Circling Back to Voters, 100 Days Into Trump Era

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And then there are those somewhere in between. Some who were reluctant in November say they are happy with a growing economy and his support for the military. Some who cast a hedged, qualified vote for Mr. Trump say they are frustrated with his temperament and repeated falsehoods and would consider supporting a primary challenger.

Others say: Give it more time — 100 more days, or 1,000.

Wisconsin: Satisfaction Amid Division


Al Exner, chairman of the Sauk County Republican Party, spent time on Inauguration Day at the Inn at Wawanissee Point in Baraboo, Wis. Credit Ben Brewer for The New York Times

Al Exner, Republican Party chairman of Sauk County, Wis., made no secret of his delight over Mr. Trump’s victory as he chatted in January in a diner in one of America’s most closely divided places. Mr. Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton was a mere 109 votes here, part of a shift that flipped Wisconsin from blue to red.

Now, Mr. Exner said he was pleased, reflecting Mr. Trump’s overwhelming and enduring support among Republicans even as opinion surveys give him historically low marks. Still, Mr. Exner was hard pressed to name more than a few accomplishments. He said the airstrike Mr. Trump ordered on Syria resounded as a declaration of American strength.

“We’ve been on the back burner, defensively, since Obama took office,” he said. “The first thing I said to my wife when I heard about Syria was, ‘Syria isn’t really the target. He’s put the world on notice — we’re back.’” — Julie Bosman

Illinois: Angry and Energized


Demonstrators on the National Mall in Washington during the Women’s March in January. Credit Sam Hodgson for The New York Times

Back in January, Maureen Sauer had to be coaxed into traveling to the Women’s March on Washington from her home in O’Fallon, Ill. She has a bad back and she did not think marching would make any difference. But her sisters prevailed, and the march proved an inspiration. Now, she is active in a church group called Dormant No More, trying to bring about change in her own town. She joined the school board and the local League of Women Voters, attended her first City Council meeting and worked to oust the mayor.

The first 100 days of the Trump presidency have proved worse than Ms. Sauer, 55, feared, but she said the best part is that it had spurred activism. “He has brought us off our couches, paying attention,” she said. She worries the most about how much Russia interfered with the election, and what the links may be to Mr. Trump or his campaign. — Susan Chira

Ohio: Fired Up on the Right

At the dawn of the Trump era, Brandon Moore, 39, sat down inside a Mexican restaurant in central Ohio and counted himself a hopeful skeptic. As a Bible-believing Christian and supporter of gun rights, he had voted for Mr. Trump but was watchful. And today?

“I do have mixed feelings,” he said. He liked Mr. Trump’s decision to order a missile attack on a Syrian airfield because it showed that “America means business again.” He liked how Mr. Trump baited and sparred with the news media.

But as the nation searches for its political bearings ahead of the next election cycle, Mr. Moore said that watching months of anti-Trump protests and outpourings of left-wing activism these past 100 days had convinced him of this much: “That’s where I don’t want our country to go: into their hands.” — Jack Healy

Indiana: The Alt-Right Energized


Matthew Heimbach with his son Nicholas and his wife, Brooke, outside their home in Paoli, Ind., in December. Credit Ty Wright for The New York Times

Matthew Heimbach, 26, is among the young men who identify with the alt-right, the amalgam of white supremacist and misogynist internet trolls and citizens who were energized by Mr. Trump’s campaign.

This month, Mr. Heimbach said he felt more invigorated than ever. “He did what we in the alt-right wanted him to do,” he said. Mr. Trump had brought anti-immigrant sentiment into the mainstream, destabilized politics and polarized the electorate, Mr. Heimbach said. “Our movement, it’s gotten more unified,” he added. “It’s gotten more clear on direction as to what we’re working toward, which is an independent homeland.”

At white nationalist events these days, he said, he is often among the oldest in the room, a stark difference from pre-Trump years, in which the people who shared his views were often twice his age. Mr. Heimbach runs a group called the Traditionalist Worker Party, which advocates replacing the United States with nation-states based on races, ethnicities and religions. He said that vision seems closer than ever.

“Getting Trump elected was a great first step,” he said. “Now it’s time to deploy to Stage 2.” — Julie Turkewitz

West Virginia: Support From Appalachia


Rail cars containing coal in Williamson, W.Va., in August. Credit Ty Wright for The New York Times

Mr. Trump’s blunt talk has always been a selling point for State Senator Mark R. Maynard, 44, a freshman lawmaker in West Virginia and a Republican who was a leader of Mr. Trump’s state campaign. So it was unsurprising that close to 100 days in, Mr. Maynard had nothing bad to say about Mr. Trump’s shoot-from-the-hip talk and style, which has been such a departure from previous presidents.

In fact, Mr. Maynard, who hails from tiny Genoa, W.Va., could not think of a single criticism of Mr. Trump’s tenure thus far. He liked Mr. Trump’s attack on President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan. And he said his optimism is widely shared in his district, set in the struggling heart of Appalachia and coal country.

“You know, everybody that I talk to has a positive rating, and they like what he’s doing,” he said. “I’ve not heard any complaints — and that’s my feelings, too.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Mr. Maynard, a climate change skeptic, praised Mr. Trump for his executive order in March that will undo the Clean Power Plan in an effort to lift the coal industry.

Even Mr. Trump’s failures — the effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the travel ban blocked by a federal judge — seemed reassuring to Mr. Maynard because they showed that Mr. Trump was trying to do what he had promised.

“I think attempting is better than doing nothing, whether you’re successful or not,” he said. — Richard Fausset

Pennsylvania: Hope in Coal Country

At a rally in Ambridge, Pa., a once-thriving steel and energy town and a symbol of the losses and grievances that powered Mr. Trump to the White House, Ron Ritz waited in line for hours to see the candidate. Back then, in October, Mr. Ritz said of Mr. Trump, “I think he’s going to try to give the American people back the things they deserve that were taken from them.”

Mr. Ritz, a 69-year-old retired corrections officer and military veteran, believes that Mr. Trump has restored optimism about the American economy. Near his small hometown, Friedens, Pa., there was a shuttered coal mine, which he said started up again after Mr. Trump took office. “Guys that were laid off are going back to work,” he said. For him, the best moment of the presidency so far was when Mr. Trump visited coal miners in West Virginia. “I know what those people feel like,” he said. “There was a time in my life I was almost swept under. To see them get another glimpse of light, that says there’s some hope here.” — Susan Chira

Iowa: Ignoring the Critics

In Iowa, Mary Whisenand compared Mr. Trump in September 2015 to a “summer fling” that her fellow Republicans would soon get over as they turned to other candidates. Throughout the primary race and general election, Ms. Whisenand, a longtime party activist, never worked to elect Mr. Trump. She said the other day that she did not declare her support for him until Nov. 8, Election Day, when she cast her ballot. But she ended up attending his inauguration in Washington, and today she defends many of his stumbles as the learning curve of a nonpolitician, one who is keeping his word to shake up government.

Ms. Whisenand, 52, an insurance executive in Des Moines, cites the president’s ability to brush off critics in the news media as a sign of success. “He is not making decisions based on polling or what the media is saying,” she said. “I like that about him.” But, she added, “I wish to God he had never tweeted about Obama wiretapping him.” The attempts by Trump allies in the White House and Congress to try to prove Mr. Trump right “looked like the Keystone Kops,” she added. — Trip Gabriel

New Hampshire: Praise for Military Shifts


At the White House this month, Mr. Trump signed a bill to temporarily extend a program that lets some veterans seek medical care in the private sector. Credit Al Drago/The New York Times

Joe Vigue, 68, came to Mr. Trump reluctantly. As he watched election-night returns stream in at a hotel ballroom in Concord, N.H., a retired construction worker in bluejeans amid a sea of suits, Mr. Vigue ticked off a list of concerns about the military and Mr. Trump’s disparaging comments about Senator John McCain.

Now, Mr. Vigue, a Vietnam veteran, is pretty happy with what he sees, especially on the issue most important to him: beefing up the military. Mr. Trump has proposed slashing billions from various domestic programs and shifting $54 billion to the armed forces.

And he applauded Mr. Trump’s determination to overhaul the Department of Veterans Affairs, reduce wait times for veterans seeking health care and protect their benefits. He still winces once in a while when Mr. Trump “opens his mouth,” but he said the country was much better off than it had been during the previous eight years.

To his relief, Mr. Vigue has found Mr. Trump to be “not quite as conservative as a lot of people thought.” Back in November, he said he did not want Mr. Trump to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and as it happens, Mr. Trump failed to do so when he tried.

“So far, I’m glad I voted for him,” Mr. Vigue said. “I wasn’t so sure for a while, but now I am.” — Katharine Q. Seelye

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