Trump Backers Focused on the Economy

Some feel candidate got short shrift from moderators

“Bring back jobs from China and India,” said Maria Markova, 55, between sips of canned cola and bites of pasta at the Trump watch party at his Manchester, New Hampshire HQ.  Sentiments like these were echoed around the room from other Trump backers who’d gathered to watch their candidate take on rivals in his first presidential debate in Cincinnati.

“The economy is my number one concern,” said Markova, a professor originally from Bulgaria who teaches for several online universities.  “I researched Mr. Trump, and I feel that he focuses more on what he wants to do, and not on slamming Obama, like all the other candidates,” she said.

Her neighbor Tori, 43, also said the economy is the number one lens through which she evaluates the field. “We have got to get out of debt,” she stated firmly. “Trump can lead us to do that. He’s been successful as a businessman. I do worry about his candor,” she laughed, “but he is both startling and refreshing. He is vocal about supporting our military, which is very important. I am deeply religious, and our moral choices mean a lot to me. He seems sincere.”

Jorge Simoes, a 47 year old business owner originally from Portugal, commented during the first commercial break, “This country needs a change. Trump speaks from the heart. He does have a strategy and specific plans; he’s just not sharing them yet. A good businessman never shows his cards.” When asked his second choice for a GOP nominee? “Trump again,” he said with a grin.

Denise and Sid Bowdidge of Bedford, New Hampshire, share a blended family of grown kids and own their own business. “Trump is definitely serious about the nomination this time around,” Denise said. “People don’t take him seriously because he is a ‘brand.’ Hey – salespeople are leaders too – why can’t you be both a salesman and a leader?” Denise’s second choice for a Republican candidate is Carly Fiorina. “After her performance tonight, I’m interested,” she said.

Sid and Denise Bowdidge
Sid and Denise Bowdidge

Dennis and Donna Keefe of Dracut, Massachusetts, ages 58 and 64, are ardent Trump supporters, and Dennis is active on several blogs each night pleading Trump’s case. “He will be the best jobs President we’ve had in fifty years,” he said adamantly. “I have seen his tax plan, and he will put more money in our pockets. Illegal workers have de-regulated America’s wages, and he’ll fix that with a tough immigration policy.”

Dennis and Donna Keene
Dennis and Donna Keefe

As the debate began, the overhead lights in the campaign office went down and attention turned to the floor-to-ceiling screen. The crowd booed loudly at the first question posed by moderator Chris Wallace: Would all the candidates take a pledge not to go third-party should they not receive the nomination, but instead support the Republican party – and its nominee? And, if anyone was unwilling to do so, could they raise their hand?

“Unfair,” someone yelled from the back.

Dismay turned to glee when Trump was the lone hand raised after Wallace’s question. The audience cheered.
Boos and cheers continued to rise from the Trump supporters throughout the debate – boos when Trump was questioned by co-moderator Meghan Kelly about his past treatment of women (comedian and former “The View” host Rosie O’Donnell, specifically) and hearty laughter and cheers at many of Trump’s answers.
“He is entertaining, even if sometimes not so informative,” Natalya Orlando a 31 year old investment banker stage-whispered. “But I’m all in. He’s got this,” she continued.

After the debate ended, the lights went up. Many in the crowd of fifty or so attendees were angry what they perceived as Trump’s unfair treatment during the two-hour debate.

After the debate ended, the lights went up. Many in the crowd of fifty or so attendees were angry what they perceived as Trump’s unfair treatment during the two-hour debate.

“Those moderators were horrible,” Dennis Keefe railed, slapping a hand to his forehead. “The number one candidate in the polls and that’s the treatment he gets? They don’t want him to be president. I have lost all faith in Fox news.”

Denise and Sid Bowdidge had similar sentiments as they dumped their paper plates and plastic cups and headed for the door. “Not fair to Donald Trump at all,” said Sid. Denise shrugged. “Everybody takes jabs at the guy at the top.”

Still, the exuberance for their billionaire business mogul candidate was unabated within the gathering of supporters. Dennis Keefe put his arm around his wife, his good nature restored.

He laughed heartily. “All I know is I’m still thumpin,’ jumpin,’ stumpin,’ and Trumpin’!” he said, before disappearing into the night.