INTERVIEW: Arab American Conservative and Clevelander Jacob Saliba

Posted by Arab American Institute on July 21, 2016 in Blog

Jacob Saliba is an Arab American Conservative from the Cleveland area. Jacob is a rising senior at the Catholic University of America where he is studying World Politics and Islamic World Studies. Jacob supported John Kasich in the primary, and will not be supporting Mr. Trump in November. 

Q: What is your history with the Republican Party?12987130_1230859343590963_7093826016331980727_n.jpg

I’ve always identified as a Republican or conservative. In 2013, becoming disheartened with the party, I became a registered independent, however, up until this date, I have only voted for a Republican candidate.

What constantly draws me to the party is their policies on less government intervention, their friendliness towards business, lower taxes and dedication to the Pro-Life movement.

Q: What are your thoughts on Trump's convention coming to your hometown? What has been the reaction of other Arab American Clevelanders you know?

When I first found out that Cleveland would be host to the 2016 Republican National Convention I was ecstatic. With the rise of Trump, my excitement for the event quickly turned into concern. Watching violence being instigated by both supporters and protesters at Trump rallies I feared my city could also be home to such chaos.

The majority of Arab Americans that I know are excited for Cleveland to host such an event, regardless of the nominee. Many Arab Americans in Northeast Ohio support Trump and are excited for his arrival in the city. At the same time, a larger number of Arab Americans, particularly Arab Muslims, fear backlash and bigotry both in reaction to Trump’s proposed policies and by some of his supporters.

Q: What does Donald Trump's nomination mean for the future of the Republican Party, in your opinion?

While Donald Trump has seemed to tap a legitimate and justified mistrust of Washington among American voters, his illogical rhetoric has made me question his candor. Not knowing who the real Donald Trump is, nor the way he plans to lead is a mystery I’m not willing to solve once he reaches the White House.

Moreover, as a Gay American, the newly signed Republican Party platform voted under the leadership of Donald Trump is increasingly more homophobic than the last. While Trump has kept a distance from issues of gay rights, I see it as a concern that his leadership has consistently kept quiet to seek the support of some of the most extreme factions of the party.

Q: What are you considering doing with your vote in November?

I am extremely dissatisfied with both the Democratic and Republican nominees, I look forward to voting for Gary Johnson in the November election. Concerned both with the size of government and the United States’ intrusion in Americans personal lives, Johnson’s platform and demeanor seem more in line with my own vision for the future.

My hope now is that Johnson’s popularity continues to grow and he will make it onto the next major debate stage. Like many young conservatives, I do not fit the traditional Republican profile and a candidate such as Johnson could steer both voters and the next Republican platform in a different direction.