John Thompson (not his real name) is a 63-year old white male living in Denver, Colorado who works as a purchasing agent for a car dealership. He is married with three adult children—a son who lives in a suburb of Denver and two daughters who, with their husbands and children, live in Washington state.
John describes himself as a person who used to be upper middle class, but after some hard financial times, is not even middle class. “My wife and I are quite literally the poorest we’ve ever been in our 38 years of marriage,” he says. We lost two homes that we lived in, have no retirement savings at all now, and even have to borrow money occasionally.”
Denver, he says, is an area with fairly low unemployment and a good amount of building going on. After two to three years of steadily rising apartment rates, there are signs that the increase is softening a bit.
John is a Catholic, who although he doesn’t go to church on Sundays, still professes his faith and prays every day. He is a straight-shooter who doesn’t “lie, exaggerate or bullshit people.” Two tenets govern his life: The Golden Rule – I treat everyone the way I expect to be treated – and that in every cloud there is a silver lining. “I firmly believe that behind every negative event in one’s life, there is a silver lining. And even if it takes years to discover what that is, it’s there. Maybe this is hope, maybe it’s religion, but it’s how I run my life, and something I believe in very deeply.”
His main reason for voting for Donald Trump—change! John believes that at least with Donald Trump there is a possibility that there can be a change. A vote for Hillary Clinton, in his opinion would have been a vote for the status quo. And he absolutely refused to give a stamp of approval to the status quo.
He also wants to see balance on the Supreme Court. “I believe it’s important that Justice Scalia’s conservative position be maintained. Having said that, I don’t want to see the court turn overly conservative or liberal, which it will become if we have seven or more justices on either side.”
Did you vote for Donald Trump or against Hillary Clinton?
“I voted fifty-one percent for Donald Trump, and forty-nine percent against Hillary Clinton. I do believe that she is a crook. I strongly believe that the Clinton Foundation is ‘pay for play’ and I think that should be investigated. So for me to pull the lever for her would blow my mind. She’s a liar and a crook, and not to be trusted. I was afraid of how she’d screw things up. I don’t know if Donald Trump is also a liar, but there’s a chance that he’s not.”
Who did you vote for last time?
“It kills me to admit it, but I voted for Mitt Romney. I did not vote for Barack Obama either time. The only time I voted for a non-Republican was when Ross Perot ran, and it was for much the same reason—change. The gridlock in our government cannot be allowed to continue. Regretfully, that’s been the status quo of both parties.”
Did you vote for Donald Trump because you like him as a person, or you like his policies or both?
“He is hopefully an agent of change. I think he’s probably a pretty personable guy. In the business world he tends to be an asshole. I don’t know if he and I would necessarily like each other. What will be critical to find out in the next twelve months is whether or not he’s a leader.
This country has been on the wrong track for the past ten to twenty years, with the lack of true growth. President Obama’s two terms saw the weakest economic recovery in decades, and the national debt just keeps growing. The debt could be the downfall of this country. Things have to be different.
We also need progress on infrastructure. There is a chance that as president Donald Trump can have influence in that area. So, my three top reasons to vote for Donald Trump are change, breaking the gridlock, and being a leader. Donald Trump has leadership in the palm of his hand. God knows if he’ll be able to make something of it or not.”
What are you hoping will change, and how?
“The gridlock in the country is number one. I believe it is crippling the country. Donald Trump has a herculean task in front of him, especially as it relates to gridlock and economic growth. And even though I’m a recipient of Obamacare, I think that needs to change. Overall, with one small exception, it is working great for my me. My wife and I receive a large subsidy, but I’m still not a proponent of government mandated and controlled insurance. I see the end-run of President Obama to make insurance government-run and to eliminate competition. I’d like to see more competition between insurance companies. Healthy competition is good for America.
The greatest president in my lifetime has been Ronald Regan. He was a real leader, a unifier. I could care less whether he was a Republican or a Democrat. Presidents Obama, Bush and Clinton were neither of those things. “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” That’s what’s good for America. We need to get behind things that are good for this country, and it’s my wish and prayer that we do.
The first twelve months of Donald Trump’s presidency will be critical. In two years there will be congressional elections, and both parties will start running in a year. So this first year of his term is incredibly important.
I do think that Donald Trump is quick to fly off the handle, and it bothers me that he tweets instead of using good old press conferences. The uproar over his tweet that people who burn the flag should get a year in jail or lose their citizenship was deserved. This is protected by the right of free speech. It doesn’t appear to me that he has a trusted advisor before he acts impetuously.
Another important issue is abortion. My position on abortion is two-fold. I am absolutely pro-life, but more so than that—and to my very core—I feel it’s ultimately a woman’s right to choose. If Donald Trump tries to change Roe vs. Wade I would not like it one bit.”
What would you like people who did not vote for Donald Trump to understand?
“I would like them to understand that there is a chance he can be a change agent, even if he is a jerk sometimes. ‘Do you like the way things are going in this country,’ I want to ask them. There is a lot of hope that Donald Trump can be different. I think it’s that hope that caused him to win the election.”
If someone from another party would make the changes you want, would you consider voting for him/her?
“Yes. I don’t think Donald Trump is a true Republican. The party was just the magic carpet ride of choice that he used to get him to this point. I’ve already said I voted for Ross Perot for the same reasons I voted for Donald Trump. I would look at a third party, but I’d also look to see if I thought that party had a chance to win. I didn’t think he had a chance at the start, but as time progressed I began to see that maybe he did.”
Where do you get your health insurance? And what do you think about how well that is working?
My wife and I have health insurance through Kaiser with Obamacare. We are heavily subsidized. We used to pay $100 a month for both of us; this year it’s gone up to $300 a month. Neither one of us cares much for Kaiser, we’d prefer a smaller family practice, but we couldn’t afford the premiums for those plans.
One unforeseen problem with the subsidy is that it caused problems with the IRS, which thinks we are being over-subsidized, and is after us to repay a huge amount of money to them. So even though Obamacare has benefited my wife and I, we aren’t big fans of it.
What do you think about the anti-Trump demonstrations that are occurring?
“I’m very negative about them. There weren’t any demonstrations when Barack Obama won. I’ve heard about schools providing grief counseling, and I think that’s crap. Your person lost and our person won. The demonstrations are very immature. You are blocking highways and in some cases vandalizing property. Go see someone and learn how to grow up and get over it. Your disappointment doesn’t give you the right to act inappropriately.”
Do you think hate crimes have increased? If so, what do you think about that?
“I don’t know. My guess is probably. Hate crime is absolutely repugnant to me. If anything we should have learned by now is that we all need to get along with everyone. Hate crime cannot be endorsed, and incredibly strong sentences should be imposed.”
Do you find any common ground with your friends/relatives who voted differently from you?
“Yes, the common ground is that the person I voted for is in office and the person you voted for is not in office, and what do you want to do next? Accept it. I’ve heard that families didn’t spend Christmas together because of this. That’s ridiculous. I have no problem that you voted for Hillary Clinton, though I will admit scratching my head a little wondering why.”