Big winner draws a very diverse crowd

Supporters eagerly waiting for Mr Donald Trump's autograph at the Kentucky International Convention Centre in Louisville, Kentucky, on Tuesday. Interviews with Trump voters revealed a diversity of support that could sustain him as a front runner in t
Supporters eagerly waiting for Mr Donald Trump's autograph at the Kentucky International Convention Centre in Louisville, Kentucky, on Tuesday. Interviews with Trump voters revealed a diversity of support that could sustain him as a front runner in the weeks to come.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

NEW YORK • Mr Donald Trump won the vote of a 59-year-old cabby in Boston's suburbs, who said he lost his trucking business after immigrants began delivering cargo for less.

In Loudoun County, Virginia, one of the country's wealthiest, Mr Trump won the backing of a newly separated mother and a longtime Democrat who spoke of the possibility of another terror attack, saying: "I don't think we feel safe right now."

And Mr Mark Harris, a 48-year- old owner of an antique shop in Canton, Georgia, said he did not much care for Mr Trump's ego and worried that his impolitic speech could derail American diplomacy. But Mr Harris voted for Mr Trump, too. "He's not afraid to get in the trenches and fight for you," Mr Harris said. "He's going to be a bully, and he's going to tell them what he thinks, and he's going to push to get it done. He doesn't care who he makes mad in the process."

Mr Trump's victories on Tuesday were not unexpected. But interviews with Trump voters from the middle-class suburbs of Minneapolis to the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains revealed a diversity of support that could sustain him as a front runner in the weeks to come.

In Virginia, for example, he was winning not only among lower-income voters, his usual base, but also in other categories, including veterans and self-described conservatives and white evangelicals.

In Texas, those calling themselves political moderates, the kind of voters some rivals are counting on, were favouring Mr Trump as well.

His supporters had a unifying motivation - anxiety about the state of the country, and anger at those they felt were encroaching on their way of life. "He's saying how the people really feel," said Ms Janet Aguilar, 59, who voted for Mr Trump in Everett, Massachusetts. "We're all afraid to say it."

Where others see a twice-divorced ladies' man now married to a much younger model, his fans saw the head of a successful family whose children, as Mr Albert Banda, the cabby from Somerville, Massachusetts, put it, are "respectable and decent members of society" who "aren't running around like Paris Hilton and dragging their bodies through the mud".

One of the least likely Trump voters may have been Ms Fadumo Yusuf, 34, a Muslim woman and Ethiopian immigrant who lives in Minneapolis. When she showed up at a pro-Trump rally on Sunday, she was practically mobbed by supporters who thanked her, and a Trump sticker made its way onto her hijab.

His comments about banning Muslims from entering the country, she said, were "hurtful". But Ms Yusuf, who earned an accounting degree in 2010 and has applied for more than 20 accounting jobs without any offers, said she felt "cheated". She relies on her mother for help with necessities like diapers and thinks Mr Trump will help small business owners by lowering taxes and allowing them to hire more employees.

"We came here to sacrifice and to get a visa. We are not terrorists," she said. "I believe he has a heart, so I will overlook that." '

NEW YORK TIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 03, 2016, with the headline 'Big winner draws a very diverse crowd'. Print Edition | Subscribe