The 2016 election is upon us and has some people stumped as to who to vote for. The two candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, disagree on many issues, including how they view certain religions and other minority groups; these viewpoints could possibly make or break their chance to get to the Oval Office. For example, Donald Trump’s strong statements about Muslims may have caused him more pain than gain.
On a national scale, the population of Muslims in the United States of America is about 3.3 million citizens, or about one percent of the entire population. Even if Muslims may not have an outstanding influence on voting, the negative comments and actions waved toward them have opened the eyes of more groups of people who fear the republican candidate. So how could negative comments about Muslims hurt Trump’s campaign prospects?
Khizr Khan, father of a fallen soldier, spoke at the Democratic National Convention, criticizing Trump for his ignorance towards Muslims in America. Khan’s son, Humayun Khan, a United States Army Captain who was killed in a car bombing in Iraq in 2004, was awarded both a Bronze Star and Purple Heart posthumously. Trump responded to Mr. Khan’s criticism with a number of negative Tweets.
His response, belittling the Khan family’s sacrifice, offended many people and organizations, including the Veterans of Foreign Wars. As of 2015, the VFW has 1.4 million members and Mr. Trump’s comments may have offended other veterans, too. Veterans comprise roughly ten percent of the entire United States population, which is about 22 million veterans. In recent years, forty percent of veterans have resided in the south, but the largest concentration of veterans lives in California, Texas, and Florida.
Beyond offending veterans, Mr. Trump’s comments have worried Mormons, usually reliably Republican voters. Although the majority of Mormons are in favor of pro-life and anti-gay marriage like the Republican party, they worry about the candidate’s statements on the Muslim religion. Trump’s comments towards Muslims – which suggests there be a religious test for immigrants and even for citizens holding government office – have alarmed Mormons. This is because Mormons have a history of being persecuted by the United States government. They fear if he can banish Muslims, then they might be next to be exiled. Utah and Idaho are two states known for having a large Mormon population. Utah has the highest concentration of Mormons with roughly fifty-five percent, and Idaho follows with nineteen percent of the population being Mormons. As of right now, the majority of the Mormon population is up in the air as to who they will favor for the November election. Trump is in danger of losing these states in the election due to the encouragement of the Mormon religion.
There are only so many times a person can be forgiven for the words they have said and/or mistakes they may have made. Trump’s incident with the Khan family at the Democratic National Convention as well as his idea of banning Muslims from the country fall into a pattern of unconventional political statements. Whether voters will favor the unconventional Mr. Trump in November remains to be seen.
By: Kirsten Henderson