US Elections 2016: Meet the American voter - The blue-collar worker

Not best choice but Trump is who we've got

Mr Alex Philbin, who will vote for Mr Trump, said he believes the Republican candidate plan to cut taxes on small business will stimulate the American economy, bringing back jobs and more.
A staunch conservative, Mr Philbin is not surprised that a growing number of working white men have gravitated to the party that he has always supported. He says he and his "working-class" family have always been Republican.
A staunch conservative, Mr Philbin is not surprised that a growing number of working white men have gravitated to the party that he has always supported. He says he and his "working-class" family have always been Republican.ST PHOTO: PAUL ZACH

As an Irish-American who has been boxing since he was 10, Mr Alex Philbin, 29, could have stepped out of the Ray Donovan TV series, except that his line is as honest as it gets. Each week, he puts in some 60 hours, driving more than 100km a day literally selling the nuts and bolts.

"I'm always working," he said.

Like men who laboured in the dwindling number of coal mines of West Virginia and the vanishing steel mills and manufacturing plants of northern Ohio's "rust belt", Mr Philbin is almost the definition of a blue-collar Democrat, yet he and his family have always voted red, for Republicans.

A staunch conservative who supported Mr Ted Cruz in the primaries, he is sticking with the party's nominee and voting for Mr Donald Trump a week from today. And he is not surprised that a growing number of working white men have now gravitated to the party that he has always supported.

"Everything isn't the way it was 30-40 years ago," Mr Philbin said. "People are changing."

 

"Even the union guys... it's hard for the union guys to break away from how they're being told to vote but they're hard-working guys and they are seeing that the Democrats aren't necessarily in their favour."

His father, who renovated old houses, and mother, a midwife, are also "working-class people" who have "always been Republican", he said proudly.

On a Sunday before Halloween, Mr Philbin was still putting in long hours over invoices at a small office where he also stocks his goods, around the corner from the ghostly shell of an abandoned General Motors Plant on Chevrolet Boulevard that, quite literally, is rusting.

Mr Philbin said he believes that Mr Trump's experience as a billionaire businessmen and his plans to cut taxes and red tape on business will help him stimulate the American economy, fuelling faster growth and thus bringing back jobs.

Certainly, some of Mr Trump's raw language and the infamous tape in which he said he was simply using "locker-room talk" in speaking obscenely of women "doesn't sit well" with Mr Philbin, but he said: "Hillary has a proven record of being a horrible person".

And of Mr Trump, he said: "He's not the best choice, but he's who we got."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 01, 2016, with the headline 'Not best choice but Trump is who we've got'. Print Edition | Subscribe