Throughout the fall, we’ve been running articles in a series called “The Voters.” It was about the different constituencies, demographics and people who made up our complex electorate. Tuesday, voters went to the polls and elected Donald Trump, and it got me thinking about some of the voters I profiled in the series.
After Trump’s win, I got back in touch with them and asked for their thoughts on the election. I’ve lightly edited their responses.
Realtor in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
I met Abid, 48, at Friday services at the Central Mosque of Charleston, where she worships and runs the Sunday school. After immigrating from Pakistan two decades ago and raising three children with her husband, she worried about Trump’s attacks on Muslim Americans, but also said she would be happy to host him at the mosque and teach him about their faith.
“Last night’s election was a nail-biter. It was definitely difficult to watch. The results were surprising, not just for us personally, but for all Americans nationwide.
It is definitely scary to think about our future in this country, especially as Muslim immigrants. We came to this country to gain freedom and live freely in an inclusive America. Regardless of the outcome, I have faith in the system and hope that the values of inclusiveness and freedom will continue to be a foundation for America.
We did what we could. We went out and voted and brought others along to voice their opinions. However, I still respect and accept the outcome. I just hope that Donald Trump will be a leader and president for all of America including minorities, all races and all religions, and that he will work towards promoting unity and healing the divide within this nation.”
Retiree and mother in Level Green, Pennsylvania
When I first spoke with Demarco, 66, she was thinking of not voting in 2016, citing the “volatility” of the Republican nominee. But by the time we spoke a month before the election, she decided to vote for Trump, feeling his later appearances were more level-headed — and that Clinton was definitely not someone she wanted in office.
“I was thrilled to pieces she didn’t win. I just have such a strong dislike for Hillary Clinton. I believe him entirely. She’s the one I don’t believe. I never believed anything that came out of Hillary’s mouth. I truly believe he’s going to be the best for the country, and not just for rural white people … The media insinuated that only dumb white people vote for Trump, and it’s not true.
I think — I hope — that Trump was being truthful during his campaign. I think he was very open about what he does and what he believes in. He wasn’t my first choice. But I hope he’s genuine.”
Lawyer and newly elected member of the City Council in San Jose, California
This summer, Diep and I met at a Vietnamese restaurant in San Jose, the city where he’d recently been elected to the City Council in a vote that resulted in a final win by just 12 votes. He suggested I order bun cha, a dish President Obama ate while visiting Hanoi with Anthony Bourdain. A Republican who helped campaign for Obama, the 32-year-old spent election night at viewing parties where even Republicans were not elated.
“In a word, I’m gobsmacked. In my own race and in other campaigns I’ve worked on, I’ve come to believe that it is the personal connection with voters that win them over.
Hillary Clinton, despite having A-list surrogates around her, could not energize a room by herself … The “beer test” is a powerful thing. In my adult life, Al Gore failed it, John Kerry failed it, Mitt Romney failed it, and Hillary Clinton failed it.
The national election put a damper on many of the election night parties I went to here in San Jose. Even at the party for a Republican candidate, we were lamenting. My heart sank when I heard Trump took Wisconsin and got to 270 votes. I pulled over into a pho restaurant to have some “comfort food” and watch the Trump acceptance speech.
After listening to him, I am at least optimistic. Trump did a 180 and did not sound at all like the blowhard he was on the campaign. He was conciliatory and told his detractors and the world that he was ready to work in partnership. Perhaps Trump is a genius after all who just did what he needed to to win but who will govern from the center. We shall see.”
You can read all of the articles in “The Voters” series here.