Why you should care
Because they helped elect Trump — and could again in three years.
A year ago almost exactly to the day, I was sitting in a hazy Tampa bar, as red, white and blue streamers fell around me and on Bev Minardi, a real estate agent who had staked her time, treasure and, in many cases, friendships, on the election of Donald Trump.
That night, her faith was rewarded, despite all the conventional wisdom (not to mention polling) suggesting such a candidate could not become president of the United States. And while polls again show Trump’s favorability ratings lagging below 40 percent nationally, many of his die-hard supporters still feel the way Minardi did that night. As the first anniversary of his election approaches, we asked several Trump voters for their reflections.
Denise Galvez, 42
Owner of a marketing and public relations firm in Miami, Florida
I’m disappointed big-time in Congress for not doing anything about health care. I agree that just repealing isn’t enough; there has to be a plan. I want him to get back on health care. People are now really worried with the enrollments ending. Health care is so expensive. I’m a mother of three kids, married with a husband, and that’s our biggest bill — not our mortgage, our health care.
But Trump is one person. He can set the tone, but he can’t make the laws. He keeps putting it on them: OK, do something about dreamers. OK, do something about health care. Right now, I’m more p—-ed off at Republicans in Congress.
I think that you have to put so much more effort to get the real news. You have social media blasting everything all the time, and people rely on that. What I try to do is get all perspectives, but that’s super time-consuming. Who has that much time? Instead of everyone taking sides on the tax plan, why doesn’t anyone just explain it to me? To me, that’s the fake news — that nobody is reporting unbiased information.
David Parkhill, 21
Business student at Ohio University
I am still on the Trump train. My biggest complaint is that he says some things that are stupid — and I wish he would just stop that. But I was looking at an article in [The Washington Examiner] where Ben Carson was quoted: “I’m glad that Trump is drawing all the fire so I can get stuff done.” A lot of the rhetoric he uses is just fuel to the fire.
We’ve been divided for a while. And I think it’s a fair statement to say that Trump hasn’t necessarily actively tried to unify the country. But at the same time, I’m not sure he’s taking steps in the direction of division. A kid today told me he’s not a Republican because racism is ingrained in the party, and he could never see himself buying into that. I don’t think there’s racism ingrained in the party. But a lot of people who happened to come out of the woodwork happened to be racist. That sucks. I don’t want to be a part of a party people think is racist. I don’t want to be part of a party [whose] candidate for president was endorsed by David Duke, the [former] grand wizard of the KKK. But people blow that up: What if it’s 1, 2, 3 percent of the party that is potentially racist? And they exclude the 95 percent of us [who] aren’t racist.
In 2020, I wouldn’t be scared of Elizabeth Warren. She’s far too left. I don’t know much about Cory Booker. I’ll tell you what: Joe Biden. And I cannot believe he didn’t run for president last year. Because I bet the farm he would have won. Just because of how popular Obama was — and he’s Grandpa Joe. How can you hate Joe Biden? Yeah, I’ll tell ya, if Joe Biden is still around, Joe Biden scares me.
Travis Angry, 44
Motivational writer and speaker in Peoria, Arizona
I’ve been a U.S. veteran since 2003 after returning from Operation Iraqi Freedom. The most important thing to me was improving care for veterans. The other thing central to me was the economy. The last issue: the building of our military — we’ve done a lot of cutbacks. I have friends in active duty who don’t have the equipment they need. Since he’s been elected, he has exceeded my expectations on all three points. He signed the VA accountability act. His VA secretary, David Shulkin, has been a breath of fresh air. And with the economy, the stock market has been consistently high.
I love that he stood up for our flag. I served and wore that uniform. There are ways you can protest, fight for equality, but those stadiums they are in are taxpayer-funded. So to me, you cannot thumb your nose at the flag. He shouldn’t have said “sons of bitches.” I don’t look at it as racial. But my sergeant major used to say: “Your words help, or they don’t help.” That did not help.
Phalen Kuckuck, 23
Republican operative in Charleston, West Virginia
Most interesting to me definitely is his economic policy, job creation and regulatory reform. In order to solve a lot of the cultural problems, you have to put people back to work. It goes back to the mantra: Idle hands do the devil’s work. If you put the economy first, everybody benefits.
His speech at the United Nations surprised me — it struck me as really presidential. Everyone is saying we’re being laughed at. But I would argue we’re back to being a player at the world stage, whereas the Obama administration, particularly in foreign policy, didn’t stand up for American exceptionalism.
Is he a unifying president? I was hoping you weren’t going to ask that. But I would say yes. Because there are people now who have a voice. Some of his rhetoric is troublesome. At times, he can be purposefully divisive to mess with the media, make headlines or get what he wants talked about. But it’s all to the end goal of lower taxes, less abortion, more freedom. At the end of the day, I think these are good things.
Rick Hornsby, 52
Skydiving operator in Aruba, Dutch Caribbean
I was born and raised in South Florida, the son of a Cuban immigrant, and served my country proudly as a member of the United States Marines. I was a retired law enforcement officer, having served the citizens of Florida for over 20 years. Trump will cut my business taxes in half, where I can have more money to reinvest in my business and hire more employees. You cannot tax yourself into prosperity, and socialism doesn’t work either. He has strengthened our military and has given the power back into the hands of our law enforcement officers, who risk their lives daily to protect us from evil.
He does not act “presidential” because that’s what got us in the trouble that our country is in today. [Sens.] Bob Corker and Jeff Flake are leaving and now taking shots at the president, which says a lot about their sense of loyalty, credibility and morals.
Doug Brant, 71
Store owner in Lucas, Kansas
I haven’t changed on my support for the ideas of what he’s trying to do. But his approach, it sounds like he just pops off whatever is at the top of his head. But he is trying to clear the swamp. I’m still a supporter. He’s really got the economy going with what he says he’s going to do. But if he’s not going to get health care, if he’s not going to get tax reform, it could go the other way. And then his credibility will suffer.
Gov. [Sam] Brownback cut all our taxes. And our state just kept losing money and money, and we’re literally broke. Because the ideas didn’t work. They took taxes off small businesses, which really helps us. But it didn’t help bring in more business. That was the whole idea: to bring more business in because we had lower taxes. And I didn’t hire another person, because I was a small enough business I didn’t need it. Nationally, though, if we cut taxes, I think we would be better off. You can’t please everybody. But you give people more money in their pockets, naturally they’ll get out and do more.
Miriam Cepeda, 26
Graduate student from McAllen, Texas
I’m a historian. I see life through a cyclical, historical lens. Many of my ideas reflect the book The Fourth Turning by William Strauss and Neil Howe. Basically, we’re at this pivotal point where our national dialogue is tense. We’re looking for an outlet. Our social mood at this moment is tense, is weak. We’re looking for a “daddy-figure” who we can run to. Who will take care of our country’s problems and be strong for us.
Our society has begun to decline, it’s been this way for a while. You have this loss of self-identity, of patriotism and nationalism. Trump talks about the issues, whether it’s border security, terrorist attacks, the opioid epidemic. And once you’re able to point out the problem, you’re able to move forward toward a solution. Trump was willing to. There is a distrust in societal institutions. And once we’re able to break them down, which Trump is doing with “drain the swamp,” we’re able to build them again and come out of this era into a stronger America.