“Trump’s going to win, you know,” Rick Manning told me on the telephone.
He wasn’t the first. From a fortune teller in Maryland to a telecom executive in Virginia, supporters are so sure their candidate will win they call him President Trump.
Whether it is because they want lean government or support his values, the Republican candidate’s backers are drawn from across the social and political spectrum.
Mr. Manning, a campaigner for less government and for liberty based in Virginia, supports Donald Trump because he champions less government. He said his call for lower taxes for the private sector will help the economy grow.
What makes Mr. Trump a good candidate? He’s worked in real estate, knows about regulations and what an intrusive impact they have, Mr. Manning said.
“He’s promised to take a look at each and every one of them to make sure they don’t impede economic growth.” Mr. Trump has definitely proven that private industry is key to economic growth, he said. “Senator Clinton takes the position that government is the font of growth.”
Mr. Manning wants to see as many regulations rolled back as possible of those introduced by President Barack Obama and slower growth of new ones.
Climate-related regulations have driven up the cost of electricity for Americans, he said, and that’s lowering manufacturing domestically. “Also, people can’t afford to heat their homes,” he said. “Wood stoves are priced out of people’s reach. A President Trump would rescind the regulations or make sure they made sense,” he said.
He’s also concerned about health care, saying the country faces a crisis. “Obamacare is falling apart and someone has to deal with it in a meaningful way.” You can have affordable health care or government-driven health care, he said.
A further hope among supporters of Mr. Trump is that Americans will negotiate better terms in trade deals. “So far they’ve been one-sided and designed to transfer wealth from the U.S. to around the world rather than for everyone to benefit,” Mr. Manning said. “I think a rational trade policy – not an anti-trade policy – will create better opportunities for America to thrive.”
Mr. Manning also welcomed Mr. Trump’s tough stance on immigration – the Republican has famously promised to build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico – saying it would have a positive impact on the economy because open borders serve to make labor less expensive through unfair labor competition. Mr. Trump would stem illegal immigration, Mr. Manning said.
“It would still allow immigration but not the deluge with no regard for U.S. law,” he said. Right now there’s a high cost of social welfare: “I’m sure Germany can appreciate that,” he added. He said many legal American citizens were forced to compete with people who were here illegally.
Hank Nelson, an AT&T manager, said he liked Mr. Trump because he was a “straight shooter, though politically incorrect sometimes.” Mr. Nelson, attending a Trump rally in Leesburg, Virginia, said many people danced around the immigration issue but that Mr. Trump had addressed it directly. This was one of the reasons he supported him. He said a crackdown on illegal immigration was needed.
A Polish American family attending the Leesburg rally who were from Lublin originally and immigrated to the U.S. in 1986, called Mr. Trump the only option.
“I came from Poland, a socialist paradise where education and healthcare was free. I’ve been in this paradise,” Mr. Suaveck told Handelsblatt Global. “When I hear about free education for people who earn less than $120,000, I hear the propaganda from my youth of party apparatchiks from communist occupied Poland.”
Mr. Suaveck said he was supporting Mr. Trump because he stood for conservative values: “I don’t think America should become the next welfare state.”
His concerns about the Democrats were echoed by others, including an African-American businesswoman working in downtown Washington, DC as a project manager. “People need to get out and go to college and go to work and be good parents. Handouts won’t help,” she said.
Other supporters, such as Adam, a former soldier now working for the government, said he believed Mr. Trump would be good for the military and for small business. “You need someone who knows business to come in there and clean up,” he said.
Even as the final opinion polls predict Hillary Clinton will win, there are above odds chances that Mr. Trump will pull this off in a shocker similar to Brexit. Pollsters are struggling as never before to predict accurately the country’s choice amid new challenges to their traditional models of measuring support for the candidates.
Prodata, the research institute that became famous when it predicted that Britons would vote for Brexit, said in the runup to the election that despite polls which indicated the contrary, by some metrics, Mr. Trump was taking the lead. Aaron Timms, the company’s chief executive, said: “In digital terms, Donald Trump is actually ahead in Florida.” Prodata analyzes the activity around websites that show the candidates’ official messages.
Other poll observers agree it is hard to weigh whether to measure support scientifically through random phone calls or sift through material on the internet as people post their views on social media.
In this narrow, rancorous race there are fears from many camps of unfair practices on election day and of bias and unfair treatment.
Mr. Suaveck had sobering words about the media’s coverage of the election too. “In Communist Poland, when we read in the media that they were for something, we knew we should be against it,” he said. “I see massive bias in the media here. I think there are a lot of people who are being manipulated by the powerful media here.”
Allison Williams is deputy editor in chief of Handelsblatt Global. Spencer Kimball reports for Handelsblatt Global from the United States. Ralph Jaksch represents Handelsblatt abroad. To contact the authors: firstname.lastname@example.org