When Donald Trump first came down the escalator to announce he was running for president, I had mixed feelings. Trump was my generation’s Ronald Reagan. He was in my living room since the early eighties and everywhere I went his name seemed to be plastered everywhere.

As long as I can remember there were always rumors about Trump running for president. However, I believed that with his divorces, bankruptcies, his edgy views on Barack Obama and immigration, he was more a novelty or fringe candidate than someone to take seriously.

Before he announced his candidacy in June 2015, I really had no intention of voting. I wasn’t enthused about the prospect of Hillary Clinton or Jeb Bush but that seemed to be what the establishment of both parties was trying to sell. Both were offering more wars, open borders, and bad trade deals that benefited their rich donors while depleting the working class. 

Trump was an anomaly. While there were some things he said I viewed as edgy and racist, I found myself agreeing with him on trade, immigration, and growing the economy.  

He never apologized or backed down from anything he said. What finally made me get on board the train was when he called Jeb Bush “sleepy” and got into wars with Lindsey Graham and John McCain. I wasn’t a Trump “Kool-Aid” drinker. I was open to something different.   

And I began seeing Democrats for who they were. They weren’t asking me for my vote. They were harassing and bullying me because they couldn’t frighten me about Trump. I wasn’t for Trump but I did believe in the Constitution and free and fair elections.  

It angered me that someone would tell me how to think and how to vote. I was confused because all my life, I heard Black leaders tell me voting was a fundamental right. Now, these same Black leaders were attacking me for exercising my right to vote.  

I never insulted or harassed someone because they voted for Barack Obama or Bernie Sanders, but I was called a Nazi for my political views. Democrats encouraged this new style of demonizing people by calling them racist. All my life I was told how evil Republicans were, but Republicans became a big tent while the Democrats started driving out anyone who disagreed. 

I went to a few Trump rallies and was nothing like the media depicted. While the media kept demonizing Trump supporters as uneducated Rednecks and rubes, many of us were ex Democrats who supported Obama. As the Democrats kept flipping us the bird it became very easy to support Trump.  

I was under no illusions that Trump was a saint. But I don’t want a pope as president. I want someone to protect this nation, stand up to our enemies and defend our values and freedoms.  

In 300 days Trump will be re-elected — not because of white supremacy, but because[Text Wrapping Break]the left refuses to look in the mirror at the damage they’ve done.  

Jeffery McNeil is a Street Sense Media vendor and artist.