US Election 2016: Letter from Dallas

Downtown Dallas, Texas

Downtown Dallas by fcn80 CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

This has been a unique election season here in the unique city of Dallas, where we’ve experienced the highs and lows of the campaign to date with a keen eye on the realities of today’s world. Although it is in the historically red state of Texas, Dallas is a diverse metropolis, with residents from all over the world. In Dallas, the minorities are a force to reckon with. We’re a city that embraces our diversity as strength, not liability. And it’s precisely this belief in diversity that may be influencing our views on this election.

Our city has been involved in many movements for minority rights—including our respect for the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. Although the shooting in Dallas was during a BLM protest, our city came together and quickly understood that we should not blame the movement for one person’s act of violence. We have a large number of GLTBQ citizens and a large Latino population. Diversity is a way of life for us; it is the lens though which we view the 2016 election campaign.

At the beginning of the campaign we had many candidates to consider, including Rick Perry, our former governor; Jeb Bush, a favorite, given our state’s admiration for the previous Bush presidents; and Ted Cruz, our junior senator. As Texans, we were a little ashamed of our awkward family member Cruz, whom no one seemed to respect or admire. But just like that other joke that ran too long (“Trump will never win the nomination,” “Trump will never win office”), it became painful to witness just how disliked Cruz was and we began to hide his ties to our great state.


Blue Dallas

I’m sure most people assume that there is not much of a movement on the Blue side in Texas. But we do have Democrats in Dallas. We just know that to be a part of this party in Texas is more for show and pride, since our vote tends to be drowned in a sea of red. But hey, the numbers are growing.

Sign at Bernie Sanders rally, Grand Prairie, TX.

Sanders rally, Grand Prairie, TX, (img_6167) by Steve Rainwater, Irving US, CC By-SA-2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Dallas was excited about Bernie Sanders as he transformed from ideological dreamer to viable candidate during the campaign. And even though he eventually dropped out of the race, he used his popularity and his votes to win valuable additions to Hillary Clinton’s platform. This move was strategic and using his votes as currency was admirable. As we approached the national conventions, we could see that Bernie Sanders voters were very passionate and loyal. So his asking them to vote for his rival was a tall order and a striking maneuver, one that sealed the Democratic nomination for his rival.

Dallas is not a fan of Hillary Clinton. Around here, people refer to her as a liar, an “establishment” politician, and even worse, a liberal. The assumption was that we wouldn’t vote for her because she is a Democrat (and an unpopular one). But that was then.


Historic Endorsement

Although people in Dallas were comfortable assuming Republican was the only way to vote, Donald Trump has really changed the race. His harsh comments and divisive beliefs have forced many to consider doing something they thought they would never ever do: vote Democrat.

The Dallas Morning News demonstrated this in a historic way: by endorsing Hillary Clinton. This is the first time since the 1930s that they have endorsed a Democrat for office. They even admit that it did not come easily:

“We’ve been critical of Clinton’s handling of certain issues in the past. But unlike Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton has experience in actual governance, a record of service and a willingness to delve into real policy.”

This is perhaps because Dallasites and many Americans have begun to realize that although he is running on a Republican ticket, Donald Trump is no Republican. It is beyond party lines at this point. Trump is not a politician, he is a businessman. And people are realizing that he is unfit to lead as president. Instead, he seems to be a super villain created by a combination of factors: the infamous Tea-Party-Republican brand of fundamentalist conservatism and the anger of those Americans still mad that a multi-racial person of color is the president of the United States. Citizens who are sick of politics as usual were lured into the Trump camp and now seem to support him out of pride more than anything else.

Republicans have been very conflicted about Trump. On the one hand, they don’t believe that he represents American ideals, but on the other, he is running on the Republican ticket. The other option is the much despised Clinton. They are forced to support Trump even as they struggle to define their own party.


Citizens United

Trump hat, "Make America Great Again"

Trump hat. Photo by Spartan7W, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Donald Trump’s campaign has been greatly affected by his temperament, as displayed in his offensive comments. I remember watching the news one day and hearing a list of people he had offended in the past week—it included a crying baby at a rally and a Muslim soldier killed in combat. Nothing is off limits for this candidate.

Unfortunately, as Trump’s popularity rose, so did his implied racism and ties to white supremacist organizations and even terrorist organizations like the Klu Klux Klan. For the most part, he has denied being racist or having any relation to racist groups, but his words speak for themselves. His criticism of the judge handling a suit against him was rooted in the judge’s Mexican heritage, not his professional conduct. And the running tally of people he’s offended includes broad segments of our population: Mexicans, African-Americans and women. So far, with Hillary Clinton, Dallasites distrust of her is rooted in ideological differences, not moral ones. Although she has done things we do not agree with, she does them as a professional politician of tenure and respect.

In the instances cited above, Trump is not just offending minorities; in Dallas, he is offending us as a people. We embrace diversity as a part of who we are. Recall the way our city came together to cope with the shooting in Downtown Dallas during a Black Lives Matter protest; protesters, civilians and police united to emphatically denounce violence. We would not be willing to give up our moral ideals to stay loyal to the Republican Party. We are a pragmatic people. What use is it to vote in a Republican and usher in WWIII? Not practical.

Dallas is not afraid to call it like it is. For the first time in many years, we may see our city vote for a Democrat. Some may do so in an uneasy, unenthusiastic manner because they feel they have no choice. That uneasy feeling is better than the sick feeling we’d get voting for the unqualified alternative.

We hope you will vote responsibly this November.


Dallas, TX


Jeimmy Cesar


Jeimmy Cesar lives in Dallas, Texas, where she works in financial services and on giving her four-year-old a blessed and abundant childhood.



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