Just one week ago, Donald J. Trump stunned Americans by defeating Hillary Clinton in the race to the White House, becoming the 45th president of the United States of America.
Almost every poll, pundit, and politician estimated Clinton would defeat the Republican nominee, leaving millions of Americans dumbfounded when Trump won.
To see what the media might have missed while covering Trump’s path to victory, Independent Journal Review spoke with blue-collar workers to help gain new perspective on the matter.
Randy Rippie, who moved from Minnesota to North Carolina three years ago, is a welder and machinist by trade.
Rippie explained he’s run his own company for the past eight years, working with “just about every blue-collar worker out there.”
When asked about the media’s portrayal of his fellow workers, he said the majority of media has “overlooked” them completely:
“The average blue-collar worker likes to work hard, play hard and better themselves every day. We are smart enough to see all the widgets coming in from other countries while hearing of all the cut backs here in the states.”
Rippie added that Trump’s trade deals were a huge “selling point” during the election, especially for people in his industry.
According to ABC News, Trump has long touted withdrawing the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), arguing he’d renegotiate NAFTA terms to get a “better deal” for U.S. workers.
— ABC News (@ABC) November 11, 2016
But more than trade, Rippie explained that blue-collar workers support Trump’s views on the Second Amendment:
“Blue-collar people like guns. 90 percent of my contacts like to hunt, shoot and keep their families safe. Yes, some people in the media like to downplay the actual intelligence of blue-collar workers. I have been awarded the opportunity to work with the smartest people in the world in their trades.
The unions are also starting to vote to the right because of gun control. My long-time friend is very pro-union and always voted to the left, not this time around.”
Trump’s website presents his multiple pro-gun stances, including that he believes the Constitutional right to conceal-carry should be legal in all 50 states.
Overall, Rippie voted for Donald Trump because he felt the billionaire businessman could create a better life for his family:
“Blue-collar workers are the backbone of this country. We like to play with cool machines, build amazing things, melt things together, hit things with hammers, measure to 10 thousands of a inch and create things that make peoples’ lives better. Just like white-collar workers, we try to better ourselves, learn new things and do what’s best for our families and future generations. That can’t be done with all our products being built in other countries — it just doesn’t work that way. Trade deals have been made; it’s time to let someone else with a different background than the average politician take a good hard look at those deals.”
Allan Lardieri, a coal miner and U.S. veteran from West Virginia, agreed that battleground states in 2016, which historically leaned to the left, had flipped after years of electing Democrats.
Lardieri explained a possible reason for the shift:
Image Credit: Allen Lardieri/Independent Journal Review
“Battleground states like Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan are typically Union (organization labor), but what is happening is the realization of no representation from the Democrats and these Unions who are nothing more than political arms for the Democrats.
Democrats have been overly reliant for that particular block vote. For the most part, middle, working-class people are more for traditional family values and Democrats have completely abandoned that to pursue a more progressive agenda.”
Lardieri has been outspoken about his dislike for Hillary Clinton, particularly concerning her comments about the coal industry:
“One thing I can’t understand is how a president of the United States can proudly say they will bring an American industry to its knees and be happy about that. We are real families at the end of their insane policies. We are not numbers on paper, we have real lives and are American citizens. How can they proudly say they will put us out of work and have us lose everything we have worked for hard for.”
In May, Trump told a crowd of miners in West Virginia that he would reopen coal mines if he’s elected, something experts say is “highly unlikely.”
Rodrigo Lomba, a legal immigrant who works for a freight company in Pennsylvania, previously told Independent Journal Review he supported the GOP nominee for not “using” illegal immigrants to score votes:
“It seems like every time politicians try to make it ‘fair’ to one side, they make very unfair to a whole group of people. Of course I feel empathy toward a family that is going through a rough time and there are kids that are starving, but the question is: Does that make it okay to do something illegal simply because things are bad?
And can we honestly say that EVERY illegal immigrant was going through a rough time when they decided to stay here past their visa’s expiration date or tried to cross the border, sometimes putting the lives of Border Patrol officers in real danger?”
Lomba recently explained that he believes the media were not worried about “reporting” the news; rather, they were cheering on Clinton to win:
“Just like a lot of liberals, they were 100 percent convinced by their own narrative that Hillary was going to win, when they should’ve been looking at facts such as the middle-class feeling like they were left behind by politicians.
They listened to their own narrative. When it came to immigration, for example, they did not even care about asking LEGAL immigrants that worked hard and earned their visas and green cards how THEY felt about illegals.”
In a new “60 Minutes” interview which aired Sunday, President-elect Trump told CBS’s Lesley Stahl that he’d deport or incarcerate 2 to 3 million illegal immigrants who had criminal records as president.
Lomba said he’s hesitant to trust the media after they continue to paint Trump supporters like him as “racist, ignorant homophobic bigots that hate immigrants,” when in reality he explained “they are working-class people.”