I’m a woman, a racial minority, and an immigrant, and I grew up in inner-city America. I have two university degrees, one from Cornell University and another from Stanford Law School. I have worked for some of the most elite institutions in America, including a foreign policy organization that counts Chelsea and Bill Clinton among its members.
According to conventional wisdom, I have no business being a Trump supporter. Yet I have been an unabashed fan since Trump declared his candidacy for president. In fact, never in my life have I been this excited about a presidential nominee.
Strangers and friends alike have wondered how a highly educated Chinese-American woman could possibly support a man widely condemned as racist, sexist, misogynistic, xenophobic, and Islamophobic.
It is not that complicated, really. I like the candidate and what he stands for, and I reject the caricature propagated by the mainstream media and his opponents.
I believe this country needs bold change, not more of the same. Trump has promised to deliver.
Instinctively, I recognize in Trump the key ingredients that have made success possible in my own life. As a child of the ghetto, I succeeded in extracting myself—and my family—from urban dysfunction and decay not just because I worked hard but because I dreamt big, took risks no one I knew would take, and kept faith in America’s promise.
Trump’s story is wildly more successful and dramatic, but it resonates with me nonetheless. Since he declared his candidacy he has defied the odds, upended the political order, and dared to envision a completely different America.
Certainly, he is a very flawed candidate. Recently released audio of a private conversation Trump had 11 years ago confirms him to be vulgar, narcissistic, and insecure.
Before that, his endless controversies on the campaign trail revealed a man who was thin-skinned, undisciplined, and immature.
Yet I believe this same man will overthrow—not just tinker with—the wretched political correctness that governs this country’s discussions and policies about race, ethnicity, gender, and other immutable characteristics.
He will fight for Americans in a way that Republicans and Democrats have long been afraid to do, and he will think big, act boldly, and choose common sense over ingrained practices.
I am a natural for Trump’s core constituency: I have long been a card-carrying member of what Hillary Clinton calls the “basket of deplorables.”
I am “deplorable” because I reject the reigning politically correct and intellectually intolerant paradigm, which mandates that women and minorities serve as tokens of diversity according to their so-called racial and gender identity.
In this paradigm, I am "deplorable" because I dare to have a dissenting opinion. Long before Trump became a presidential contender, my support for the rule of law and opposition to amnesty for illegal immigrants made me a xenophobe. My references to black-on-black crime in discussions about police-community relations made me a racist. My use of the term “radical Islamic terrorism” made me an Islamophobe.
When Trump came along, he gave me—and millions others—a voice. Not only does he reject this nonsense wholesale, he does so with hilarity, theater, and bombast. His undisciplined outbursts are not always pretty, but he is an equal-opportunity offender, not a stooge of the prevailing bigotry or an apologist for its fake diversity and ill-disguised pandering.
Next to Trump, the Republican governing class’s rejection of political correctness is merely a mealy-mouthed exercise.
Over the summer, we saw the squeamishness of Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.). When asked for his views on the Black Lives Matter movement, whose protestors have repeatedly called for police officers to be killed or fried “like bacon,” Ryan demurred.
This is the same man who never misses an opportunity to call Trump racist and divisive. He recently announced that he will no longer campaign with or defend his party’s presidential nominee.
For a long time, I supported Republicans like Ryan and others who are far worse, but this year, I have a better choice. This year, my candidate does not try to ingratiate himself to the mainstream media. Instead, he slashes through the fabric of political correctness and threatens to tear down its reign. This is the type of candidate I have wanted for a long, long time.
He'll Fight for Us
Beyond Trump’s politically incorrect rhetoric, he has demonstrated time and again that he will fight for those of us who have put our faith in him.
I first noticed him when he spoke of illegal immigration and emphasized building a wall to secure our borders. He did not describe all Mexican immigrants as rapists or criminals, but it did not matter. His critics cried racism and xenophobia anyway. Yet the more they became indignant, the more I supported Trump.
I am a first-generation immigration. My family came to the United States legally—we submitted the relevant documentation, answered the necessary questions, waited in line for years, and followed America’s laws.
Yet our respect for America’s rule of law is entirely irrelevant to Democrats, who are eager to hand out citizenship to illegal immigrants for political gain.
Republicans, on the other hand, pretend they care about legality and sovereignty but can hardly hide their disdain for making the tough decisions required to protect both. In fact, prominent Republicans—ranging from Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) to Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) to Speaker Ryan—have proudly called for one form of amnesty or another.
By contrast, Trump has little use for their rhetoric or hypocrisy. He wants to build a wall and boasts of making Mexico pay for it. It makes no difference if the latter does not materialize. Far more important is Trump’s willingness—and even eagerness—to taunt the political class by making this promise the centerpiece of his campaign.
As he has enunciated his positions on other issues, begat more indignation, and stood firm, I have supported him more forcefully.
For instance, on the crucial issue of defeating terrorism and keeping the homeland safe, he has called for a ban of Muslims from terror-prone countries and for conducting extreme ideological vetting of immigrants who wish to enter this country.
The response from the media and the political establishment has been loud and furious, but Trump has pressed on regardless. His proposal can certainly be fleshed out further, but it is far more sensible than the reluctance by President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to identify radical Islamic terrorism by name, or the delusion by many on the Right who think radical Islam can be cleanly and clearly separated from peaceful Islam at all times.
Trump has repeatedly incurred the wrath of the political establishment, and in the process, he showed voters like me a candidate who refuses to back down and is not afraid to fight for Americans whose wishes have been long ignored.
Trump Has Big Ideas and Common Sense
Despite all that I like about Trump, I have found his rhetoric and positions on trade to be most difficult to swallow.
I have been an ardent free trader my entire adult life. Trump, however, has called for renegotiating America’s major trade agreements, such as NAFTA, and for slapping heavy tariffs on U.S. trading partners (35 percent on imports from Mexico and 45 percent on imports from China).
I do not support these positions, but I understand their appeal far better than most free traders who write and talk for a living.
I hail from a working class family. Some years ago, when my parents were laid off from their blue-collar jobs, I had to make a choice myself: I declined a job that I worked very hard to get and accepted one that I hated because the latter offered significantly better compensation. I believed it to be the right decision for my family; it was not.
Nevertheless, my faith in free trade and free markets remains, but that faith is tempered by intimate knowledge of real Americans who have lost out in amid powerful global forces. Few politicians have bothered to speak for them; even fewer have offered viable solutions to alleviate their pain.
Today, Trump is speaking for them, with gusto. While many of his pronouncements are outlandish, he is staking out opening bids to negotiations with foreign countries and Congress. The details of his positions on trade, much like his positions on the economy (consolidating five individual income tax brackets into three), immigration (making Mexico pay for the wall), and foreign policy (requiring that NATO allies pay more for collective security), are not firmly set in stone, even if the broad directions of policy have been decided.
Trump has made clear that much of what he threatens is exactly that: threats that will be used to extract better deals for America.
His ideas may not pan out quite as they were originally described, but his goal is to think differently, to envision better arrangements for this country in general. Unlike a typical politician, Trump is not going to confine himself to the solutions that have not worked in the past. To Americans who want a better deal for their families and their country, that is very much worth applauding.
Trump Is Leading a Political Revolution
I believe this country needs bold change, not more of the same. Trump has promised to deliver.
Citizens across this country have placed their faith in this revolutionary candidate, despite his flaws.
Hillary Clinton may think we are deplorable, but we are ordinary Americans who believe the country deserves better than business as usual.
In this election, we have proudly joined the political revolution that Trump has inspired, and we are not asking Hillary, or anyone else, for permission.
Ying Ma is a senior advisor at Avenue Strategies, a government affairs and political consulting firm, and the author of Chinese Girl in the Ghetto. During the 2016 presidential election, she served as the deputy director of a pro-Trump super PAC.