Throughout his campaign, President-elect Donald Trump had been touting the hidden power of a “silent majority” that would materialize at the polls and sweep him into office. Pollsters, by and large, scoffed at the idea. Of course, when the votes were counted in the early morning hours on Wednesday, Trump prevailed. The exit poll data suggested that the silent majority Trump spoke of consisted mostly of white male voters. However, they alone didn’t deliver him to the White House. Women voters, in significant quantities, most of them white, helped push him over the top. But not all of them were white.
In fact, one woman “of color” who voted for Trump outed herself in a Washington Post Op-Ed titled “I’m a Muslim, a woman and an immigrant. I voted for Trump” on Thursday. Asra Q. Nomani, a former journalist for The Wall Street Journal and a Women in the World contributor, made her confession and explanation, writing, “I — a 51-year-old, a Muslim, an immigrant woman ‘of color’ — am one of those silent voters for Donald Trump. And I’m not a ‘bigot,’ ‘racist,’ ‘chauvinist’ or ‘white supremacist,’ as Trump voters are being called, nor part of some ‘whitelash.'”
Nomani goes on to explain that she’d been leaning toward voting Trump for much of this year, but felt she had to keep her political views secret thanks to an intolerant atmosphere on social media. How did she come to be a Trump voter? “I am a single mother who can’t afford health insurance under Obamacare,” Nomani writes. “The president’s mortgage-loan modification program, “HOPE NOW,” didn’t help me. Tuesday, I drove into Virginia from my hometown of Morgantown, W.Va., where I see rural America and ordinary Americans, like me, still struggling to make ends meet, after eight years of the Obama administration.” And it wasn’t just difficulties obtaining health care that drew her to Trump. “As a liberal Muslim who has experienced, first-hand, Islamic extremism in this world, I have been opposed to the decision by President Obama and the Democratic Party to tap dance around the ‘Islam‘ in Islamic State,” she writes, adding that Trump’s rhetoric on Islam has been “exaggerated and demonized” to create a distraction.
Nomani’s decision to come out as a Trump voter is a brave one at a time when political tensions are still running at all-time highs. People have been losing relationships and de-friending one another on social media, according to a report by BuzzFeed, as silent Trump voters are beginning to make themselves known in the wake of his surprise victory. There are real social consequences at risk.
And she addressed the social media atmosphere that forced her to keep her electoral leanings secret. “I gently tried to express my thoughts on Twitter, but the ‘Pantsuit revolution‘ was like a steamroller to any nuanced discourse,” she writes.
After her column was published, the hateful remarks began to fly on Twitter from people who accused her of being a “sellout” and a “moron,” among other things. (It’s worth noting that there were some supportive remarks as well.) Here are a few the harsher jabs thrown her way.
— .AK (@toallthings) November 10, 2016
Mona Elthaway, an author with more than 238,000 Twitter followers, excoriated Nomani for the way she voted, saying, “Shame on you.”
— Mona Eltahawy (@monaeltahawy) November 10, 2016
Nomani responded, saying that it was “unfortunate you use ‘shame’ to scold. ‘Shame’ as you know is what leads to honor crimes.”
— Asra Q. Nomani, PI (@AsraNomani) November 10, 2016
Finally, Nomani recounts an email exchange she had with a colleague in which she explained why she didn’t fear living in “a Trump America” but had serious worries about living in a “Hillary Clinton America.”
Read the full Op-Ed at The Washington Post.