Fed up with Washington and feeling left behind, supporters of Republican Donald Trump upended the U.S. presidential race, electing a political newcomer they say offers the country a shot at dramatic change.
Once dismissed by Trump’s Democratic rival Hillary Clinton as “deplorables,” supporters interviewed on Tuesday shrugged off his late-night tweeted insults, allegations against him of sexual misconduct and dire warnings from many in the Republican establishment that the businessman-turned-reality-television-star would throw U.S. economic and foreign policy into disarray.
The economy, terrorism and healthcare ranked as the top three concerns facing Americans casting ballots in Tuesday’s election, according to an early reading from the Reuters/Ipsos Election Day poll of about 35,000 people.
“The freedom-loving Americans pushed back against the elites and the globalists. They might win in the long run, but we’re not dead yet,” said Andrew Dye, 48, of Dexter, Michigan.
“I think this big country is getting a little too far left a little too quickly and some people finally woke up and said enough,” said Dye, a partner in a small management consulting firm.
Tom Kipp, 53, an architect also of Nashville, said he voted for Trump because “we need somebody in there not beholden to anyone.”
Others found Trump’s promise to build a wall on the southern border with Mexico appealing.
“Last-minute decision: I changed my mind to Trump,” said Lisa Ciafone, 48, of Madeira Beach, Florida, citing her concerns about illegal immigration and the rising costs of health insurance. “It made me lean towards Trump.”
Vicki DeLira, 54, a dental hygienist from Schererville, Indiana, grew up a Democrat but voted for Trump because it was time for change even if it means “a little bit of chaos.”
“It will be a little different atmosphere for a non-politician to be in the White House,” DeLira said. “But I think there’s enough politicians around him to help round them out.”