Trump nation eagerly awaits the greatness he promised

AP News
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Posted: Jan 19, 2017 4:18 PM
Trump nation eagerly awaits the greatness he promised

WASHINGTON (AP) — President-elect Donald Trump was propelled into power by an army of supporters fed up with the status quo and eager for change.

Now, it's time for him to deliver.

As many across the country look apprehensively toward the future, Trump's biggest backers remain elated by his surprise victory and are keenly awaiting his inauguration Friday. But as they look forward to his presidency, they are expressing a mix of hope, excitement and trepidation as the man who promised so much on the campaign stage now faces the challenges of governing.

"I'm thrilled, absolutely thrilled," said Paula Pierce, a substitute teacher and Trump supporter who lives in Manchester, New Hampshire, which delivered Trump his first primary win. "And worried for him as well because I don't want to see Washington swallow him up."

For Trump's supporters, his campaign was about more than just politics. Trump promised to make their lives better by bringing jobs back from overseas, reviving struggling manufacturing sectors and fundamentally changing the way the U.S. engages with the rest of the world. He said out loud the things they were thinking, giving them new permission to express politically incorrect views.

In White Haven, Pennsylvania, Kathy Baxter, a lifelong Democrat, changed her party registration so she could vote for Trump in the Republican primary.

Baxter, who is retired, said she "can't wait" until Trump "gets in there and gets going." She's eager for him to get to work overhauling the nation's health care system, among other promises.

But for Baxter, like others, the fight for Trump didn't end with the election. She sees scrutiny of Trump during the transition period — including allegations of Russian interference in the election to help him win — as a last-gasp effort to prevent him from taking office.

"They're just trying to get him out. And it's not going to happen," she said.

Pierce said she was "out of my mind" with excitement the night of the election.

She dismissed criticism that Trump's Cabinet picks, which include numerous billionaires and corporate executives, defy his "drain the swamp" election pledge.

"I think putting business people in there is a good call," said Pierce. "What is he going to do? Put politicians in there?"

But Pierce also worries about how Trump will strike the right balance between sticking to his guns and learning to get along with various Washington factions.

"I hope he maintains his chutzpah, but I hope he tones it down enough that he can get along and make us proud," she said. "I can't imagine him turning into a fink. And I would be devastated if he did that," she added. "That would be such a devastating, destructive force."

Trump made a litany of promises in the campaign, from putting an end to illegal immigration and stopping the flow of street drugs into the country to re-opening shuttered factories and further cutting crime. He said he could provide better health care for less money, get Mexico to pay for a wall along the southern border and put coal miners back to work, despite changing market forces. In many cases, experts have said that Trump will face serious challenges he's failed to acknowledge sufficiently, including the effect of automation on factory jobs and the consequences of higher priced goods.

Eric Sandoval, 39, a Trump supporter who runs a tour company in Denver, Colorado, said he's "getting really excited to turn a new corner" with Trump — but is realistic about what Trump can do.

He doesn't expect the new president, for instance, to go through with his campaign pledge to slap a 35 percent tariff on companies that move American jobs overseas. And he doubts Trump will actually deliver on his promise to build an impenetrable concrete wall along the length of the southern border because of cost.

"There's going to be some sort of border control. I don't think it's going to be a 60-foot wall," he said. "I don't think that it's going to be the wall that people chanted and had pictured in their head. I don't think that's going to happen." And for Sandoval, that's OK.

He compared Trump's election promises to the starting offers in business negotiations in which both sides bring unrealistic demands to the table and then settle on a middle ground.

"If you took verbatim everything a politician or someone running for office promises or their platform, you're foolish or you're naive," he said. "If you understand politics, it just doesn't work like that. You want a dictator for our president?"

But Nancy Fraize, a cleaning lady who lives in Manchester and spent hours during the election promoting Trump on Twitter, said that she's counting on him to follow through on his pledges to end illegal immigration and end the flow of drugs that have ravaged her city, among other pledges.

"I want him to follow what he says, because we're so used to being lied to," she said.

And if he doesn't, Fraize said, she is willing to use her newfound political voice against him: "I will make him keep his word."

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Follow Colvin on Twitter at https://twitter.com/colvinj