CLEAT, TENNESSEE — On his way to vote in his state’s Super Tuesday primary election, Clem O’Connor — a registered and self-described “lifelong” Republican — told us he was starting to second guess whether he should vote for the man he’s supported since he entered the primary race last year.
“I love Trump with all my Republican heart,” O’Connor told us, “but since he didn’t even know who the Klan is, I don’t know that I can vote for him.” O’Connor told us that while he “doesn’t agree with everything the Klan does or has done” that any president should at least respect the “heritage, tradition and culture” the Klan represents.
Mr. O’Connor said that he’s “not racist in the slightest but [he] really loves that the Klan tries to keep us rooted in our Southern pride.” He said that “they know slavery was just a small, almost insignificant part of the civil war” and that “black people just need to stop complaining about the lasting effects of over three centuries of legalized slavery” and “get over it,” which he says the Klan really “does a good job at” encouraging them to do.
“Hey, they Klan can’t be all bad,” Clem said, “after all they’re the ones placing all the giant letter T’s around the state and lighting them on fire so Trump fans can follow them to their polling place. So how Trump can claim he doesn’t know who they are is just disturbing to me. I almost get the idea he’s telling me whatever I want to hear and he doesn’t believe half the racist stuff he says!”
Clem said he’s not one to “expect that presidents in this age” will share his “nuanced and traditional” views of race, religion, sexual orientation or gender roles in society. However, he felt that Trump was finally a candidate who would “come the closest to openly embracing [his] ideology of fear and hate” but if Trump can’t be trusted to know who the KKK is, he wonders how he can represent every American.
“Many Americans are very racist,” Clem said, “and we’re tired of not being represented in the White House! What, just because we think that our skin tone is an accomplishment and that it really does make us superior to other people, that means we’re not welcome in polite society anymore?” With tears starting to form in his eyes, Clem asked, “What is America if it’s not going to be a melting pot of racist stereotypes and ignoring the plight of minorities everywhere?”
Ultimately, Clem said he will still probably vote for Trump.
“Because it ain’t like Cruz or Rubio will encourage people to beat up liberal protesters at their rallies,” Clem said, “or retweet highly racist and debunked stats about black people killing white cops. Or you know, any number of the things Trump has done to speak to us, the silent racist majority.”
After a moment of reflection, Clem stopped walking, and turned to our reporter.
“Sometimes you have to just choose the greater of three racists,” Clem said with confidence, before heading into his polling station, presumably to vote for Donald J. Trump after all.