Politics

Trump Voters Explain Why He's Doing Great, Actually

"He's pissing off everybody with his big brass balls."
Lia Kantrowitz
illustrated by Lia Kantrowitz
April 29, 2017, 1:23pm
Image by Lia Kantrowitz

The mainstream media wants you to believe Trump's first 100 days in office have been a disaster. Courts have repeatedly blocked his immigration executive orders, using his own tweets as evidence that he wanted to instate a Muslim ban. His first attempt at repealing and replacing Obamacare was a comedy of errors. He's flip-flopped on many of his foreign policy stances, recently telling the Wall Street Journal, "Hey, I'm a nationalist and a globalist." This week he even admitted to Reuters that he thought the job of president would be easier than it is.

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But most of that sort of analysis of Trump's first 100 days is written by people who didn't want him to be president to begin with—a category that includes me. So I reached out to a variety of Trump voters to see how they saw his presidency. (Since supporting Trump can be controversial in various workplaces and communities, several subjects asked not to be identified by their full names.) Here's what they told me:

Mo, a fifty-something healthcare professional in Tennessee

VICE: Which of Trump's campaign platforms are most important to you? Do you think he's made good on them?
Mo: Trump provided a list of over 20 names that he said he would choose from for the Supreme Court. He kept that promise. He has more than three and a half years to go in this term. I think the big government status quo mindset of politicians, including Republicans, are holding him back.

Something this administration did that I am very thankful for is the first-ever arrest for female genital cutting. The physician involved is believed to have been doing this since 2004. The law has been on the books since 1996. But it is the Trump administration when the first arrest is made.

What's the most important thing you want Trump to accomplish in his presidency?
Another conservative, constitutional Supreme Court justice appointment…or two. Plus more conservative justices in the lower courts.

As a healthcare professional, what do you make of his healthcare policy?
I don't fully know Trump's healthcare policy. I don't know if he fully knows it since what should be done and what can be done is not yet settled. I agree that ACA needs to go. It is already in the insurance death spiral that was predicted years ago by its earliest critics. People are insulated from the true cost of healthcare by health insurance and health prices are inflated to pay for those who receive care but do not/can not pay for it. Healthcare is not a right. We have a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We do not have a right to the goods and services of others.

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Have any of Trump's decisions in the first 100 days made you disillusioned with his presidency?
No. I do not regret at all that Hillary [Clinton] is not our president.

Chris, a 23-year-old bank teller in Vermont

VICE: Why did you vote for Trump?
Chris: I voted for Trump to weaken the moderate left. After the primary, the mood was that Hillary was going to easily win office. A Clinton victory would have set back the left wing of the Democratic Party for years, at the very least until 2020. Having won both the primary and the general election by wide margins, the party establishment would have had an excuse to sweep Bernie [Sanders]'s "revolution" under the rug, never to be seen again.

How do you feel about the mass protests against Trump?
They're a little too focused on social justice for my taste. Don't get me wrong, those issues are important, but the whole point of making sure Hillary lost was to promote socialism. The Democratic Party already has a solid set of positions on things like minority rights, women's rights, and abortion. Where's the march for healthcare, or Occupy Wall Street part two?

Which of Trump's campaign platforms are most important to you?
Infrastructure. That's one of the few issues where he and the left overlap, and I'm hoping his own party won't derail his planned infrastructure bill when it comes up for a vote.

Also, healthcare. The ACA made Democrats complacent. If Trump destroys healthcare then single-payer will grow in popularity. You can already see polls where support for it is over 50 percent just from the THREAT of the GOP messing with the ACA.

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What do you make of the president's use of Twitter?
"Weaponized Shitposting," the #1 tool of the Australian army and Internet Trolls everywhere. A lot of people underestimate what Trump accomplished by winning over the "Alt-Right" and generally gaining a huge internet following.

April 29 marks Trump's 100th day in office. Do you think he's met his campaign promises? Do you believe he will?
He absolutely has not, and he won't, because he's being held back by his own indifference. All indications so far are that Trump finds actual governance to be boring and he leaves most of the work to rival factions of advisors, many of whom are in the political establishment and don't care about his "agenda."

Spencer Raitt-Forrest, a 23-year-old operating supervisor in New York City

VICE: Do you think Trump has met his campaign promises?
Spencer Raitt-Forrest: I think he's met more campaign promises than pretty much any other president in recent history. He is trying his best, I think his healthcare reform is garbage, and that's why it didn't pass. I'm happy the first round didn't pass. But if you ever read The Art of the Deal, that's all according to plan.

Have any of Trump's decisions in the first 100 days made you disillusioned with his presidency?
No. With exception of his fair trade policy, history shows that this will not work. [Herbert] Hoover tried it, he failed miserably.

Has Donald Trump's presidency thus far made you confident that he will make America great again?
I personally think America was always great. He has done a lot to reduce regulation on business, and as one who has studied economics in depth believe that any barriers of entry that are reduced are for the betterment of the economy. He's fulfilled the promises he could without Congress, and is working towards solutions for the ones he has not met. 100 days is really only a little over three months, that isn't much time at all considering the vast history and governance of the United States.

Jonathan, a 35-year-old insurance agent from Missississippi

VICE: Do you think Trump has met his campaign promises?
Jonathan: I would need a refresh on the promises. I'm sure there are more than 100. But so far, I think he's doing as well as I expected. He's pissing off everybody with his big brass balls and the economic numbers and the fact that Kim Jong Un is thinking twice about starting some shit is pretty great.

Do you think the press has covered Donald Trump dishonestly?
The press is doing exactly what he wants. He gives them stuff to talk about. His incompetence, his hair, his lack of regard for pomp and manners. I'm almost certain some coverage of it is dishonest. He's went out of his way to piss them all off. They are angry and when you can make someone angry you have (at least a little) control over them. Which is more than he had 98 days ago.

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Have any of Trump's decisions in the first 100 days made you disillusioned with his presidency?
The whole Russian thing bothers me more than anything. Everything I've seen makes it look systemic. I came up with a theory that after failing at business ventures for years, he borrowed some Russian funds and now he's just trying to clear the debt before.

What's the most important thing you want Trump to accomplish in his presidency?
I want socialized healthcare because my divorce dictates that I'm responsible for my kids' medical expenses. I want him to call the Democrats' bluff on the government shutdown. I want him to fix all the military cuts Obama made. And I want him to campaign on the wall platform in 2020.

The GOP healthcare plan is more or less the opposite of socialized healthcare—people on the left like Bernie Sanders are actually the ones advocating for that. Trump's healthcare plan would make healthcare way, way more expensive and give people less government subsidies. Were you aware of that? Does that change the way you understand Trump? Did you think he would socialize healthcare?
Nah, he won't socialize healthcare. I never thought he would. I would like it though.

Jason, a 32-year-old digital marketer in Oregon

VICE: Which of Trump's campaign platforms are most important to you?
Jason: The biggest issues for me were staying out of the Middle East—Hillary wanted a no fly zone over Syria—and getting rid of judicial activists and putting originalists on the Supreme Court.

Have any of Trump's decisions in the first 100 days made you disillusioned with his presidency?
The two biggest things are Syria and Obamacare. He campaigned on ending nation-building, he can't get involved in regime change in Syria. Obamacare is what flipped me from a Democrat to whatever I am now, so seeing Trump screw it up is disappointing. He needs to either leave it alone until it collapses and forces Democrats to give them votes, or repeal it outright and force Democrats to give them votes. The "let's try to get as much through reconciliation as we can" plan is stupid.

What's the most important thing you want Trump to accomplish in his presidency?
Do not use our military to force regime change in Syria or any other country. No foreign wars.

Has Donald Trump's presidency thus far made you confident that he will make America great again?
I do not trust Trump. His actions on immigration, regulatory reform, DAPL/KeystoneXL, Gorsuch and his tax proposal have given me a small amount of hope that maybe by 2020 I will trust him. I never bought into any of the MAGA stuff, so I can't speak to that. What I can say is that I have absolutely no regrets voting for him over Hillary.

These interviews have been condensed and edited for clarity. Follow Eve Peyser on Twitter.