Notable commonalities between Trump and Biden’s Muslim voters

27th Nov 2020
Notable commonalities between Trump and Biden’s Muslim voters

Mohamed Abbas voted for Donald Trumpwhile Sukaina Virani and her parents voted for Joe Biden

Sarah Sakeena Marshall

The recent US election came at the culmination of one of the most polarizing periods in modern American politics.

The Muslim News interviewed two voters who participated in the 2020 US election – one who supported the Democrat, Joe Biden, and the other Republican incumbent, President Donald Trump. They were both swing voters who talked about the Trump Administration’s mishandling of the pandemic, high voter turnout, and Middle East policy.

Sukaina Virani, a Pakistani American pharmacist who lives in Oviedo, Florida, voted for Biden. She felt that, as a Muslim woman, there was a lot more at stake in this election and liked Biden’s talk of “restoring the soul of the country,” stating that, “there’s a soulless person sitting in the White House right now.”

Mohamed Abbas, a Palestinian American who works for the Department of Defense and lives in Barstow, California, voted for Trump. His main concern was peace in the Middle East, stating that, “I was motivated to vote for Trump because Trump is more toward the peace and Joe Biden is just going to follow the same footsteps that Obama did.” Abbas doesn’t agree with everything Trump stands for and even supported Hillary Clinton in 2016.

However, in the last three months of the campaign, he fully joined the Trump camp, even attending some of his rallies in a thawb and keffiyeh, holding a flagpole with the American, Palestinian, and Trump 2020 flags.

Both Virani and Abbas talked about high voter turnout. “There has been so much more participation in this election even though there is a pandemic,” said Virani, chuckling that she saw so many Facebook posts showing, “Dadima is voting!”

She noticed that her parents took voting much more seriously this year, deciding to vote in person rather than by mail following Trump’s claims that the election would be fraudulent due to mail-in ballots.

Abbas, who voted by mail, also noticed high turnout, describing election night like a UFC fight, adding that, “Trump talks a lot of smack, so he got everybody excited.” Abbas feels that the election may have been fraudulent because certain states, like Arizona, turned blue for Biden.

Both Abbas and Virani agreed that the pandemic had been mishandled. Virani, as a pharmacist, is an essential worker and fears bringing the virus home to her parents. Abbas claimed that while his life did not change at all due to the virus, and that he even attended Trump rallies without a mask, he felt that the President, “handled it as a person, not as a president,” and just tried to keep people from worrying.

As for Middle East policy, while Abbas doesn’t agree with Trump moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem, when it comes to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, he feels Trump has, “put them in their place.” Virani is concerned about bombings in the Middle East, saying, “It was going on in the Obama/Biden era and continued in the Trump era.”

The election came at a time when many Trump supporters were calling Democrats “socialists,” and many Biden supporters were calling Republicans, “racists.”

The interviews had with both voters brought out a more nuanced approach to voting. It showed that people’s priorities differed. Few voters ever feel that their candidate is perfect — both said that they do not agree with all of their candidate’s policies. Most voters are simply opting for the candidate who paints a vision of the country that aligns more closely with their values.

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