Rural Americans have been, and continue to be, some of President Trump’s most ardent supporters.
During the campaign, those living outside of metro areas, long forgotten by the coastal elites, flocked to see their man, Donald J. Trump, speak about his vision for the nation. On election day, these individuals excitedly went to polling places and became part of a movement that swept the reality star and unlikely GOP candidate into the Oval Office.
After nearly nine months in office, though, some of his supporters are growing tired.
Trump’s approval rating has been on a downward trajectory. This isn’t surprising among those who have always disliked him or even his more reluctant fans. However, his popularity among his core support – rural Americans – is slowly dwindling.
As Reuters reports, there are several areas in which Trump’s performance as president is not satisfactory.
According to the Reuters/Ipsos daily tracking poll, the Republican president’s popularity is eroding in small towns and rural communities where 15 percent of the country’s population lives. The poll of more than 15,000 adults in “non-metro” areas shows that they are now as likely to disapprove of Trump as they are to approve of him.
In September, 47 percent of people in non-metro areas approved of Trump while 47 percent disapproved. That is down from Trump’s first four weeks in office, when 55 percent said they approved of the president while 39 percent disapproved.
A large part of the decline? The lack of movement on immigration, one of his biggest campaign promises.
And while Trump still gets relatively high marks in the poll for his handling of the economy and national security, rural Americans are increasingly unhappy with Trump’s record on immigration, a central part of his presidential campaign.
Forty-seven percent of rural Americans said in September they approved of the president’s handling of immigration, down from 56 percent during his first month in office.
A few said they are tired of waiting for Trump to make good on his promise to build a wall along America’s southern border, while others said they were uncomfortable with his administration’s efforts to restrict travel into the United States.
During the campaign, rural Americans looked to Trump as the one who would clean up Washington. The one who would listen to the little guy for once and meet him where his needs were. The one who would drain that ever-present D.C. swamp and make good on getting things done for the American people living between the coasts. But so far, they have yet to see real change that affects them and their daily lives.
…many are still waiting to see concrete changes that could make life easier in rural America, said Karl Stauber, who runs a private economic development agency serving a patchwork of manufacturing communities in south central Virginia.
“Rural people are more cynical about the federal government than people in general are,” Stauber said. “They’ve heard so many promises, and they’ve not seen much done.”
Despite all the talk of bringing manufacturing jobs back, Stauber said he has not seen any companies which have relocated to his region, or anyone expand their workforce, due to new federal policies.
“It just seems like we’ve dropped off the screen,” he said.
Healthcare and infighting are also concerns as one of Trump’s supporters, John Wilson, explained.
The 70-year-old retired banker said he is unhappy with infighting and turnover in the White House. He does not like Trump’s penchant for traveling to his personal golf resorts. He wishes the president would do more to fix the healthcare system, and he worries that Trump might back down from his promise to force illegal immigrants out of the country.
“Every president makes mistakes,” Wilson said. “But if you add one on top of one, on top of another one, on top of another, there’s just a limit.”
As I’ve stated numerous times, I did not vote for either major party candidate. That being said, I can see how plenty of Trump supporters are growing tired of the lack of accomplishment and obsession with the superficial.
Currently, the Republicans control the House, Senate, and inhabit the Oval Office, but you wouldn’t know it.
Obamacare? Still the law of the land.
Immigration? Let’s join with Schumer and Pelosi to discuss DACA, and then some.
Tax reform? Still waiting.
Those who reluctantly voted for Donald Trump in order to keep Hillary Clinton out of the White House have to be some of the most disappointed among us. They threw their support behind what they considered to be the “lesser of two evils” in order to move the country in the right direction. Now, months after the inauguration, they are still waiting to see significant movement down the right path.
They should get used to disappointment.
Make America Great Again is a catchy slogan but it means nothing unless this new president – the hope of many in rural communities – pushes for it to become reality.