Two recent polls demonstrate that support for Donald Trump in the military and among veterans outpaces support for both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. A May Military Times survey of active-duty troops showed Trump beating Clinton by better than a 2-to-1 margin. A Morning Consult poll of veterans and active-duty members taken later the same month showed the likely Republican nominee leading his Democratic rival by 9 percentage points.
People ask me on a regular basis why so many veterans support Trump. First, we must consider that the military personnel in general seem to skew a bit to the right. If we have more Republicans in the military — through self-selection or geographically targeted recruiting in the South — it stands to reason to have more military personnel support for the Republican nominee.
Even so, the support for Trump does seem hard to fathom. This is, after all, a man whose only experience of the military came in a New York military academy where his father hoped he’d learn to control his bad behavior. Trump avoided service in the Vietnam war with four student deferments and during the campaign mocked the nation’s most celebrated POW, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).