As a Danish-American living in Europe, I find myself struggling to understand the appeal of Donald Trump. When I listen to his supporters explain why they back him, I honestly do not see how his policies would make America great again. Yet millions clearly feel differently, and I want to try to understand their perspective.

Trump promises to build a wall, isolate the U.S. from the world, and act as a global bully. But wouldn’t that make us less secure, not more? Global problems require global cooperation. Turning our back on allies and acting unilaterally seems more likely to breed resentment than solve complex issues.

Trump argues we need to put “America first,” but in an interconnected world, doesn’t “America first” often mean isolating ourselves? Perhaps his supporters see nuances I do not. Do they view the wall more symbolically, as a stand against illegal immigration? Do they believe America’s allies take advantage of us? I seek genuine dialogue to better understand these perspectives.

Trump says he will bring back manufacturing jobs through tariffs and trade wars. But wouldn’t that raise prices for consumers and likely spark retaliation against U.S. exports? Economists warn that protectionism hurts both sides in a trade relationship.

Trump argues unfair trade deals have hurt American workers, but many factors have contributed to job losses beyond trade, from automation to globalization itself. Tariffs may help some industries but hurt others. How do we weigh those costs and benefits? Do Trump supporters see the economic analysis differently? Or do they prioritize a different set of values, like national pride and sovereignty over economic efficiency? I am curious to hear more about these perspectives.

Trump recently suggested he may not honor the NATO alliance’s mutual defense oath if other members do not pay more. But what would happen if Putin attacked Europe and the U.S. did not come to NATO’s defense? It could undermine the post-war security architecture that has kept the peace for decades. Trump supporters likely see NATO differently, perhaps viewing it as a drain on U.S. resources. But would weakening NATO really make America safer? I want to listen with an open mind, seeking to understand – not judge – their viewpoints.

Trump claims he will run the country like a business, but the U.S. is not a company. Government cannot simply declare bankruptcy or move operations overseas. The complex issues facing our nation – from health care to immigration to climate change – require nuanced, multifaceted solutions, not simplistic business models.

Trump argues as an outsider businessman he can “shake things up,” but is disruption always good, or do stability and predictability have value too? His supporters likely see the entrenched Washington establishment differently than I do. I want to listen with an open mind, seeking to understand – not judge – their frustrations.

Many of Trump’s supporters cite their Christian faith as a reason for backing him. Yet Trump does not embody traditional Christian values of compassion, humility and service. His actions and rhetoric seems to glorify wealth, power and the exaltation of the self above all else.

Trump argues he is not beholden to special interests, but is every human being – including Christians – susceptible to our own self-interests blinding us? Perhaps his supporters see things I do not. Do they view Trump’s policies, not personality, as most important? Do they believe his leadership will serve Christian interests? I welcome the chance to listen with an open heart, seeking common ground.

Joe Biden also presents challenges as Trump’s opponent. At 82, he would be the oldest president ever elected. Some may see his age as a liability, fearing he lacks the vigor for the job. Trump supporters likely see Biden as part of the entrenched Washington establishment they want to overthrow.

Yet I cannot help but wonder: if age is a concern, why choose the 77-year-old Trump over younger alternatives? Trump has shown no more “vigor” on the campaign trail than Biden. And while Biden has decades of political experience, Trump has no experience in government at all.

Biden’s age may limit his ability to bring change, but Trump’s inexperience could limit his ability to actually govern. The presidency is an immensely complex and demanding job, and Trump has given little indication he understands or cares about many crucial issues.

So while Biden may seem “more of the same,” Trump promises radical change with no clear vision for how to achieve it beyond slogans and simplistic solutions. That leaves me wondering: why choose Trump over a more qualified, younger alternative? What does Trump offer that someone like Mitt Romney, John Kasich or Nikki Haley could not?

I do not mean to be confrontational. I genuinely want to understand the perspectives of Trump supporters. But when I listen to the arguments in favor of his policies and candidacy, I simply do not see how isolating America and acting as a global bully will actually make our nation greater.

Perhaps there are nuances I am missing. Perhaps Trump supporters see complexities I do not. I seek genuine dialogue, not division. My hope is by listening to each other’s perspectives with open hearts and minds, we can find common ground and common purpose as Americans, regardless of which candidate earns our vote this November.

The divide in our country runs deep. But perhaps by seeking first to understand, rather than be understood, we can take the first steps toward bridging that divide. This election season, I will keep an open mind and open heart, hoping others will do the same. The future of our nation and global stability may depend on it.

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