In Cypress, Trump Voters Have Their Reasons… Sort Of

Voters pick candidates for reasons you can’t even imagine, or no reason at all, writes Chris Hooks.

Cypress voters have their reasons for standing behind Trump, even if Chris Hooks doesn't understand them.
Cypress voters have their reasons for standing behind Trump, even if Chris Hooks doesn’t understand them.  Jen Reel

CYPRESS — When you’re somebody who thinks about politics constantly, it can be easy to project that intensity of interest onto the general public — to think of most people as ideological actors who, even if not exceptionally knowledgeable, have given some thought to the set of policies and ideas they support.

But not all voters are wired that way — they pick candidates for reasons you can’t even imagine, or no reason at all. I was reminded of that at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, a polling location in leafy, suburban Cypress near Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick’s house.

This corner of Cypress is filled with Trump voters, but I didn’t meet one person who had a strong reason for supporting him, and some surprising answers about why they did.

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What does Michelle Klasson like about Trump? “Not much. I just felt like he was the lesser of the two evils,” she said. “The reason I like him more than her is he’s honest. More upfront. He is uncouth. There are things he does that I do not agree with. But I do find that the things that he’s done are successful, and I think he could possibly apply that to America.”

Did it bother her when Trump bragged about groping women? “As a woman, yes. But — this is a horrible thing to say — I’m not really surprised. That’s something that, as a woman, I’ve experienced. I’ve experienced it myself. So it wasn’t anything that’s uncommon.”

Another woman who voted for Trump, who declined to give her name, had a simpler answer for why she couldn’t support Clinton. “After the Benghazi, no.”

I asked Wesley Ruinal, a man in his 30s, how he filled up his ballot. “Mostly Republican, some Libertarian. Mostly because of friends, family. Most people sort of vote within their realm. That’s kind of how it goes,” he said, shrugging.

Why Trump over Clinton, or Johnson?

“Like I said, right now I’m just sort of content to kind of vote with my family at this point in time. Just making sure I just sort of blend in.”

“But, I hope for the best president,” he added.

Well, me too, I suppose.

Follow the rest of the Observer’s election day coverage here.

Christopher Hooks is a freelance journalist in Austin.

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Published at 6:06 pm CST
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