Letter to the Editor: Professors condemn excuses for Trump voters

Published: Nov. 11, 2016

Slide 1

Dear Editor,

Donald Trump is now president-elect of the United States. He and those who voted for him frequently expressed their disdain for the “political correctness” they claimed had been foisted on them by the “elites.” We did not vote for Mr. Trump, but we too are tired of a world where people mince around any uncomfortable truthIn the spirit of telling it like it is (evidently the ultimate test of a person’s character), we now state the truth and beseech our liberal friends to join us and stop making patronizing excuses for Trump voters. 

Many Trump voters really are racist (yes, there are data if the speeches and rallies aren’t enough evidence for you), and by definition all Trump voters are comfortable enough with xenophobia to go ahead and vote for it. Many of them are sexist, and all are comfortable enough with objectification of women to go ahead and vote for it. Many of them despise the poor and admire the rich (no, the truly poor did not vote for Trump, it was mainly the middle class), and all have now demonstrated their comfort voting for policies that will hurt the poor. 

We all know and love some Trump voters, and it is painfulbut that’s no excuse for denying reality and surely the Trump believers wouldn’t want us to be so ‘politically correct.’ The world really is turned on its head when people will bend over backward to make excuses for those who have willingly, knowingly and often mirthfully voted for this kind of person. How is it possible that it is worse for us to call out obvious racism than it is for a huge swath of middle-class white Americans to vote for it? 

Regarding the single issue crowd, they obviously don’t have too much of an issue with racism, misogyny or having a bigot as president. They claim they chose the lesser of two evils⸺ seriously, racism, sexism, religious discrimination, harming the poor, harming the environment, etc. are the lesser evils?? Well now they can explain their calculus to the rest of us.

You can use whatever psychological mechanisms you like to deny that this is what some of your white friends and family have done, but you shouldn’t be at all surprised to find that most non-white people don’t care about your denial and your excuses. They know the truth ⸺ that people who voted for Trump simply don’t care about them. Your excuses just add insult to injury.

Christie Pugh Karpiak, Professor of Psychology

Declan Mulhall, Professor of Physics

30 Responses to Letter to the Editor: Professors condemn excuses for Trump voters

  1. Dave B Reply

    November 12, 2016 at 7:21 am

    As a Jesuit university it might interest you to know that Hillary Clinton, John Podesta (campaign manager) and Bill Clinton have close ties with Marina Abromovic (a woman that engages in satanic rituals as performance art), spirit cooking, Bohemian Grove and they are friends with Jeffrey Epstein a convicted pedophile. Bill and Hillary are named in the passenger lists on the private jet known as the “Lolita Express”. Google Clinton and each item listed and you will see. Then read what you’ve written above and decide which is the lesser evil.

    • Andrew M. Bodner '14 Reply

      November 12, 2016 at 5:03 pm

      Dave B., it might also interest you that Jesuit ideals stem far beyond scriptures organized into an outdated book written two thousand years ago; that Jesuits, influenced by the teachings of the New Testament, are advocates of science and technology and medicine.

      I do assure you that a *real* Jesuit would condemn Donald Trump and these people who call their selves Christian/Catholic in name only, and would have voted for someone who follows through the continual advocacy of equal rights and equal treatment of humans, progress of science and technology and medicine, and the greater peace and prosperity that follows along out of and from it.

    • Liz Reply

      November 12, 2016 at 10:42 pm

      Lmao drugs are. Bad, man

    • April Reply

      November 13, 2016 at 11:55 am

      Dave, by your “logic,” Trump has close ties with every member of the KKK. Sit down.

  2. Jonathan Rizzo Reply

    November 12, 2016 at 8:46 am

    I fully support you in this, Dr. Mulhall!

    • ANON Reply

      November 15, 2016 at 2:35 pm

      I dont agree with you Rizzoroni

  3. Ellen Johnston '92 Reply

    November 12, 2016 at 11:05 am

    Thank you! Thank you for expressing what I have been feeling this week but unable to articulate.

  4. Delia Sumrall Reply

    November 12, 2016 at 6:18 pm

    I was raised in a poor Mississippi town during segregation. Racism was the norm. It is alive and well to this day. When I moved to New York City in 1987 I was appalled at the racist attitudes all around me. Since I have a strong southern accent, these racists assumed I was one of them. It is saddening to read Facebook comments from old friends about the election outcome. So much negativity towards the Obamas. It’s sick. Your commentary is excellent.

  5. Oscar Solis '11 Reply

    November 12, 2016 at 7:29 pm

    If this isn’t an eloquent demonstration of cognitive dissonance, I don’t know what is. I am proud to have been your student, Dr. Karpiak

  6. Sted Reply

    November 12, 2016 at 8:06 pm

  7. Stanley Crumbles Reply

    November 12, 2016 at 8:14 pm

    Terrible article! Sad to see professors from a Jesuit university speak out like this.
    In calling Trump voters sexist, racist etc, you are no different and are not contributing in any way to the “unity” and peace you wish to see in Americans.
    Personally, I voted Trump because he will enforce laws that will slowly bring America to the Biblical values we should be following.
    With Clinton, we would not only have a criminal in office but we would also have someone who would be enforcing laws that would lead America more and more away from what is said in the Bible.
    If you do not like the way he treats women, just remember that Hillary harassed an bullied
    the women her husband sexually assaulted as well as covered up a rape case.
    The things he has said regarding illegal immigrants can only be done to an extent. He must have his ideas approved by the senate.
    Lastly, give Donald Trumps seven point healthcare reform a read. He is truly on his way to making America great again.

  8. Carol Solfanelli Reply

    November 12, 2016 at 8:38 pm

    You have so perfectly expressed what so many of us feel who cannot understand how anyone could vote for a racist, sexual predator bully to lead our country. They did this knowing what a bad example he will set for our children and they did this knowing he is unstable and could put us in danger of a nuclear war. They voted for him over a woman who has spent her life serving the public and improving the lives of children, women and the disenfranchised. There really is no good excuse for the way they voted so I will join you and stop making excuses for them.

  9. Andrew Reply

    November 12, 2016 at 11:14 pm

    I’d be interested to see these “data”.

    • Christie Karpiak Reply

      November 19, 2016 at 11:00 am

      Excellent–we wish more people were interested in the data. See the sources in our second letter for an introduction to the data that are available.
      The data were gathered pre-election. Now, post-election, Trump’s choices to fill various important positions and the rash of racist and anti-semitic actions around the country only add to the case.

  10. Hannah Reply

    November 12, 2016 at 11:40 pm

    My Dear Wormwood,

    “Be sure that the patient remains completely fixated on politics. Arguments, political gossip, and obsessing on the faults of people they have never met serves as an excellent distraction from advancing in personal virtue, character, and the things the patient can control. Make sure to keep the patient in a constant state of angst, frustration and general disdain towards the rest of the human race in order to avoid any kind of charity or inner peace from further developing. Ensure that the patient continues to believe that the problem is “out there” in the “broken system” rather than recognizing there is a problem with himself.”

    Keep up the good work,

    Uncle Screwtape
    *C.S. Lewis – Screwtape Letters

  11. Jason Aldrich Reply

    November 12, 2016 at 11:55 pm

    It would make more sense to analyze the psychology of your typical Clinton supporter.


    “We should all work together.”


  12. Charles Scrimalli Reply

    November 13, 2016 at 12:29 am

    Wow, real brave of you to label me as a racist and a sexist without even knowing me. How intelligent and open-minded of you. You just have to love the ‘tolerant’ left. Let me tell you something professors, this exact thinking is WHY Trump won. You are the problem here. Labeling the right as racists and sexists at every turn. This makes it impossible to have any sort of philosophical discussion about politics. Instead of facts, you simply cry racism, patriarchy, etc. That ends the dialogue between the left and the right. All you care about is your feelings, and FACTS DON’T CARE ABOUT YOUR FEELINGS.

    Also, I am not hiding behind my comments. Feel free to email me, stop me on campus and talk to me, or any other means of communication. I will warn you, the moment you call me a racist, sexist, etc. without any facts to back your argument, then the conversation is over.

    Students see behind your BS, and you are the reason the left lost this election. We see the lies and hate that the left supports.

    Email: charles.scrimalli@scranton.edu

  13. Carolyn Reply

    November 13, 2016 at 8:25 am

    As a student that is not racist, xenophobic, or any of the other labels the writers have placed on Trump voters, I am disappointed and frustrated to read this article. It is shameful that professors of a Jesuit university would assign demeaning stereotypes to a voter group without a basis (the article references “data” without citing anything). It is clear the authors were motivated by personal dissatisfaction, which by no means warrants them the right to insult the character of many of the students they teach. It is also interesting that the article fails to mention any of Hillary Clinton’s actions that reflect her lack of character and judgment. Her role in the deaths of U.S. soldiers in Benghazi and instinct to lie to their families is very telling of her devotion to maintain her own reputation at the cost of others’ lives. She has historically taken extensive measures to cover up the crimes of her husband; I do not understand how one could fail to view this as a blatant disservice to the women Bill was abusing. Her irresponsible use of email has shown that she does not regard potential endangerment of our country through classified information as important. I am happy about the election outcome, but have found it difficult to express because many professors have openly generalized the results as tragic or communicated that I need to “fear for the future.” Trump’s crude personality and unfiltered commentary (which by no means am I approving of) do not compare to Clinton’s unlawful acts. Actions speak louder than words. One day, I would love to elect a female president, but I am glad that I and many others were attuned enough to realize that Hillary’s criminality took precedence over her potential to break the glass ceiling.

  14. Christian Pilosi Reply

    November 13, 2016 at 3:15 pm

    This makes me even more proud of Scranton than I already was. So happy to see this.

  15. J Arch Reply

    November 13, 2016 at 3:56 pm

    I really wonder why Trump won when arrogance like that in this article are continuing on. Instead of looking at legitimate reasons why people voted for Trump, you jump right to the racist and sexist labels that the left has so perfectly brainwashed you with. Can’t wait to see what will happen in four years if idiots are still blaming Trumps whole win on racists, sexists or, as Hillary would say, “deplorables”.

  16. Marie Reply

    November 13, 2016 at 7:49 pm

    It’s articles like this that intensify the devastating divide that already exsists among Americans. Calling all republicans sexist and racist is a terrible generalization and unfair. No, I don’t support trump, but I also do not support Clinton either, who has plans to make abortion legal all the way up to full term. I find it kind of shocking and awful that a professor of a Catholic university would write and publsih this article.

  17. Carol Solfanelli Reply

    November 14, 2016 at 12:28 am

    When Pope Francis says that any Christians who voted for Trump shouldn’t call themselves Christian, we should listen. You may not be racist or sexist, but when you vote for someone who encourages racism and objectifies women, you are supporting racism and sexism whether you want to accept that or not.

    As far as referring to Hillary as a criminal as someone here has, she has not been convicted of any crimes. The real sins were Trump’s false accusations about her lapped up by his followers.

    • Amelia Reply

      November 15, 2016 at 4:09 pm

      Only God can judge our hearts, we should not be going around caling people non Christians based on who they decided to vote for. I voted for Trump because of what the Bible says about certain topics. You cannot change, add to, or manipulate the word of God. Hillary supports things that are opposite to what is written in the Bible.

      America is only going downhill- restrictions regarding immigration will be good. hopefully in the future it can be different and we can open up borders but with less restrictions. Are you content with the fact that there have been more terror attacks while Obama was president than there have been in 10 years? What if there was a terror attack where you live? Would you not be scared? How about all the people that died innocently due to a terrorist being let in the US. There have been instances where people under FBI watch are still let in. If Hillary could not help Americans in Bhengazi, and if world leaders don’t like her how do you think America will get any better?
      The people who voted for Trump are looking at the grand scale. To build something stable you need a strong foundation. The foundation has been lost and will be made stable once again with Trump in office.

      Yes, maybe Trump has said some things about women but Hillary has actually DONE things to women. Bullying and harassing women PERSONALLY is far worse than making geralized statements that we all know is just talk.
      So let’s all grow up, think positive and look forward to a brighter future.

      • Matt Reply

        November 19, 2016 at 12:22 am


        Your lack of understanding as it relates to terrorism, immigration, and the overall status of this country is grossly horrendous. Please, I encourage you to read and reflect before you reiterate useless rhetoric that has no basis in fact.

        P.s, Trump has DONE some pretty terrible things to women… again.. read up on it before you write nonsensical things.

  18. Daniel D'Agostini Reply

    November 15, 2016 at 4:55 pm

    I’d like to address the grossly unsupported statements in this letter to the editor from a personal standpoint. Disregarding all the seemingly accumulated data you may or may not have, I can tell you with complete certainty that you’ve thrown me into a category in which I don’t belong. On a daily basis, I interact with my Hispanic roommate, say hello and converse with many of my African American friends, demonstrate my respect for my female friends/classmates, and talk to my openly gay friends. Most importantly, I ENJOY the friendship and experiences I have made with all these individuals, and thank God for their presence in my life, as I am truly blessed because of them.
    But unfortunately I’m a white, middle class, Republican male in America who voted for Donald Trump last Tuesday, and because of that, the authors of this Letter to the Editor, and sadly most liberals, are telling me I’m a racist, sexist, xenophobic pig.

    Well sorry, but you’re wrong. Actually you’re so wrong it’s almost funny. I was raised (by two more white middle class republicans, I might add), to respect ALL life, no matter the color, age, religion, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, or any other plausible difference you can find. I am acutely aware of the fact that I am no better of a person than anyone fitting any of the aforementioned categories, and as I mentioned before, call many of these people my friends. I am honored that they, in turn, consider me a friend as well. But apparently, you’ve studied my life, thought for thought, action for action, and feel confident enough to lump me into a category of individuals so unjust and stupid, it makes me sick.

    So you’ve mislabeled me. Fair enough, everyone makes mistakes. But here is the real shocker, I have friends that are just like me. Imagine that, I have white friends who are Republican, voted as such, and aren’t sexist, racist, xenophobic bigots. Additionally, THEY have friends and family that fit the same bill.

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that the majority of those who voted for Trump, like myself, are not racist, sexist, xenophobic, etc. Here is a wild thought; maybe we voted for Trump because we like his economic policies better than the other option. Perhaps his handling of foreign affairs appealed to us more so than Hillary’s. There could even be a slight chance some of us thought he could do more good for ALL Americans than his opponent, and so we voted accordingly.

    Before I conclude, I’d like to clarify a few things. First, I am not writing to debate anything. As Americans, we should be debating policy and comparing political agendas, not trying to degrade the members of the opposing party, and so I am simply telling you how many Republican Americans, including myself, feel about your letter. Second, I know there will always be racism, sexism, xenophobia, and so on. It is an unfortunate reality, but a reality nonetheless. People who go about accusing half of America of being racist without adequate proof are not helping the nation advance to any sort of solution. As a Republican, and as an AMERICAN, I want to see racism/sexism and other social issues come to an end too, but I also know that attitudes cannot be legislated. Voting for Trump indicates only my opinions on various policies, not how I feel about the many unfortunate social issues plaguing our beloved country.

    Lastly, in regards to your “data”. Perhaps you think it is accurate, but it’s not ( kind of like the democrats thought their pre-election data was correct). It certainly doesn’t pertain to me, and the Republicans I know and associate with. If you want to work towards an end of racism, sexism, xenophobia and other issues in our nation, I advise you begin by ending the mindless stream of insulting nonsense you’ve been throwing at Republicans over the last week, and realize that we are your biggest ally, not your worst enemy. Thank you, and God bless America.

    • Declan Mulhall Reply

      November 16, 2016 at 6:48 am

      Dear Dan
      I value you as a student and you are a pleasure to have in class. That certainly hasn’t changed.
      Please reread the letter, I am not name calling. We certainly did not say all Trump voters are racists. Trump is a controversial candidate, and his supporters voted for him despite troubling rhetoric. We argue that it is not the job of liberals to speak for them. Indeed, some liberal explanations are patronizing.
      This is a crucial point as we move forward together. This is a difficult conversation for the country, and we aren’t well served by ignoring it just because it is uncomfortable. I believe in this country, and we can get through this and come out the other end with more love and compassion for each other.
      Damn right God Bless America.
      Dr. Mulhall

      • Kevin Reply

        November 16, 2016 at 10:13 pm


        You keep saying to “re-read” but I think you need to reread yourself what you said about “certainly not saying all Trump voters are racists”. You blatantly say “They (Non-Whites) know the truth ⸺ that people who voted for Trump simply don’t care about them.

        Now I don’t know about anyone else, but by saying that the truth is that trump supporters do not care about other races, you are indirectly, nay, DIRECTLY coming off as saying anyone who voted for trump is racist.

        It is pathetic you try to cover your tracks after posting something so controversial that was probably written because you were upset at the results and needed to blame someone. If it came across as not what you meant, as a professional, you should know by now that you do not post or say anything that could be interpreted wrongly and offend people. Well, this wasn’t interpreted wrong, because you directly said it. Try to cover it up, go ahead, but if this was something controversially said from the right-wing’s perspective, they’d be crucified.

        I would love to go into all you classes and read that quote to students and ask what they think of it. After that I’d love to let them know that is was written by you and as a result, you think half of the students do not care about minorities, ergo are racist. I’d love to see their reactions to your bigotry.

        For a school that has “CommUNITY” events for those saddened at the results, it does not come across as very united place when they allow professors to publicly condemn students for their own choice. Love or hate Trump, the country must come together. The University emphasizes an open and communal atmosphere expressing everyone to respect each other equally. I am afraid this only goes one way and the University just looks the other way when its a liberal labeling students as racists.

        I HOPE that the University will be smart enough to take action and fire you, because an atmosphere that emphasizes equality and non-labeling groups, just allowed to professors to literally label probably more than half their population as racist. And do not even try to argue that is not what you meant to me when you directly said to me that I do not care about non-whites.

        As you said, it is crucial we move together as a nation. And in order to move to unite, we need to get bigots like your own self out of learning environments so that they do not say terribly controversial things, try to hide it, and get away with it, leaving the student body even MORE disunited.

        • Christie Karpiak Reply

          November 17, 2016 at 1:08 pm


          I’ll assume you aren’t just trolling for fun.

          We have been surprised at the demand for politically correct suppression of speech coming from people who voted for a man so admired for “telling it like it is.”

          So sad. So sad.

          At any rate, you really don’t understand what we’re saying in the two letters. I’ll try one more time.

          1. Undeniably, if you voted for Trump, xenophobia “wasn’t a dealbreaker” for you.
          2. For many of the people who were insulted during the campaign, or who stand to be the victims of xenophobic policies, it is a dealbreaker. Many of them don’t understand why it wasn’t more important to you.
          3. Denial in the name of unity will not really heal this divide.

          To help illustrate, we now provide an admittedly clumsy example of how a useful, honest exchange might go between a Trump voter and her Muslim friend. We hope it will help you understand.

          Muslim friend: “I have felt so numb since the election. I can’t understand how half the country voted for a person who said those things. My mother hasn’t stopped crying, my nieces and nephews are scared. I am too. I look around and people are looking at me with pity, or with smiles even though I feel like half of them don’t care about me. I feel alone. Nobody will talk about this–they all just say it’s time to move on. Easy for them to say. I am sad and angry.”

          Trump-voting friend: “I care about you, and I won’t ignore what has happened. Your sadness and anger are important to me. I was appalled at the things said by Trump and those people at his rallies, and troubled that white supremacists and foreign nationalists like him so much. I really don’t like this at all. But I voted for him anyway because of Mike Pence. I just can’t stop worrying about abortion and I think something might really be done about it this time. I don’t expect you to agree with my reasons, but I hope you can understand that I am sincere and I deeply value your friendship.”

          Muslim friend: “I am so hurt. Really, I don’t think your position makes sense and I feel betrayed. But thank you for being so honest and not denying the insults of the Trump campaign or the scary things some of his followers have done. I really cannot stand to listen to one more person who won’t tell the truth about the xenophobia. How are we going to stand against it when people won’t even admit it is happening?”

          Trump voting friend: “I agree that truth is important and I cannot understand people who voted without carefully weighing the impact on people other than themselves. I hope our friendship will weather this. I hope you’ll be able to accept me as a true ally and an advocate against xenophobia and lies.”

          (The irony of the authors making liberal excuses for Trump voters has not escaped us).

  19. An observer Reply

    November 16, 2016 at 3:08 pm

    By writing and submitting this editorial, the authors are not only expressing hatred and bigotry, but perpetuating it. I ask these omniscient ones, who deemed you as the only beholders of truths? Thank you for the good job of stirring the pot and adding to campus craziness. Good Lord, they know not what they have done.

  20. Andrew Oppenheimer Reply

    November 17, 2016 at 1:16 pm

    This letter stresses the willingness of Trump voters to tolerate certain rhetorics of discrimination in politics. Prior to JFK’s election, this rhetoric was directed against Catholics, so I wondered whether the average Scranton student can imagine him- or herself in those shoes and, from there, appreciate why some members of this community are offended by political language that mocks and scapegoats others.

    My biggest problem with the letter of Professors Karpiak and Mulhall is its lack of analysis. They express outrage without asking why Trump supporters were willing to prioritize various issues over the rhetorics of discrimination. I don’t have all the answers, but I suspect that the question leads to some uncomfortable soul-searching for liberals and the political left.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *