ITHACA, N.Y. — The day after Donald Trump became President-elect of the United States, Tompkins County Republicans — who typically fight an uphill battle against liberals in this county — sounded almost like Bernie Sanders supports did in the primaries.

They are hopeful. They want to see more job creation. They want more help for the working class American. They do not want “business as usual” in Washington D.C.

But they did not sound like Sanders supporters in a major way: Republicans, even those who voted for Trump, are not necessarily die-hard Trump supporters.

“Listen, am I particularly proud of this election we had for president? No,” said Mike Sigler, District No. 6. Tompkins County Legislator. “And no, I’m not particularly proud of certain elements of his (Trump’s) personality.”

But he said Trump’s reach extended beyond traditional Republicans and toward people who would have never voted for Hillary Clinton.

Sigler pointed toward the working class — a group of people who have traditionally sided with Democrats — and said extreme-liberalism drove those kinds of people away from the Democratic party.

For instance, he points at the people who recently protested a tax abatement for the Cargill salt mine in Lansing. Despite Cargil meeting all Environmental Protection Agency standards, people still protested the $640,000 tax abatement for a new mineshaft. If it hadn’t been eventually approved, nearly 200 people would have lost their jobs within 10 years.

Related: Tompkins residents challenge Cargill mine subsidy

“At some point, people are going to say you’re crying wolf…,” he said. “You get the guys at the mines who are saying, ‘Why are you coming after us?’…These people don’t even feel like you are including them in the together.”
He also said that the working class has seen a lot of promises from the Democrats who, some feel, have not delivered a better way of life, especially inner city people — not that Sigler thinks Republicans have done enough for low-income, inner city residents in the country.

“Is Trump the vessel that’s going to fix this? I don’t know,” he said about those issues. But he says people figured, “‘I’m not seeing results, so we’re going to give this other guy a shot.’ So now he’s going to get a shot for the four years.”

Sigler declined to directly say whether he voted for Trump, but said, “I think it’s pretty clear that I supported by party’s pick.”

Republican David M. McKenna, District No. 6. Tompkins County Legislator, voted for Trump and is a supporter of the candidate.

“I like what the man has to say. I hope he can carry through with what he says…if he does it will be good for the country,” McKenna stated.

He pointed toward job creation and immigration as a major issue in this election for him.

He thinks Trump will bring his “business sense to create jobs” and get manufacturing jobs rolling again.

He also said he thinks there is value in “trying to do something with immigration to at least make sure that these people are well vetted so that we know what we’ve got coming into the country before we just let them in.”

Sigler also pointed to immigration as a man issue for a lot of people.
“I never really believed that we were goign to build a wall,” he said, noting that there is already a fence along the boarder.

But he, McKenna and others are concerned about who is coming into this county and want to see more strict travel restrictions at the boarders.

Both men, however stood against Trump’s derogatory comments against women and minorities.

“I truly wish he hadn’t have said stuff like that…but he did,” McKenna said. “I just think that’s part of his character unfortunately, but I hope we can get around it.”

Featured image courtesy of Flickr. 

Jolene Almendarez

Jolene Almendarez is Managing Editor at The Ithaca Voice. She can be reached at jalmendarez@ithacavoice.com; you can learn more about her at the links in the top right of this box.