A Trump Swing Voter Looks Ahead

A Trump Swing Voter Looks Ahead

A Trump Swing Voter Looks Ahead

This story is part of Kitchen Table Conversations, a series from NPR’s National Desk that examines how Americans from all walks of life are moving forward from the presidential election. Pennsylvania surprised a lot of people in November when voters abandoned a long history of electing Democrats for president and chose Republican Donald Trump. Jamie Ruppert, a 33-year-old mother in Luzerne County, is among those who switched parties and voted for Trump. It’s an exciting time in Ruppert’s life: She has two toddlers and a baby due this summer. Her husband recently started a promising new job in the fossil fuel business — one that pays well enough that she can stay home with the kids. Ruppert and husband Jesse bought a modest house a bit over a year ago. It sits on two acres in a rural neighborhood outside Wilkes-Barre, Pa. Life is pretty good; still Ruppert thinks the country needs a change. “I was always raised in a Democratic house,” says Ruppert, “both of my parents voted Democrat for a long time. I voted Democrat for both elections for Obama.” But when Ruppert looks around her community, she sees a lot of problems. And she thinks Trump and his policies can help fix them. The coal industry is a good example. On the campaign trail Trump promised to put coal miners back to work. It’s not just the coal industry that has declined in northeastern Pennsylvania: There used to be garment factories, too. They relocated in search of cheaper, non-union labor in the South. For blue-collar workers in Luzerne County today, options are limited. A lot of Americans who voted for Hillary Clinton heard the slogan “Make America Great Again” and recalled the country’s history of racism, gender inequality and opposition to LGBT rights. But many in Luzerne County, including Jamie Ruppert, heard that slogan and imagined the return of b…

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