Trump supporter: "Biden’s not my choice, but he will still be my president"

By: David Reardon

22 November 2020

Mark Frederick has lived in Hawaiʻi most of his 55 years. He is the type of person who is kind to those in need, even strangers. He goes out of his way to help others, especially those who are less fortunate.

 

He married a woman from Hawaiʻi, raised a family, and made enough money working as a businessman to retire young. He has also worked as a substitute school teacher and does handyman work to keep busy.

 

He is very well-liked by many for his low-key but friendly demeanor. Although he is not from  Hawaiʻi, he long ago fully assimilated to island culture. His circle of close friends is typical for many in the islands; they are a mix of many ethnicities and age-groups. In his job, he mentored many young men and women who still often reach out to him for advice and call him “Uncle.”

 

By nature, he is an introvert. But he has a smile and a kind word for everyone he meets.

President of the United States Donald Trump speaking in West Palm Beach, Florida (Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore).

Illustration by Charissa Porter

“I have faith in people,” Frederick said.

 

When it comes to politics, he has strong opinions that he mostly keeps to himself. One of those views is, “I think the Republican party is corrupt.” And that is a common refrain in  Hawaiʻi.

 

But, as election day neared, he couldn’t help but feel at least somewhat isolated. He is a fervent supporter of Donald Trump, and Hawaiʻi is traditionally one of the most liberal states in the nation.

 

Earlier this month, Hawaiʻi voters chose Democrat Joe Biden over Trump, the incumbent, with 366,130 votes to 196,864 for Trump.

 

Biden won the election with the four electoral votes from Hawaiʻi among his total of 306 to 232 for Trump. Biden received 51 79,806,191 votes to 73,780,999 for Trump.

Frederick holds out hope that Biden’s victory will somehow be overturned in the courts, as Trump claims widespread and massive voter fraud cost him the election -- claims which Trump has yet to provide facts to support.

 

“Do I think there were shenanigans? I think we gotta see how it plays out. Put it in front of the judge and let’s see,” Frederick said. “I’ll be happy if it works out that Trump wins, but if he doesn’t I’ll still be happy. Biden’s not my choice, but he will still be my president. I’m not going to go out and burn down a building or something. Life will go on.”

 

Hawaiʻi has voted for Democrats for president in every election since statehood in 1959, except 1972 and 1984, when the islands voted Republican in the landslide victories of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. Republican governors (one since statehood, Linda Lingle) and congressmen and women from Hawaii are also extremely rare.

 

Hawaiʻi is one of the states where support for Trump and conservative politics are not accepted by the majority.

 

That doesn’t mean Trump has no followers in Hawaiʻi. He received nearly 70,000 more votes in the islands than in 2016.

 

Frederick was among the 128,847 Hawaiʻi voters in 2016 who selected Trump, according to the website 270towin.com. But Democrat Hillary Clinton received more than double that number, with 266,891 Hawaiʻi votes giving her three of the state’s four electoral votes (one went to Bernie Sanders). Nationally, however, Trump won with 304 electoral votes, despite Clinton getting more popular votes.

 

Frederick was ecstatic with Trump’s victory four years ago. But he did not gloat; he is intent on not losing friends because of politics. He and some of his best friends who are liberals and do not like Trump have agreed to not talk about politics.

 

That’s why “Mark Frederick” asked to use a pseudonym and did not want to be photographed for this article; he fears recrimination for publicly voicing his support of Trump.

 

When Frederick does find himself in a political discussion, he tries to keep an open mind. He listens to the views of others, but often feels shouted down, and that people who lean left can’t see past differences with those on the right to find common ground.

 

One example where Frederick agrees to some degree with the left is abortion. Because he believes in individual freedom, Frederick is pro-choice. But that doesn’t mean he thinks abortion is necessarily a good thing, especially in certain situations.

 

“I will always respect her right to choose, but that doesn’t mean I have to respect her choice,” he said. He used late-term abortion as an example, saying that he finds it “disgusting.”

 

Frederick was not a fan of Donald Trump the reality TV star.

 

“I thought he was part of the elite establishment,” he said. “But I like that he isn’t a politician, and that he wanted to ‘drain the swamp’ in Washington.”

 

Frederick grew up in a conservative home in a conservative town. He is white, but not a white supremicist or racist and believes in equal rights for all. But he has a hard time supporting Black Lives Matter because he believes that group is used as a political weapon against conservatives.

 

He is a strong believer in the nuclear family. And, although he is not against women working, he said it is sad that those who choose to be homemakers “are disrespected. Raising children is the hardest and most important job in the world,” he said.

 

Although he agrees Trump sometimes makes himself an easy target, he feels the president is treated unfairly by mainstream media and wonders why it doesn’t give more coverage to positive things Trump has done, especially policy decisions to help minorities. He said Trump is wrongly labeled as a racist, and that he is unfairly blamed for the American deaths related to COVID-19, and that he has done a good job in dealing with the pandemic.

 

His opinion about Trump and the pandemic is one that many of Frederick’s friends, and many if not most Americans, strongly disagree with.

 

He knows that. But Frederick said he hates seeing a divided America. That’s part of why he no longer considers himself a Republican, but something closer to a Libertarian.

 

“The way I live my life is to live in hope and not fear. Love, not hate. Unity, not division. If I believe that’s what that person stands for, that person gets my vote,” Frederick said. “I’m sick of being controlled, part of that is human nature. No one likes being told what to do. 

 

“We need a better way of dealing with problems here than raising taxes and throwing money at them,” he added.

 

He respects the rights of Americans to make their own choices, including on their ballots.

 

“When I do talk to people, I don’t say ‘Vote for Trump.’ I say, ‘Vote for freedom, vote for law and order, vote for patriotism and vote for America.”

 

Many in Hawaii and the United States -- regardless of whom they vote for -- might agree with at least some of that. Mark Frederick knows it’s an uphill battle, but he does try to find common ground, and will continue to do so after Donald Trump leaves the White House.

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