses on military sociology.

 

And lots of folks in the military are young—70 percent of enlisted members are under 30, and the majority come from working class backgrounds, Bailey notes. And about 35 percent identify as people of color.

Many are also less than thrilled that Clinton voted in the Senate for war in Iraq in 2002, and they remember that Sanders voted against this, says Tyson Manker, national director of the grassroots organization Veterans for Bernie.

“The people that are going to be put into these life and death situations to fight an enemy, we want to know that it’s not a waste,” Manker said. “Bernie Sanders has shown the judgment and frankly, we trust him.”

Since the start of the war, military members have been supporting Democrats increasingly. When the last full election cycle before the war began, 23 percent of campaign contributions made by service members went to Democrats, according to previous research by The Center for Responsive Politics.

This trend, coupled with sizable military support for President Obama in 2012, so the current enthusiasm for Sanders and Clinton isn’t surprising, says Phillip Carter, director of the Military, Veterans, and Society Program at the Center for a New American Security.

While most service members would usually vote Republican, the specter of Trump as commander-in-chief raises concerns, and this is reflected in their campaign contributions.

And get this: Trump is receiving less money than candidates who dropped out of the race months ago, such as Ben Carson and Rand Paul.

Many people in the armed forces are also concerned about what a Trump presidency would mean for overseas commitments, as well as our current alliances. This is a worry for many in the military, as well as retired folks and DoD civilian employees, Carter says. And Trump hasn’t been consistent or specific on his foreign policy plans, but he has discussed pulling troops out of NATO and has suggested we use nuclear weapons against terrorists in Europe. So it’s understandable that people in the military are concerned (as are most of us).

But service members are worried about other things as well. Trump hasn’t won them over with the scandal regarding his donations to veterans groups, and his comments about the military — especially those where he called Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) a “loser” because he was a prisoner of war and his claim that attending military high school was equivalent to being “in the military in the true sense” (yeah, right) have understandably bothered military folks.

“Little gestures matter,” Carter said.

Let’s hope these “gestures” get Trump in plenty of trouble at the voting booth come election time.

Photo montage of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump courtesy of Phil Roeder and Gage Skidmore, Flickr.

raptorella37@gmail.com'

Megan was born and raised in Ventura, California. She has since lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, the Pacific Northwest, Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, Mexico, and Costa Rica. While she has always been a liberal, her travels have informed her politics. She has worked for more than 25 years as a professional journalist writing about crime, the police, local politics, feature stories, environmental issues and a variety of other topics. She now writes for Reverb Press.

Megan supports Black Lives Matter and fights against racism, sexism, the corporatocracy, climate change deniers and others who continue to destroy the planet.

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raptorella37@gmail.com'

Megan was born and raised in Ventura, California. She has since lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, the Pacific Northwest, Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, Mexico, and Costa Rica. While she has always been a liberal, her travels have informed her politics. She has worked for more than 25 years as a professional journalist writing about crime, the police, local politics, feature stories, environmental issues and a variety of other topics. She now writes for Reverb Press.

Megan supports Black Lives Matter and fights against racism, sexism, the corporatocracy, climate change deniers and others who continue to destroy the planet.

ReverbPress Mobile Apps ReverbPress iOS App ReverbPress Android App ReverbPress App