Political ads introduce Trump to the Amish

Jul 25, 2016 by

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A political action committee seeking to mobilize the Amish to vote for Donald Trump is running ads in two newspapers that reach Amish communities.

amish pac logoAmish PAC ads have appeared in The Budget and Holmes County Hub Shopper, both based in Ohio. The ad starts with the basics: “Did you know the 2016 presidential election will be on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016? The Republican nominee for president is businessman Donald Trump.”

The ad features a checklist of “what you need to know about him.” It says Trump has never held public office and owns a family-run business: “He has tasked his adult children with running his business while he runs for president.” It says he abstains from alcohol and will appoint pro-life Supreme Court justices who protect religious liberty.

The Budget has broad distribution among the Amish nationwide. The Trump ad appeared in its July 13 edition alongside the newspaper’s signature content — reports of Amish community happenings by “scribes” from across the U.S. and around the world.

The Amish PAC website says weekly ads are planned as part of its Plain Voters Project. On July 25, Amish PAC said it had placed billboards in two locations in Lancaster County, Pa.

Lancaster Online reported experts on the Amish have said the Amish may admire Trump’s business experience, but his boasting personality and three marriages will work against him.

Amish PAC has raised nearly $25,000, mostly from Pennsylvania. The group expects to raise and spend about $41,000, some of it on billboards in Amish population centers. Amish communities are clustered in the swing states of Ohio and Pennsylvania.

“Our goal is to keep these ads running all the way up to Election Day,” Amish PAC fundraising counsel Ben Walters told CBS Philadelphia. “The Amish vote really could make a difference.”

Most Amish do not vote, according to a “two-kingdom” theology of separation from the world. But voting is not prohibited, and the decision usually is left to the individual.

Ohio Amish resident Joel Sal­atin told the Washington Post he won’t be voting this year. “Definitely, it bothers me,” Salatin said when asked about Trump’s three marriages.

The Amish PAC website suggests Amish voters could decide the election.

“The 2016 presidential election is likely to hinge on a few thousand votes in swing state battlegrounds like Ohio or Pennsylvania,” the website says. “The Amish vote could very well be the deciding factor.”

It says the Plain Voters Project “is laser targeting high population Amish pockets in Ohio and Pennsylvania with the central purpose of registering new voters and turning them out to vote on Election Day.”

When Amish vote, the website says, “they vote for individual rights, personal responsibility, less government, lower taxes and to protect their right to bear arms.”

The Amish PAC strategy focuses on newspaper ads and billboards “tailored to potential Amish and Mennonite voters.” Increasing Amish turnout by 5 percent “could be the difference between a Republican president and Hillary Clinton.”

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  • Jacob D Friesen

    I confess ignorance about many things Amish, but it would surprise me to learn that they would vote for the ‘right to bear arms’!

    • Dale Welty

      It is the right to own guns. Dale Welty

    • Tony Mullet

      First day of gun season (Deer) is pretty much a national holiday in Holmes County. Schools are closed and many Amish are in the woods.

      • Keith Wiebe

        Do the Amish own guns for self defense purposes?

        • Joshua Rodd

          In theory, no.

  • Keith Wiebe

    Do scare tactics and fear work on the Amish too?

    • Dale Welty

      Did Jesus use scare tactics when he spoke of eternal fire in Hell for unbelievers? Dale Welty

      • Keith Wiebe

        Well, now that we agree that scare tactics are used on the Amish by Trump supporters, are they going to work?

    • Bob Blaylock

        I guess “scare tactics” is becoming a new wrong-wing cry, along with false accusations of “hatred” and “bigotry”, to try to shut down the expression of beliefs and opinions which those on the far-wrong find disagreeable.

        I guess libeerals needed a new cry; having cried “Bigot!” so often, so gratuitously, and so much in vain that—as with the protagonist in the famous Æsop tale of “The Boy Who Cried ‘Wolf!’”—nobody believes them any more.

      • Keith Wiebe

        xenno thinks scare tactics are ok since he thinks Jesus used them. But you don’t think scare tactics are used? I’m confused!

        • Rainer Moeller

          The article above doesn’t show clearcut cases of “scare tactics”. What exactly are you aiming at here? Endangement of religious liberty? Endangerment of the right to bear arms? But these cases are not artificially invented by the Trumpists, they have been actual subjects of political controversy – subjects which will probably be decided by future Supreme Court justices. If I was a shopkeeper with a rigid position about gay marriage, I would be quite rightly scared by the idea that I’ll have to choose between renouncing my deep convictions or losing my base of existence …

          • Keith Wiebe

            So let me get this straight. A vote for Trump will allow myself as a shopkeeper the ability to discriminate against some of my customers because I don’t like what they do? No wonder the party of Trump is known for bigotry and racists.

  • Harvey Yoder

    I know history never exactly repeats itself, but all of us do well to learn whatever we can from it. http://harvyoder.blogspot.com/2016/07/german-mennonites-supported-third.html

  • Debra B. Stewart

    Since this has devolved into a gun discussion, let’s think about this: 33,000 American gun deaths annually. 33,000. Just had a “party shooting” in the area Sunday evening. Two dead, two in critical condition, 20 injured. Less than 20 miles from my house.

    What I can’t understand is why stricter background checks, closing of dangerous and unnecessary loopholes and the ban on assault weapons, all of which are supported by as many as 90% of Americans, all of which could lower gun death numbers . . . why are these proposals so offensive to some of the earlier commenters?

    • Bob Blaylock

        Your premise is based on lies, Ms. Stewart.

        None of the measures that you mention will do a thing to make decent people safer.

        Whether by ignorance, or malice, if you are in favor of gun control, then you are on the side of criminals and tyrants, and against that of decent, law-abiding Americans.  And most of us decent Americans very rightly take offense at those who side with criminals and tyrants, against us.

      • Erwin Warkentin

        With all due respect, Mr Blaylock, I find your response to Ms Stewart to be short-sighted, offensive navel-gazing. You call her a liar, and if that is not offensive, I don’t know what is (and I am surprised that the gate-keepers of MWR allowed this comment). You reflect the view of many Americans, who appear to be so wrapped up in the “right to bear arms” that you have not looked at any other global democracies to see how that “right” stacks up against the activities of “criminals and tyrants.” We Canadians have always had gun controls much stricter than our friends to the south, yet our crime rates are significantly lower than yours – especially our rates of violent crime. That is true of pretty much every other western-based democracy in the world. We shake our heads in disbelief whenever our American friends argue that further gun controls in your country would make you unsafe. And to hear that argument in a faith-based, Christian, Anabaptist Mennonite context, in which Jesus’ words, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do,” ring in our ears, astonishes and dumbfounds me.

        • Bob Blaylock

            Calling my statements “short-sighted, offensive navel-gazing” does nothing to undermine the truth that I expressed.

            Gun control, in this country, has always been, and will always be, promoted by those who hold the interests of violent criminals above those on whom they wish to prey.  The first gun control laws in this country were instigated by the Ku Klux Klan, specifically intended to disarm recently-freed former slaves, in order to make them easier prey for the KKK.  Later, criminal-gangster-turned-politician Timothy Sullivan authored New York’s Sullivan Act—the progenitor of all modern gun control laws— specifically crafted to give his own gang an advantage over law-abiding citizens and rival criminals.  For the most part, today’s gun-control supporters are not as open about their motives, but their motives are the same.

            And it is no surprise that you’re Canadian.  It perfectly reflects the difference in our two nations, going back to our national origins.  The United States were founded in violent rebellion against a horrendous tyrant.  Canada was founded in grovelling and cowering before that same tyrant.  As Samuel Adams said, in a 1776 speech, “We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen!”

  • Craig and Karen Long

    Voting (whether in the secular or the ecclesiastical world) has always been so very terribly personal. It remains so, in this great election for President of the United States of America, 2016. Each man must hear clearly what the Father is speaking, in this intense hour upon the Earth.

  • Rainer Moeller

    Imho this is a conflict between different class instincts: roughly, the silent class and the scribbling class. The silent class (farmers, artisans or shopkeepers) is used to produce and to sell at a cost – the scribbling class (professonial pastors, college professors or journalists) is used to serve for a salary whose level is not clearly associated with the results of a sale (but is much more “cryptic”). The silent classes tend to be rather skeptic about college education. One of the problems of college education is indeed that it makes people over-optimistic about social engineering: They instinctively see themselves as being at the top end of the social engineering stick, not at the bottom end. Besides there are of course real differences of interests: The scribbling classes are less bound to soil or plants, they have more to gain from open borders.
    So, it’s rather natural that the silent class will be more for Trump and the scribbling class more against Trump.

    One of the problems is that the scribbling class tends to forget that a silent class exists at all (the “echo chamber” effect), and elections are useful to recall that fact.

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