Jerel Miller may be too young to vote, but that doesn’t stop him from campaigning for his favorite candidate.
Miller, 15, is black and supports Donald Trump, but says that he’s heard from several people that he is supporting the wrong candidate for someone of his race.
“I’m not hearing hardly anyone at my school talk anything about politics,” he said. “It’s like with them, they don’t care about their future. They get upset, saying, ‘You’re black, you should be a Democrat and not a Republican.’ Then I’m like, “Martin Luther King and Harriet Tubman were Republicans.’”
Miller said that most of the comments barely affect him, but some do.
“It kinda does,” he said. “It’s just one of those stupid things people say.”
It doesn’t matter to him.
“I really don’t care because I’m going to support Donald Trump no matter what.”
Miller is an avid fan. His Facebook profile picture is a photo of him sporting Trump’s famous hair thanks to an app called Trump Yourself. After school, he campaigns for Trump at the Anson County Board of Elections Office, wearing a “Make America Great Again” baseball cap and a pin with a picture of his hero.
“I even got to be on TV at the rally in Charlotte,” he said.
HOW IT ALL BEGAN
Miller was only about 7 when President Barack Obama took office, but said he was a fan of the president to begin with. Now, in 10th grade, he can’t support him.
“My biggest complaint about Barack Obama is Obamacare,” Miller said. “It’s a disaster. It was supposed to be affordable for families, but people are paying thousands and thousands of dollars for it.”
Miller also said that Obama shouldn’t have sent troops to war, and that he lets the enemy know that he’s going to send troops in, endangering soldiers.
“I’m not going to lie,” Miller said. “I was interested in politics and was for Obama in the beginning until he went two terms.”
Miller became a Republican last year when he was 14 and learned that Trump would run for president.
The teen hopes to one day be an EMT. For now, he spends his days working in a restaurant, in school and campaigning.
Miller isn’t the only one in his family interested in politics.
“My sister is 7 years old and a Trump supporter,” Miller said. “She says, ‘Build that wall, build that wall.’ She asked who is going to pay for the wall, and I said Mexico, and she said it louder.”
She watches Trump rallies on TV and online with him.
“I don’t think she understands much, but if she sees something on TV, she likes to repeat it over and over if she thinks it’s good to repeat,” Miller explained.
Miller said his parents haven’t said what party they belong to, but that he knows they aren’t Republicans. The rest of his relatives are Democrats.
“Basically, during dinner time, we leave the politics aside.”
Still, he holds out hope that one day, his parents will join him and his sister.
“I’m hoping I can convert them.”
TOO YOUNG TO VOTE
Miller is too young to cast his own ballot, but tries to get friends his age to research candidates and issues. He encourages others who are old enough to vote to go to the polls, but reports little luck.
“It’s like I try to have a conversation but they don’t want to listen,” Miller said.
He thinks that race may play a role.
“I really think it’s because of things their parents have told them,” he said. “Some are 18 and I try to get them to vote. I say, ‘It’s going to affect you in the future.’ They say, ‘Well, I’m black, so I know who I’m going to vote for because all blacks are Democrats. And I’m like, ‘That’s not even true.’”
Many tell him he shouldn’t be a Republican since he’s black. Others see no issue with it.
“My white friends don’t think it’s odd,” Miller said. “To me, I’m paying attention to what’s going on in the world.”
Miller can rattle off a list of Clinton policies he opposes, or times he says she has contradicted herself.
“Clinton said she wanted a barrier,” he said. “Like, it’s referring to a wall.”
“Well, look, I voted, numerous times when I was a Senator to spend money to build a barrier to try to prevent illegal immigrants from coming in,” Clinton says in the video, “Hillary Clinton Brags About Voting For A Border Fence To Keep Out Illegal Immigrants” posted by America Rising ICYMI on YouTube.
He also feels that Clinton took the idea of free healthcare from Bernie Sanders.
The teen is also worried that Clinton will raise taxes.
“She did say that she will raise taxes on the middle class,” Miller said. “It’s proof that she’s lying. It’s in a video now. She said we’re going to raise taxes on the middle class and everyone in that room clapped for her. The video is on YouTube; it was at a rally.”
Miller also feels that Trump is better for the economy than Clinton.
“I don’t know why Clinton says she’s going to create jobs when she was Secretary of State and had 30 years to create jobs,” he said. “Trump owns over 500 businesses. Clinton has never created a job. She had 30 years to do it and never did.”
He’s also worried that Clinton will plunge the nation deeper into debt.
“If I put in an application, I want to expect to get a job, not have an illegal immigrant get that job,” Miller said. “As far as college is concerned, no way is she going to get free college without raising taxes and getting us deeper and deeper into debt.”
Miller believes that Clinton will cause problems for more than just the United States if she’s elected president.
“I guarantee you that if Hillary Clinton gets in, there’s going to be World War III,” he said. “North Korea, Russia and China. They just don’t like her.”
Not liking Clinton is enough reason to start a war, he said.
“North Korea will react quickly to anything,” he explained. “A lot of people don’t remember this, but in 1982 or 1986, Clinton released a video saying blacks are full of violence and have no empathy and are a super predator, and we could talk about why they have no empathy and are a super predator and we need to bring them to heel.”
Miller plays the video, called “This Video SHOULD Cost Hillary Clinton The Black Vote,” posted by the Young Turks on YouTube, on his phone to convince people.
The video is from 1994 and was taken in New Hampshire. She was talking about gangs.
“… not just gangs of kids anymore; they are often the kids that are called ‘super-predators:’ no conscience, no empathy,” Clinton says in the video. “We can talk about why they ended up that way, but first we have to bring them to heel.”
Clinton does not use the words “black” or “African-American” in the clip, but the video host says Clinton claims the term “super-predators” as a synonym for “blacks.”
Miller believes the host.
“I think some people need to go back and check their history on Clinton because she’s crooked,” he said.
Miller strongly believes Trump’s proposed wall to keep illegal immigrants from coming in from Mexico would save money currently used for welfare, letting the United States pay down its debts.
The wall is the country’s best bet, he said.
“I say, if China can do it, we can do it.”
Trump will also eliminate ISIS as a threat, Miller believes.
“He has plans, but he will not release those plans, and that right there is smart,” Miller said. “If he did, that gives them time to prepare.”
Trump’s lack of experience in waging wars doesn’t bother him.
“We have generals that could help us with it,” Miller said. “And if they are bad plans, they can’t be worse than any of Obama’s.” A new general who thinks differently than Obama can advise Trump, he said.
Miller, who says he is a straight-ticket Republican, said that those saying that Trump is racist are wrong.
“There’s no changing these people’s minds,” he said. “They claim Trump is going to get rid of the Mexicans, then get rid of the blacks. Like, they’re crazy.”
He also defended Trump’s lewd comments on women recorded on video as mostly harmless.
“All men, if they really like women, all men have fantasies and they get into that mood and imagine things,” Miller said.
Does that make it okay?
“Yes and no,” Miller said, adding that if he’s made president, Trump probably shouldn’t make those comments. “All men have thought those comments at least in once in their lifetime. It doesn’t bother me. It’s not going to affect my support.”
In fact, Miller said he’d welcome Trump’s support one day.
“If I ran for president some day, Trump would be my vice-president.”
Reach reporter Imari Scarbrough at 704-994-5471 and follow her on Twitter @ImariScarbrough.