“They are fighting him the whole way, but he is changing it,” said locomotive engineer Robbie Hartwick. “He is more what the people want, not what the elites want.”
Hartwick said the GOP had been tending more liberal and wanting to give handouts to people.
“They were slipping into an area where they didn’t respect the working man,” he said. “[Trump’s] bringing it back to where the working guys actually mean something to people.”
Hartwick said former President Barack Obama didn’t care about business or people.
“Obama wanted the average American to sit at home and do nothing. And that’s not what the average American wants. The average American wants to work and be productive,” Hartwick said.
“As soon as Trump got in there and told them that the Republican Party wants people to work, and gave us something to look forward to, now everyone wants to do that—or most people.”
Hartwick, who lives near Bullhead City, Nevada, said the locomotive industry is experiencing a resurgence under Trump, after eight years of not hiring.
He said Trump epitomizes what America means: “You do what you want as long as you’re not telling somebody else they have to do it.”
“He doesn’t care about you being gay or whatever, as long as you are not asking for special compensation,” he said. “He doesn’t care who you are, what you are, but he wants you to have that opportunity—something Obama never did.”
Codee Allen, 30, who owns a restaurant in Las Vegas, supports Trump’s “business-first” agenda, as well as the tax cuts.
“I like what he’s done with the national GDP,” she said.
Allen also believes Trump is changing Republican values.
“He’s making it more inclusive. He’s a little bit more central than I think some of the candidates were,” she said. “Especially on people issues, I think he’s more friendly for the LGBT community, as well as unifying the country by making it like a team and running it like a business. I think that unified the country.”
She sees the Republican Party becoming a lot more aggressive in the next few years.
“In the past, we’ve had candidates that strayed away from issues that might not have been favorable to talk about or politically correct to talk about,” Allen said. “But now that we’re seeing that it resonates with some of the American public, maybe some of our candidates won’t be so shy to go to those issues or even attack some of the things that the liberals talk about, like some of their talking points that Trump hasn’t been shy to go for.”
Police officer Mike Mathis, 45, said Trump is “absolutely” changing the Republican Party, but more broadly, he’s showing all sides what America is capable of.
“He is the tip of the spear right now, making things happen and pushing the envelope for people to just see everything rather than put on blinders and not pay attention to the world,” Mathis said.
“He’s opened a lot of people’s eyes as to what was happening in the White House … and he’s basically cleaning things out. He’s not putting up with what was going before.”
Mathis said Trump is making the White House stronger: “By doing the things that he is doing, the economy is improving, people are more aware of what their rights are, and I think he is the voice for people who don’t have one.
“I think people are getting behind him because of that,” he said. “He is speaking out, teaching people … to have a voice. I think he shows strength, he shows leadership, he shows teamwork—with everyone that he works with—and those are core values. And independence—he’s about supporting the United States of America.”
Sonja Pollon voted for Trump in 2016 because her preferred candidate, Bernie Sanders, was ousted by Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary campaign.
“I switched from Democrat to Trump,” she said. “I voted really knowing deep down that my vote doesn’t matter because he will lose. But now, oh my God, today I would vote for him, no reservation whatsoever.”
Pollon, 65, is a retired real estate investor living in Palm Springs, California. She emigrated to the United States from Croatia in 1969.
She said Trump is shaking things up and establishment Republicans don’t like him because of that.
“He came from left field and he’s encroaching on their territory,” she said. “For so long, on either side, things do not get done. Everybody talks pretty story before the election and then nothing gets done. That’s why I think this support will only grow; because we see the things he actually promised, he’s attending to.”
Pollon said Americans should get together and help his agenda. She said he is achieving world peace. “Everybody was afraid there will be World War III before he was elected.”
“He lowered the taxes, but even more importantly is the regulations,” she said. And, as a legal immigrant, Pollon appreciates that Trump is trying to address immigration issues.
“It’s an extremely difficult problem because it hasn’t been attended to for so long.”
New Kind of Politician
Daniel C., who declined to give his last name, said he thinks Trump appeals to younger generations of conservatives, like himself.
The 28-year-old electrician from Los Angeles says Trump is a fighter.
“I think a lot of the Republican establishment have been kind of wimpy, and they take a lot of abuse, and I don’t think Trump takes it,” he said.
“He’s totally a new kind of politician. I’m very enthused about what he’s doing.”
Daniel said it resonates with him that Trump is “defending the Constitution, American exceptionalism, nationalism.”
“Working-class people just appreciate him. People that work with their hands … especially love Trump—I feel the same way. I see when construction is good, jobs are good, and it helps all of us. That’s why I’m optimistic about Trump.”
‘What This Country Needed’
Betty Risinger, 61, said she supported Trump from day one.
“I wanted someone up front, not politically correct,” she said. “My values and Trump’s values are kind of the same—we both believe in God and country. He’s fighting for ‘We the People.’ It’s not just himself.”
Risinger said Trump has to fight a lot of people to get the changes he is seeking.
“Not only the Democrats, but our own Republican Party, they need to get on board with him. He’s doing everything possible for us. Our economy’s good, you know. “He’s pushing for our jobs and pushing for us, the people, to have more money in our pockets.”
Greg Alfano, 53, said Trump has changed the GOP.
“Yeah, he’s changed the Republican Party, he’s changed the Democratic Party, he’s broken the duopoly up,” he said. “And thank God, it’s about time. It’s what this country needed.”
James, 34, a teacher’s assistant, moved to Las Vegas from New York City a month ago.
“Yes. Nationalism, that would be one word to sum it up,” he said when asked if Trump is changing the GOP.
He went on to say that the left and right have divergent values now.
“The left has just gone insane, they’re not liberals. Liberals would be former President Thomas Jefferson. He was a libertarian,” James said. “If he were alive today, he wouldn’t align himself with the left today because he doesn’t share the same values as they do. For example, he was pro-Second Amendment and the left today is not.”