Like Trump or Loathe Him, These Voters Had Some Great Takes on the Donald
Nicolle Wallace nailed it: “voters are so smart! And whenever we scratch our heads here in New York City or anywhere along the Acela corridor, you really just have to get out for a day or an hour and talk to people. They see everything.” Wallace was reacting to clips from a focus group of working-class Pennsylvania voters aired on today’s Morning Joe.
Trump boosters and critics alike offered fresh, authentic, insightful takes on the candidate. As something of a political junkie, I found myself feeling envious of the clear and uncluttered way they cut to the heart of things. Have a look: if your faith in your fellow Americans has at times been flagging, these folks will restore it.
My favorite positive comment was the woman who said “they say there’s a lot of countries that don’t care for him. But it’s not their country, it’s ours.” The best criticism in my book came from another woman: “I think he’s honest in the way maybe a child is honest because they don’t know any better and they haven’t learned. Childish is the term I would use.”
WILLIE GEIST: These poll numbers are pretty amazing, the Rust Belt, showing him running neck and neck with Hillary Clinton, 40-to-40 in the state of Ohio, tied there. Clinton has the slightest advantage in the reliably blue state of Pennsylvania which hasn’t gone for a Republican since 1988. These are Quinnipiac polls. The 42-41% split there can possibly be explained by a new focus group from the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania. They mixed and got together a group of Trump and Clinton voters and found what the working-class voter thinks about these candidates.
VOTER #1: I think he puts himself out there. We might not agree with the things that he says but I feel like he does have a sense of honesty to him. I know that sounds funny because it’s Trump. When you call him out for something, granted he doesn’t handle it professionally, necessarily, but he admits a lot of his wrongdoing most of the time.
VOTER #2: When an interviewer asks him a question, a lot of politicians would dodge and say, oh, I can’t answer that question, I’ll get in big trouble, I can’t answer that question. But Trump just answers it, and then everybody hammers him for it because they can’t believe he said that, but at least he answered the question.
VOTER #3: That’s the thing: he’s not a politician.
VOTER #4: Politician would say: shh, don’t say, that Donald. Donald like: I don’t care.
VOTER #5: You know, he’s unapologetic, which I think is kind of nice because it’s a change from these dirty politicians. And he’s not that.
VOTER #6: It just makes me feel very comfortable and safe and I like to listen to him. I think he has common sense. He speaks my language, just the way he is. He seems like a normal person to me.
VOTER #5 I think he’s a little bit of a hothead honestly, so I don’t want to necessarily get him in office and blow North Korea off the map. I would worry about his temper maybe.
VOTER #7: If you say the wrong things and you’re too fast on what you say to another nation, it can cause a war.
VOTER #8: I think he’s honest in the way maybe a child is honest because they don’t know any better and they haven’t learned. Childish is the term I would use to describe the way he conducts himself in general.
VOTER #9: I mean the uncertainty is the allies of the other countries that don’t care for him, if that would affect us, I’m not sure. But they say there’s a lot of countries that don’t care for him. But it’s not their country, it’s ours. And I think he wants to protect us.
VOTER #10: I don’t understand how you’re Commander-in-Chief with no experience under you. It just doesn’t make sense. Like, I wouldn’t go tomorrow and lead a law firm. It’s just not sensible.
VOTER #11: He’s been doing beauty pageants and running businesses. He doesn’t know how to run a country, to rid the country of terrorists. Like what class did he take?
JOE SCARBOROUGH: So Nicole, there are obviously, there are some pros and cons there. But certainly on the pro side, it’s something that I’ve heard for a long time. People actually taking what those of us in Manhattan or Washington, DC, would be critical of Trump on and actually turning that into a positive. Now again, there were some negatives there as well. But I’ve been struck by how many people say, sure, he’s inexperienced. Sure, he says politically incorrect things. But maybe we need a guy like that in the White House right now.
NICOLE: Voters are so smart! And whenever we scratch our heads here in New York City or anywhere along the Acela corridor, you really just have to get out for a day or an hour and talk to people. They see everything. They see all the political incorrect things he does. They know exactly what he’s been doing, running beauty pageants. And they like the outsider status. I wrote down, you know, it’s not their country, it’s ours. All these things that make people make people in the foreign policy establishment, which I long thought was a real vulnerability for him, uncomfortable with the idea of him as Commander-in-Chief, voters have baked that into the cake. They understand the pros and cons of him in a much more sophisticated way than we give them credit for doing.
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