When you think of counterculture, you might think of drugs and free love and peace and long hair and hippies and Beatniks and literature and poetry. You probably don't think of young white men wearing "Make America Great Again" hats and chanting "Build that wall!" But you should, according to Donald Trump's college supporters who think they're the "new counterculture."
BuzzFeed News interviewed college students who support Donald Trump recently. The students, largely white and male, "view themselves as underground rebels fighting a corrosive epidemic of political correctness," Katie J.M. Baker wrote.
"It’s the new counterculture," said Jared, an undergraduate at the University of Delaware who wore a suit and tie to the school's College Republicans meeting. "It’s the equivalent of being a hippie protesting at Kent State."
Let's run that back: "It's the equivalent of being a hippie protesting at Kent State." On May 4, 1970, students were protesting the Cambodian Campaign of the Vietnam War at Kent State University in Ohio. During the protest, the National Guard, who had already been using tear gas, opened fire on the protesters, killing four students, two of whom were women, and wounding nine others including one who was permanently paralyzed as a result. So no, being a Trump supporter is not at all "the equivalent of being a hippie protesting at Kent State."
A different college student used another comparison for the pro-Trump "counterculture" while speaking with BuzzFeed News and said it's like "being grunge in the '90s."
Jared added that many young Trump supporters "feel threatened by the fact that you cannot depart from this dogma that the majority on the campus holds without being told you are racist, being told you are sexist, having people report you for having an opinion because it, you know, threatens somebody’s identity."
Ryan Dubicki, a 21-year-old gay white male at the University of Delaware, said he didn't support Hillary Clinton and said she "belongs in prison." He criticized Clinton's campaign for not being white enough for him and his white friends. "Hillary Clinton ran a campaign on minorities against whites," he said. "Even look at her rallies: They were all minorities. There were no white people there."
Andrew Lipman, a senior at the University of Delaware and the chairman of the Delaware Federation of College Republicans, told BuzzFeed News that many universities are "silencing conservative speech, because it’s considered hateful." Condemning concepts like "trigger warnings," "safe spaces," and "microaggressions," Lipman is concerned that his fellow students don't feel comfortable voicing their pro-Trump opinions in the classroom, the dorm room, or around campus.
Just weeks before the election, Lipman invited Milo Yiannopoulos to bring his "Dangerous Faggot" tour to the university. Milo is a Breitbart writer and a hero for many on the "alt-right," who appreciate Milo's inflammatory, misogynistic, racist, homophobic, Islamophobic, and all around offensive articles for Breitbart. When Milo spoke at the University of Delaware, posters popped up around campus showing the faces of Michelle Obama and Caitlyn Jenner with the words "trannies are gay."
A New York University senior—and Trump supporter—who didn't give his full name talked to BuzzFeed News about his own experiences at his school. "At NYU, everyone feels like we need to be inclusive, but when you enforce that, you’re creating a different sort of minority group," he said. For example, if you criticize the concept of "safe spaces," the student said, "You'll immediately be slammed as a hypocrite or an oppressor." And being a white guy "doesn't help" the situation. "It’s like, yeah we’ll have open discussions as long as it’s absolutely aligned with what we already believe in," he said.
Of course, not everyone agrees with these college students. Jaelyn Brown, a black woman and president of the University of Delaware's College Democrats, told BuzzFeed News, "The most frustrating thing about this is that for people of color, trans people, women...their lives are actually in jeopardy. Your life as a white guy is not in jeopardy if Hillary Clinton is president."
According to the Pew Research Center, 52 percent of college graduates voted for Hillary Clinton, compared to only 43 percent who supported Trump. On the other hand, Trump was backed by 52 percent of those without a college degree, compared to Clinton's 44 percent. That gap between voters with a college degree and voters without a college degree is the widest since 1980. With that said, there was one group of college graduates that Trump did win—white college graduates supported Trump over Clinton by a 4-point margin.