Amish Community Throws Support Behind Donald Trump, Guaranteeing Victory-Fiction!

Amish Community Throws Support Behind Donald Trump, Guaranteeing Victory-Fiction!

Summary of eRumor:
There are reports that the “American Amish Brotherhood” has thrown its support behind Donald Trump, ensuring that all Amish people will vote for the GOP candidate, and ensuring victory for him.
The Truth:
A fake news website is behind false reports that the America’s Amish populations have overwhelmingly thrown their support behind Donald Trump, all but guaranteeing his election day victory.
The report first appeared at fake news websites designed to look like ABC News and CNN’s websites in an effort to confuse readers. These sites even have similar urls as the real ones — the only difference is a subtle “.co” attached to the very end.
The story, which appeared under the headline, “The Amish in America Commit Their Vote to Donald Trump; Mathematically Guaranteeing Him a Presidential Victory,” begins:

COLUMBUS, OH (AP) — History was made today in Columbus, Ohio when more than 3 million Amish poured into the city to see the American Amish Brotherhood (AAB), an organization which acts as an informal governing body for the Amish community, endorse Donald Trump for president. That number represents a significant portion of the total Amish population, which the United States Census Bureau says numbers more than 20 million men and women nationwide all pledging their vote to Trump for President. With the full force of the Amish community behind him, Donald Trump is now mathematically guaranteed to win the presidency in November.

The organization typically meets once a year and the meetings usually consist of about 300 Amish leaders who meet to discuss the challenges, such as urban sprawl, that face the community. This year, however, the organization wanted as many people in attendance as possible so they can effectively instruct all Amish men and women of legal voting age to cast their vote for the flamboyant Republican nominee.

Aside from the fact that the story originated from fake news websites, there are a few obvious red flags right off the bat.
First, there aren’t 20 million Amish people in the United States. The actual population of Amish people in the United States and Canada was 251,000 in 2012.
Second, we couldn’t find any record of a group called “American Amish Brotherhood,” so it’s unlikely that the group exists.
But, like many fake news stories, this one is actually has a kernel of truth. Although Amish people aren’t encouraged by their elders to vote, they are discouraged or forbidden from doing so, either. And a pro-Trump group has been targeting Amish voters in the swing state of Pennsylvania, the Economist reports:

TRAFFIC jams are fairly common in Intercourse, a rural hamlet in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where corn fields and rolling hills flank the winding roads. The congestion is caused by horses and buggies driven by the Amish, especially when they make left-hand turns. Lancaster County is home to more than 30,000 Amish, who shun most technology and society. They live simply—around a third of the 300,000 Amish in North America survive on the land. The rest own or work in small businesses. So it is a little jarring to see a billboard on the side of the road just a few miles outside the village urging them to vote for Donald Trump.

The billboard, which says that Mr Trump is “hard working, pro-life, family dedicated … just like YOU,” was paid for by AmishPAC, a political action committee targeting the self-segregated Amish community. Ben Walters, the PAC’s co-founder, says “every vote matters”, especially in critical swing states like Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Most Amish have never voted and have no interest in ever doing so. Their leaders tolerate the practice, but do not encourage it. Those who do vote, depending on how conservative their local church is, may be frowned upon. The Amish are not permitted to hold public office, and while they may take an interest in local elections they tend to avoid political engagement. They participate in other civic duties, like paying taxes, including income, property and sales tax. They do not receive or pay into social security as they believe it is their responsibility to look after the old. Their belief in self-sufficiency means they do not accept government subsidies.

Targeting Amish communities is an unusual strategy when it comes to presidential politics, and only time will tell if it works. But the idea that there are 20 million Amish voters waiting to tip the scales in favor of Trump on election day is false.