Thursday 23 November 2017

'If Trump gets elected… it'll be genuinely terrifying' – What are Irish-Americans thinking on the eve of the US election?

'My gut is telling me it's going to be a Trump win'

Irish-American Jonathan Richards holding his voting card
Irish-American Jonathan Richards holding his voting card
Jonathan with his father Tom Richards on his PHD graduation day
Amy Molloy

Amy Molloy

Over 100 million Americans will take to the polls to have their say in the 2016 US election on Tuesday - and among them are a number of Irish-Americans.

Independent.ie spoke to three dual citizens to get their views on Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, and what both potential outcomes mean for Ireland and America.

“He’s dangerous”

Jonathan Richards (28) was born in Ireland to an American father. On Monday, he cast his vote for Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton via fax.

He’s probably more Irish than American, boasting a PHD in Irish language literature, but Jonathan admits Trump being elected would affect any chance of him moving to the US.

“I wouldn’t live in a country that has someone like that at the helm.

“If Trump is elected, it won’t affect my plans to travel to America, but it would affect any plans I have to live there over the next 4-8 years.

“My grandfather is a former member of the US Air Force and a staunch Republican, and for the first time in his life, he is voting for a Democrat – that’s how bad Trump is in his eyes.

Jonathan and his father Tom.jpeg
Jonathan with his father Tom Richards on his PHD graduation day

“Clinton has far more experience in what it takes to be president of America, whereas Trump is just doing it as a power trip. All he cares about is his ego.

“A lot of what he is saying is dangerous and outlandish, racist and misogynistic.

“I also think Trump would be bad news for Ireland, due to his views on multinational corporations. He has previously said that they won’t remain in Ireland under his watch, so he wouldn’t be good for our economy.”

“I wasn’t a great fan of the Clintons until they came over here as part of the peace process”

Tom Richards, Jonathan’s father, is originally from Florida but has been living in Ireland for 34 years. Not as hard-core a Republican as his father, he admits that he votes cross-party quite often, but this year he is only voting one way.

“It is an easy decision. I’m not necessarily for Hillary, but I’m not against her like I am Trump,” he says.

The prospect of a Trump-led Government also serves as a deterrent to Mr Richards, who now lives in Cork.

“Put it this way, let’s say I was offered a tremendous job, a real inducement to go back to America, if Trump gets elected, I wouldn’t take it.

“We are seeing a complete change of American values. This is not the America I grew up in. It has changed significantly in recent years. I think America used to be a tolerant country, but now it is far more divisive and it is only going to get worse.

“I wasn’t a great fan of the Clintons until they came over here as part of the peace process. I was watching Bill give a speech, and I remember feeling proud that he was my president.

“I think if Hillary gets elected, she would continue to build a bridge between America and Ireland, both north and south of the border.”

Jonathan.jpeg
Irish-American Jonathan Richards holding his voting card

“I don’t think Trump is as outlandish as he claims to be”

Cody Byrne (22) has been living in Ireland for almost thirteen years. Born in New Jersey, many of his relatives are considering voting for Donald Trump.

While Cody isn’t a fan, he can see his family members’ points of view.

“If Trump gets elected, I think it will be genuinely terrifying. He has got this far because people are sick of the way the US Government has operated for a number of years. I resonate with what they are saying and I do understand why they want someone who is thinking outside the box.

“I am in no shape or form a Clinton supporter. She isn’t trustworthy, I don’t think she’ll fulfil all the stuff she is going to. Her logic is the same as previous governments and they are sick of how the country is being run and that is why they are taking a gamble on Trump.

“I don’t think Trump is as outlandish as he claims to be. He was a Democrat years ago and now I think he is playing up to what people want him to say.

“However, Is the Trump America an America I want to live in? Someone that doesn’t believe in climate change, that isn’t a country I want to live.

“I think the biggest concern is that the president is responsible for nominating Supreme Court judges. He would be responsible for choosing very right wing judges who could remove the Roe v Wade abortion laws, and  they could make the second amendment on gun laws even more loose.

“To be honest, I think we are all expecting Trump supporters to be idiotic, irrational, illogical, my family are open to discussion about it.

“My gut is telling me it’s going to be a Trump win.”

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