Jack Bibiano, 20, Tennessee
Bibiano isn’t actually a Trump supporter: He voted for Rand Paul in the Tennessee primary and plans to vote for the Libertarian Party nominee in the fall. But he responded honestly in the poll by saying that of the current Republicans running, he hoped Trump would win the nomination. “The thing I do like is he’s not controlled by Wall Street,” Bibiano said.
Bibiano said he didn’t like that Trump is “scapegoating Muslims,” and he said he wasn’t committed to small-government conservatism. “That’s what we so desperately need—the government off of our backs, out of house, out of our bedrooms, stop telling us what to do,” Bibiano said. Compared to Trump, he said, Paul had detailed plans for how he would cut government and restrain the Federal Reserve. “Donald Trump’s just saying what everybody is feeling. But he doesn’t have an actual plan,” he said.
An aspiring musician, Bibiano was a devotee both of Rand Paul and his father, Ron. He said he “gave up hope” with the Republican Party after seeing the way Ron Paul was treated in 2012. But he could never vote for Hillary Clinton—“You just know she’s a criminal,” he said—and he said he couldn’t trust Ted Cruz. “He says good stuff, but I don’t think he’s a conservative,” Bibiano said. “Out of everyone in the Republican Party, if someone from that party had to win, I’d want it to be Trump, just because we don’t know what he’s going to do. We know Ted Cruz is going to sell us out. And Hillary Clinton.
“Maybe Donald Trump will stand up and be the best president ever,” he added. “I doubt it, but…”
Pam Rice, 46, Kentucky
What does Pam Rice like about Donald Trump? “He don’t sugarcoat anything,” she said. “There are things in America that are happening that shouldn’t be happening, and he’s the only one willing to address it.”
Those “things” are a reference to illegal immigration, and the people “coming into the United States now that get a free pass.” Rice said she doesn’t necessarily support mass deportation, but undocumented immigrants need to get right with the law. “If they can get legal status here and conform to the laws of America, I don’t see a problem,” she said.
A stay-at-home mom, Rice cares for a special-needs child, and their family relies on the income of her husband, who earns $1,600 a month working at Walmart. “We’re poor. We cannot get any help,” she said. Although the couple identifies as Native American, she said she has been told by welfare officials that they aren’t eligible for benefits that are available to “minorities.” “I can’t get anything because my husband makes too much money,” Rice said. “And if you think that $1,600 a month is too much to gross, then something’s wrong.”
Perhaps the policy that most angers Rice is Obamacare and its requirement that individuals buy health insurance. “How can you penalize someone when you can’t afford to buy insurance?” she asked. Her family is covered by Wellcare, a Medicaid provider, but she said the cost of medicine had gone up under the law. Interestingly, it’s one of the reasons she’s supporting Trump over Ted Cruz. “Trump is not a career politician like Cruz is,” Rice said. As a Texas senator, Cruz has made his name opposing the health-care law, even orchestrating the government shutdown over its funding in 2013. But Rice said he didn’t do enough. “He could have fought harder. He could have done something else,” she said.