A country divided

Throughout this lengthy campaign season, my mom has repeatedly called me and said, “Jess, I’m actually really scared that he could win. I was at a dinner party last night and Mr. and Mrs. so-and-so are Trump supporters.”

The more frequently these calls came, the queasier they made me. Yet I could not accept the reality of them, especially early on in the game.But now that we’re less than a week away from Election Day, I’m nearly shitting my pants. And it’s not because Donald Trump is going to win.

No, I’m nervous because there is this tiny sliver of hope that exists in the eyes of millions of Americans. It’s the hope that come January, he could be the one taking the oath of office to serve, protect and defend the United States of America.

What’s scary is that the polls will never show how divided we truly are. During the Republican primaries, Morning Consult came out with the “Shy Trumper” theory.

Trump performs better via online versus telephone polling. Why? Because with a phone call, you’re admitting to something — out loud.

Kyle Dropp, Morning Consult’s chief research officer at the time, wrote, “If you’re a highly-educated or engaged Republican voter, it turns out that you’re far less likely to tell another human being you want Trump as president.”

It’s come to the point where voting for Trump isn’t socially acceptable. In 
political science, this is called a 
social desirability bias.

This theory is evident in my own small Connecticut town, existing in a bubble of its own ideologies, practically painting the streets red with its fiscal conservatism.

The million-dollar homes of affluent New Englanders are chock-full of these “Shy Trumpers,” silently parading straight-ticket ballots to ensure their own well-being. I’m not saying this is bad or good — everyone has a right to vote, and vote they will.

What’s sad is that so many Americans are voting for a president they won’t even admit to supporting out loud.

There are few vocal Trump supporters in my own town. The only one I can truly be sure is going to vote is Santo Silvestro, who painted huge red letters spelling “TRUMP” on the aluminum roof of his Deli last year in support of the candidate.

“The owner, Santo Silvestro, is not a shy man,” reads the first sentence of an article published by the New Canaan News. In past elections, no one would bat a lash if someone were to paint their roof to support a presidential nominee.

What makes Silvestro’s story newsworthy is that he is perhaps the only non-hush-hush Trump supporter in my whole town.

“Donald Trump has done something that has never been done in this country,” Silvestro said, “All the odds were against him and he rose to the top. That’s got to say something.”

This type of support, although puzzling in nature, considering all of the other allegations against Trump, is admirably traditional. Silvestro is, in his own way, rallying the troops. Those red letters on his roof are one big battle cry. And if we’ve learned anything from Wednesday night’s historic World Series victory, we’re quick to jump on bandwagons.

According to the US Census in 2010, 44.4 percent of New Canaan, Connecticut, is comprised of individuals age 40-69. Another 33.7 percent are under the age of 18. Essentially, it is a family town, existing solely on the basis of parents and their babies.

Hillary Clinton is, for all intents and purposes, “the family candidate.” But in this unsettling election, people will secretly go against the grain at those ballot boxes come Tuesday.

However big or small Clinton’s margin of victory is, she will still have herds of Shy Trumpers behind her, softly cursing underneath their breath every time a state turns blue on the map.

We are a country divided.


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