Today, Tuesday the 8th of November 2016, is Election Day in the US. This particular race to the White House has caused controversy for over a year now. Let’s get to know what our fellow Arabs who carry votes in the US think of the two candidates they’ve had to choose between.
You would think that with his criticism of almost every group of foreigners (with Mexicans and Muslims getting the biggest share), Trump would not stand a chance to even be considered by any Arab. But one of the first things you stumble upon looking at the billionaire’s team of advisors is the name of his foreign policy advisor – Walid Phares, a Lebanese-American. What you come to realize is that a good deal of Arabs in America look at Trump as the candidate of their choice.
On one side they know of his outright resentment to immigrants from their own home countries, but as Nedal Tamer – a Muslim Lebanese-American who supports Trump- said to Al-Arabiya English about his views on Trump in an interview last May: “He’s also gonna help the Arab world and Muslims by making peace or by stopping the war. What’s the worst that can happen now in Libya, Iraq and Syria? People are losing their lives there for what? Clinton destroyed the Arab world. Trump is better for Arabs and the Muslim world than Clinton. She gave power to Iran, and Iran has an agenda against the Arabs.”
Arabs (especially those who move to the US for prospects of a better living) tend to have certain sensitivity towards narcissistic xenophobes with suspicious conduct and a corrupt history. You can’t blame them for that. After all, our record of modern-day leaders looks more like the members of Suicide Squad. So many Arabs living in the US can’t help but feel danger for themselves when hearing the guy speak. Granted, he’s viewed with some respect for his “not giving a damn” and a sense of nostalgia for the days when the world had such “men” for leaders.
When it comes to “Arab-friendliness,” many Arabs view Clinton as the more immigrant-friendly candidate. Besides being highly-experienced, she’s…well, normal. But on the other side, some blame her for many of the Middle East’s current mishaps, as she’s considered part of what’s called the “Washington establishment,” unlike her opponent who prides himself in being an outsider to what he calls a dirty system.
Many Arabs think Clinton supported the war on Iraq, led the instability of what came to be called “the Arab Spring” back when she served as Secretary of State, backed the Muslim Brotherhood in countries like Egypt where they are now viewed with major suspicion, and according to some conspiracy theories widely popular among Arabs, she even engineered the brutal ISIS machine. She’s also criticized for her explicit support for the state of Israel (the typical position of almost every politician in Washington). But it’s not like Trump is the biggest advocate of the Palestinian cause, either – he promised to recognize Jerusalem (Al-Quds) as capital of Israel.
Gender has also been a major issue in this election all over the US, and it’s not different among Arabs. Due to a heritage of gender discrimination in Middle Eastern culture, some can’t quite swallow the prospect of a woman in the White House. However, the same factor has led some Arabs to think of the first woman president as a good step towards female empowerment, making them lean towards Clinton. They even oppose Trump for being “misogynist,” “sexist,” or any other description brought upon him by a number of his statements and leaks regarding women.
WE SAID THIS: It seems that for now the Arab scales are tipped towards Hillary Clinton, but there are not enough poll numbers to verify this. We’ll just have to wait until the election results are in and see for ourselves.