The people who have flocked to Donald Trump’s rallies, given him their votes and put him within striking distance of the Republican Party nomination are one of the biggest stories of the 2016 election.
They have been characterized and caricatured as “low-information voters,” angry blue collar white guys, authoritarian-loving neo-fascists, and barely closeted racists. But Trump is finding favor with a broad cross section of the conservative-leaning electorate.
While thousands of Trump fans waited to hear from their candidate recently in a city park in Fountain Hills, Ariz., we spent time with several of them to find out why they were attracted to Trump. They offered a variety of reasons, but one concern, in particular, cropped up again and again: They are sick and tired of professional politicians who do nothing but sustain the status quo.
Horsey, a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist, is a political commentator for the Los Angeles Times.
Dori Williams of Fountain Hills, Ariz., sees Trump as an antidote to what she considers President Obama’s “socialist policies.” She does wish he would tone down his provocative rhetoric, but still…
With his cute 8-month-old daughter in his arms, Jake Maggio of Mesa, Ariz., talked about his weariness with career politicians like past Republican presidential nominees Mitt Romney and John McCain. He sees Trump as a winner who will follow through on his promises, especially his pledge to build a border wall.
Theresa Hernandez offered a novel reason to support Trump: his attractive wife and kids. George Corcodel, a military veteran and the son of European immigrants, said Trump may not deport all 11 million migrants in the country illegally, but he will get rid of the bad ones and seal the border. Both Hernandez and Corcodel are from Surprise, Ariz.
Patrick Gries of Peoria, Ariz., described Trump supporters as “a powder keg” that has been waiting for a spark from someone like Trump. He feels distanced from a “political class” that only serves its own agenda.
Gregg Humphries of Gilbert, Ariz., described himself as “a voice for the anger” and feels ignored and unrepresented by what he sees as the prevailing leftward-lurching political regime. He believes Trump offers a chance to “blow the whole thing up and start again.”
Laura Facchini of Chicago emigrated from Italy as a child, and her family had to wait a year to get into the country. So she is upset with migrants who cross the border illegally and, in her view, get “welfare and free housing.” Facchini is also concerned about who might be sneaking in as refugees.
Dressed in costumes that would be branded politically incorrect on many college campuses, teenagers Andy Smith and William Bourdages of Scottsdale, Ariz., attracted lots of attention from TV reporters. Smith said extreme conservatism is polarizing, but he does not see Trump as extreme.
John Faulkner of Tacoma, Wash., complained about Obamacare. Because employers did not want to pay new healthcare costs, his daughter was unable to get full-time work at five different fast food outlets after she graduated from high school, he said.
Donna Cotter of Fountain Hills, Ariz., sees Trump as a no-nonsense candidate who will not fold to peer pressure and will do something about people who enter the country illegally.
Founder of the group Rally for L.E. (law enforcement), Nohl Rosen of Phoenix likes Trump’s support for the police. Holding a black flag with a blue stripe representing the “thin blue line,” Rosen stood watch with a 9mm pistol strapped to his leg, ready to back up the cops if protesters got out of hand.
A Trump supporter from “day one,” Michael Breton of Fountain Hills, Ariz., said he almost lost his house in the economic downturn. He is sick of politics as usual and politicians who stay in office too long.
Shane and Rachel Farrelly of Apache Junction, Ariz., have given up on Fox News, CNN and traditional news media. They get their information from an alternative site, InfoWars, run by radio host Alex Jones, a conspiracy theorist. Shane said there were many “info warriors” in the Trump crowd.