Why these Obama voters are backing Donald Trump
Eight years after they drew inspiration from Barack Obama's insurgent campaign, some of the very voters who helped elect the first African-American president are standing behind a candidate whose image and message are strikingly different: Donald Trump.
Obama campaigned on themes of hope and change; Trump declared in his June announcement speech that the American Dream was dead. Obama called on the country to shed racial divisions; some of Trump's biggest applause lines are his pledge to build a wall on the Mexican border and ban Muslim immigration. Obama is a gifted orator with a cool and intellectual demeanor; Trump is an improviser with a knack for dramatic flair.
But at Trump's rallies in New Hampshire days ahead of the first-in-the-nation primary, it's not too difficult to find ex-Obama supporters in the crowds. These individuals say they are once again drawn to the promise of change. But the version they're seeking now is grounded less on optimistic idealism, and more on something harder and angrier: sheer strength and force of will.
Gary Chagnon, a machinist from Barnstead, voted for Obama in both 2008 and 2012. He recently submitted an absentee ballot for Trump, and said he was drawn to Trump's slogan, "Make America Great Again."
"We don't need hope and change," Chagnon, 50, said. "We need somebody with a set of balls, so to say."