Ah, the political endorsement. The tradition has been around for as long as politics itself — notable leaders in business, media and pop culture capitalizing on their influence and speaking out in favor of their preferred candidate.
In 1860, The New York Times printed its support for future President Abraham Lincoln. Barack Obama has received backing from social organizations like the Human Rights Campaign and Planned Parenthood.
It's impossible not to judge candidates through the lens of their endorsements; public figures and groups back politicians whose platforms align with their own goals and values.
Donald Trump's campaign is no exception — once you take stock of his network of supporters, it becomes all too clear who exactly stands to benefit from his presidency.
Take a look at some of the most vocal Trump supporters and decide for yourself what this could mean for the future of America.
National Rifle Association (NRA)
First, let's take a moment to reflect on what Trump said at a campaign rally earlier this year, according to CNN:
"I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose voters."
It should come as no surprise that Trump earned the NRA's endorsement. As an ardent supporter of the NRA and gun rights, Trump also opposes any new government regulation on firearms, including assault weapons, with his website proclaiming, “the government has no business dictating what types of firearms good, honest people are allowed to own.”
This alliance is particularly unsettling in light of the string of mass shootings in recent years.
Former boxing champ Mike Tyson has long been a confidant of Donald Trump. After Tyson was convicted of raping an 18-year-old in 1992, Trump jumped to his defense, proposing a controversial plan that would allow Tyson to essentially avoid prison time by paying restitutions to the victim.
Trump's sympathy for (and attempted defense of) the convicted rapist speaks volumes about his lack of respect for sexual assault victims, then and now.
Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh has presided over a (too) long career in radio. You might remember when he made headlines in 2012 after referring to Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke as a “slut” and a “prostitute” on the air. Fluke had delivered a speech to the House of Representatives, making the case for mandatory health insurance coverage of birth control.
This type of misogynistic name calling sounds familiar, doesn't it?
Lol. Need we say more?
Yikes. Former Ku Klux Klan leader and self-proclaimed European-American advocate (eye roll) David Duke has spoken out in favor of Donald Trump. NPR reports that Duke felt his own agenda aligned with the presidential candidate's, stating, “I represent the ideas of preserving this country and the heritage of this country, and I think Trump represents that as well."
A world where the former head of the biggest hate group in the US sees himself and his values reflected in the president? That's a scary thought.
With a track record that includes disparaging remarks against Muslims, immigrants and the LGBTQ+ community, political commentator Ann Coulter has never been one to shy away from controversy (or hate speech). Her endorsement of Donald Trump is no exception.
It turns out she's not just a Trump fan, but rather a superfan: In her latest book, "In Trump We Trust," she defends the Trump-style politics that, up until now, was reserved for reality shows and dictatorships.
Teresa Giudice counts herself among Trump's supporters. Though she's probably better known for her legal drama than for her role on Bravo's Real Housewives of New Jersey, she earned reality TV notoriety when she flipped a table while calling a fellow cast member a "prostitution whore" during the show's first season.
She and her husband Joe were both recently sentenced to prison for bankruptcy fraud, and conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.
Though Trump describes Roger Ailes as a "very, very good person," the former Fox News CEO recently made headlines when he stepped down after more than a dozen women accused him of sexual harassment. According to allegations (and the recently settled lawsuit), Ailes made sexually-inappropriate advances and comments to women throughout his decades-long career in media.
Since his resignation, Ailes has reportedly kept busy acting as a close advisor to Trump. This alliance is far from shocking, and only provides further insight into the Republican nominee's stance on women's issues.
The Naked Cowboy
With an unexpectedly political history — he's “challenged” the likes of former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg and President Barack Obama in various elections — it was only a matter of time before Times Square's own Naked Cowboy made public his views on this year's presidential race.
In a musical display equal parts dazzling and topical, the Naked Cowboy (real name Robert John Burck) crooned, “if you really want to make America great again, vote for the man whose name is on my rear end.” He then turned to reveal “TRUMP” written on the back of his briefs.
This was arguably the least offensive Donald Trump endorsement to date, which speaks volumes about his candidacy and about the state of our nation.
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