Trumpers break rank: Anxiety about the president's proposed budget cuts sweeps red-state America

A report from Durant, Oklahoma, hints at a growing weariness among Trump's most loyal supporters

By Jacob Sugarman
April 9, 2017 1:29AM (UTC)
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(Getty/Jessica Kourkounis)

This article originally appeared on AlterNet.


In March, AlterNet spotlighted a handful of Trump voters who have voiced their dissatisfaction with the president's chaotic first few months in office. To one degree or another, each felt betrayed by the policies and measures the administration has introduced, or plans to introduce, to Congress. And while polling suggests his backers remain ardent in their support of the president, a new Washington Post report hints at a growing anxiety in the heart of Trump country about his proposed budget cuts.


Oklahoma's is a story that's all too familiar across red-state America. The nation's shift to a consumer-based economy coupled with generous corporate tax credits have left the state dependent on federal funding, especially in cities like Durant, which relies on those dollars to finance its social services for the poor and working class. One in four of its city's residents, who voted overwhelmingly for Trump in 2016, presently lives in poverty. Trump has pledged to provide "robust funding for critical drinking and wastewater infrastructure," but he also plans to scrap a $500-million-year program that directly supports rural communities like Bryan County.

Betty Davis, 77, doesn't know what she'd do without the Robert T. Davis Senior Center, which provides meals to low-income seniors, gospel singalongs and a staff of workers who can help her with tasks like programming her cellphone and applying for Medicare. Both the center and the Bryan County Retired Senior Volunteer Program that manages it would be gutted under Trump's proposed budget.

“It’s the only bright spot,” Davis tells The Washington Post. “It makes me get dressed and get out of the house.”


Davis voted for Trump after casting her ballot for Barack Obama in 2008 because she "liked the president’s promises to crack down on illegal immigration, which she thinks has hurt the job market, and to bully manufacturers into staying in the country." She has also seen her two daughters lose their jobs to companies that moved overseas.

Davis claims she gives each president 10 strikes.

“I have high hopes for Trump, but if he’s going to be cutting these kinds of programs, that’s going to be one,” she says. “And we’ll see. I hope I don’t get up to 10, but I will give him one for that.”


Rick Munholland, 64, is just as hopeful. As the tire shop owner tells it, his continued support for Trump is rooted in his anxiety about a proliferation of undocumented immigrants and a hefty monthly health insurance premium, which he wants to see cut.

“Working people like me can’t afford it. Now, if you’re low-income, they can get it for nothing — but the low-income gets taken care of regardless,” he says. “God bless America, but it has gone to the dogs.”


Other Durant natives appear decidedly less optimistic. While she refuses to say who she voted for, Sharon Green, a retired accountant, suggests Trump's budget proposal would prove disastrous.

“These things are vital,” she says. “There’s no way that they should have cuts — I mean, there are many other places where they could cut, it looks like to me.”

H/T The Washington Post

Jacob Sugarman

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