This article is a part of "Amish In The News", a weekly series of stories about the Amish that appear in various newspapers around America.
Okay, there's been a lot of buzz about the Amish and Trump. So, do the Amish support Trump? Do the Amish like Trump? I'll try to tackle this topic in a politically neutral way.
First of all, not all Amish like Trump. The Amish are like any other group of people, you'll never find one group that votes completely monolithically with one party. That said, it is true that most Amish - if they were inclined to vote - would vote Republican.
Usually it comes down to a single issue: pro-life vs. pro-choice. Republicans have traditionally been the party of pro-life and that is a key issue for most Amish. Add to that Trump's aura as a businessman and that has appeal especially to Amish business owners.
I LOVED an article in the Cincinnati paper today about a reporter who is from southeastern Ohio who's old family farm was bought by an Amish family. First, it's just interesting to me since Gallia County, Ohio is a relative newcomer to Amish culture. There were not many Amish in the southeastern part of the state until recently and they look like a more open group (the Amish man allowed himself to be photographed freely). This is how the reporter describes Gallia County's Amish:
These are Old Order Amish in Gallia County, the most conservative group in the faith. They are humble, hard-working people who grow their own food, make their own clothes and raise multiple children.
Now, back to Trump, if you are wondering the rationale for Amish support of Trump besides abortion, here is a good point the reporter made:
Many of them are small business owners who believe they've reaped the benefits of Trump's economic policies. If you're only seeing Trump through that prism, it's easy to understand the support.
Most Amish are not on social media, so they are miss the back-and-forth, the context, etc of ANY political candidate, so if the Amish make a judgment about supporting any political candidate they are often doing it on much less information than the rest of us who tend towards information saturation. The reporter goes on to say, accurately:
They don't drive cars. They shun technology. Therefore, they don't experience all the vitriol, angst and anger on the networks and social media about Trump and this election. They couldn't care less about Trump's tweets.
And perhaps the Amish are better for it as the rest of us have a hard time escaping the Facebook squabbles and screaming pundits this election cycle.
SIGH, in so many ways this is the way politics used to be pre-internet. We'd get a limited glimpse of the candidate, we'd familiarize ourselves with the issue, we wouldn't get the constant patter of internet chatter and we'd love our uncles and neighbors whomever they supported. What a different world it is now....
I think you will have some Amish supporting President Trump, but I don't think it will be a groundswell for one simple reason: despite the President's plausible appeal to a slice of Amish voters, most Amish simply don't participate in politics. Trump rallied in Lancaster, PA recently and there were some Amish in attendance, well, there's been a lot of buzz about whether they were "real" Amish...my guess is that most "Amish" in attendance were evangelical offshoots. It would be very unusual for an Old Order Amish church member to attend a political rally. Here are some of the President's remarks:
"Don’t tell anybody, but the Pennsylvania Dutch are voting en masse. They’re voting. I heard that the other day,” Trump said at a rally at the Lancaster Airport. “They said, ‘We work hard. We can’t have a man who sleeps all day in the basement.'"
A great article in the York, Pennsylvania paper describes the uphill battle the President has in courting Amish voters. We'll know soon enough with the election just days away!