WASHINGTON - Unlike most Americans, Maryland ice cream shop owner Anne Segal was not surprised Donald Trump won this year’s U.S. presidential election.
“I knew he was going to win. I knew. I was 100 percent sure he was going to win,” she said.
An unlikely Trump voter, the Ugandan-American has been unwavering in her support of Trump, hoping his background as a businessman will be reflected in increased job creation and American entrepreneurship.
“He owns businesses,” Segal said. “Speaking for myself and probably my husband because he has a small business, we wanted something different, something where you can wake up and say, ‘You know what? I am going to run my business, and I am happy. I know I will make it.’”
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The owner of Sweets and Treats Creamery in Laurel, Maryland, is also hoping for lower taxes to keep American companies from leaving the country.
“If you are not lowering taxes, someone will go to India, someone will go to China,” she noted. “But if you give incentives to business owners, it make a big difference.”
Tax reform and job creation are also on the mind of Democrat turned Republican strategist Gianno Caldwell.
“There are a number of individuals that haven’t been back to work, millions who clearly stopped looking for work and employment. And I think there is a lot of people who are optimistic about what a Trump administration would mean for those particular individuals,” Caldwell said.
It’s not uncommon to hear this sentiment among members of the president-elect’s base. Trump won 63 percent of the vote among white men, helping propel him to victory in this year’s U.S. presidential race.
Segal and Caldwell were among the 8 percent of African Americans who cast their ballots for Trump.
Caldwell, 30, said he became a Republican a decade ago, finding common ground in what he says are the party’s pro-Christian values. He also wanted to give a voice to African-American issues, where he says the Republican Party has had some deficiencies.
And although Caldwell says he has not agreed with Trump on everything, including some of the rhetoric of his presidential campaign, he is looking forward to a fresh perspective in the White House.
“The one thing I appreciate about Donald Trump is that he is not an ideologue,” Caldwell said. “He is not somebody who is going to subscribe to a particular position just because it’s what you are supposed to do.”
Harlan Hill, a former Bernie Sanders supporter who now supports Trump, who calls himself a “millennial for Trump” is also looking forward to change.
“Here is someone looking to shake up the status quo. Here is somebody who is going to cut taxes and regulations, and maybe, just maybe, get the economy moving again,” Hill said.
The 25-year old political consultant says many young people were turned off by the contentious presidential campaign and the choices at the ballot box.
“I believe that this election was a race to the bottom, the lesser of two evils,” Hill noted. “I am sure that millennials would have preferred a better candidate to both of them, but we didn’t have that.”
Back in Laurel, Sweets and Treats Creamery owner Segal is getting ready to open her shop at a new location in the spring. She and other so-called unlikely Trump supporters now look to a new administration with hope.
“Hopefully, he learns and he listens to the people advising him. Hopefully, things will be good,” Segal said. “You know what, we will measure him.”
And if Trump does not meet expectations, Segal reminds Americans there is another presidential election in four years.