“Maverick.” “Change.” “Doer.” “Different.” “Smart.” “Enterprise.” “Doesn’t Owe Anybody.” “America.”
Those were some of the words used by 10 local people to describe Donald J. Trump, the unconventional candidate they helped elect to the presidency.
Republicans, Independents and one Democrat, they came to The Palm Beach Post last night to explain why they helped put the brash billionaire, builder, brand name and reality-TV star into the White House.
We had put out an appeal to Trump voters to speak to us. More than 200 replied. Though we didn’t get the racial or ethnic diversity we would have liked, we narrowed the group to a manageable size to hear from voters who said that they had been largely ignored during the long presidential campaign.
“During the campaign I found that the mainstream media was so one-sided that I just couldn’t believe it,” said Michael Harvey, 66, of Boynton Beach. “I thought this would be an opportunity educate you as to why people don’t listen to you anymore.”
Alan Huber, 59, of Boynton Beach, said he was tired of the mainstream media portraying “anybody who was against Barack Obama’s policies is a racist, or Donald Trump is a racist.”
“We don’t have horns. We’re not racists. We’re actually among the most informed people there are,” Huber said.
They expressed deep concerns about jobs leaving America, illegal immigration and Obamacare. And they said they had great confidence that Trump would make inroads in these areas, and others, where other political leaders have failed.
They said they weren’t disturbed that Trump is shifting on some of his campaign promises — the border wall that’s now perhaps a fence, the 11 million deportations that might not occur, the reluctance to prosecute “crooked Hillary.” They view Trump as a master negotiator and his boldest campaign statements as opening gambits: he’ll attain his goals, even if it takes some modifications from his initial positions to get there.
“He’s the fastest learner I’ve ever seen in my life,” said Lee Roggenburg, 58, a financial adviser from Boca Raton.
“Donald Trump is going to run the country the way we need to run our businesses or our households,” said Patrice Boyland, 54, a self-described stay-at-home mom from Palm Beach Gardens. “In government, when something fails, they put more money towards it. He’s looking at things differently, on how to fix it — and it’s not always adding more money to the problem.”
It’s clear from these supporters that Trump will be entering the White House with a great deal of political strength — a big chunk of the American public that’s eager for him to shake things up and trusts that whatever surprises he springs on the political and media establishment, they’ll be for the better.