Trump Voters in Pennsylvania

Washington Post’s the Daily 202 has interviews a reporter conducted with Trump supporters who came to his rally and continue to love him. The more I try to understand what motivates Trump voters, the more Hillary’s “deplorables” comment seems on target, if not especially politic to have said out loud.

To me, Obama was a butt-kissing liberal. Trump is Teddy Roosevelt. He just might go in there and kick some a**,” said Paul Ambrose, 70, a retired apparel manufacturer who collects toy trains and lives by a golf course in Canonsburg, Pa. “It’s the fear factor. Kim’s kind of [pooping] his pants because Trump’s put the fear of God into him. Obama would have come and bowed. We’ve got a wildcard here. We’ve got a cowboy. He ain’t on the reservation. He just may do something. That’s why they’re coming to the table. Now lock the damn door. Order coffee and donuts. Keep the press out. And nobody leaves until a deal is done. What can go wrong?”

Ambrose added that he does not like Trump as a man but thinks he’s an incredibly effective executive. “Do I like him as a person? Hell no,” Ambrose said of Trump. “He’s disgusting. He’s obnoxious. I don’t know how his wife stands him. He’s got the worst haircut in the world. No manners. Insolent. Arrogant. Obnoxious. But he gets things done. He cut taxes. He’s telling NAFTA to go pound salt.”

Many described Trump’s Thursday night gambit to accept a meeting with Kim, which caught even his top advisers off guard, as a master stroke. The conversations offered a revealing window into why around 40 percent of Americans approve of the job he’s doing.

“He’s not just a good negotiator. He’s the best negotiator,” said Kim Shannon, 57, an ultrasound technician from Ohio, who called his decision to accept Kim’s offer “brilliant.” She downloaded “The Art of the Deal,” Trump’s 1987 book, on her Kindle and has been eager to read it. “Maybe I can learn something and help my personal finances,” she said. “He’s saved the country. It’s not done yet, but he’s going to become the greatest president to ever serve in office.”

Shannon remains as confident as ever that Trump will reverse decades of decline in the Ohio River Valley. When she was a kid in East Liverpool, Ohio, a nearby steel mill employed 6,000 people and kept the town thriving. It’s been shuttered for decades. “When I grew up, it was like Mayberry and Andy Griffith. Now it’s junkie-ville,” she said. “Everybody is in a holding pattern. We’re waiting for the factories to return, but I know they will. … For the first time in many, many years, I’m optimistic. Everything didn’t collapse at once and it will not return in one day. It’s going to take a period of years to return.”

Trump voters apparently see his obnoxious personality, but that’s part of his appeal. They believe his claims to be a great businessman and a great negotiator — despite all evidence to the contrary. The corruption and conflict of interest in the White House appears not to bother them. Nor does the turnover, the dysfunction around the Oval Office. They believe Trump can run the government the way he did his real estate business, and be a success. More to the point, they believe he can make them a success.

Our country has a long tradition of grifters and carnival barkers who convinced ordinary people to give up their hard earned money on just the same premise. Deplorable.

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