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Photo: Charlie Neibergall/AP Photo

Some of the president's supporters want him to stay the course, while others question their election-day decision.

One year after Donald Trump defied polls, prognosticators and pundits by winning the presidency, many political observers remain unsure of what the unorthodox President will do or say next.

A quarter of the way through his term, Trump and the GOP-led Congress have succeeded on some goals, most notably the tax-reform package, while still pushing and pulling with Democrats, and within their own party, on numerous policy issues.   

Trump has appointed and confirmed more appeals judges to the federal courts than any other president in their first year, and the tax deal eliminated the individual insurance mandate seen as a crucial component of the Affordable Care Act. Yet, as Tuesday’s State of the Union address highlighted, much remains on the Trump agenda, including infrastructure programs, an immigration deal, trade pact reforms, the Iran nuclear deal and tensions with North Korea. Meanwhile, Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election cycle hovers like a specter over the administration, which has challenged the impartiality of the inquiry.

During the week of Trump’s first State of the Union address, A Beautiful Perspective spoke with four Trump voters from around the country to get their thoughts on his first year in office.

Sanjay Nangalia, 47, Lakewood, Ohio, Sales Manager

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Born In Bahrain, grew up in Mumbai, moved to the US in 2004 and became a citizen in 2007. I work at Allstate as a Sales Manager, helping individuals realize their goals and dreams by helping them start small business in local communities.

Why did you vote for Donald Trump?

Let me state firstly both the candidates were not a great choice and not my first choice. So between the two, I choose Trump because I do not like political dynasties and Hillary was too political and the Democrats were overconfident she was going to win. She was disconnected with the standard American, but she pretended she was not. Voting for Trump was voting against the political establishment for me. Hilary represented the political establishment irrespective of the party!!

Have you always been a Republican?

Independent.

How do you feel about how 2017 went?

The economy is doing great; stocks are up, unemployment is low, housing is on the rise, corporate tax cuts are a boost, ISIS impact is reduced, and I feel economically the future is bright. Many people are wanting to start businesses and began dreaming again.

What are you looking forward to for the next three years?

The stocks might be a bit inflated and will normalize. However, the economy is on the right trajectory and will do well. Social issues will be controversial and continue to gain more coverage and keep changing depending on the media’s appetite.  

What are you nervous about for the next three years?

People will ignore all economic progress for social issues which cannot be resolved no matter what unless people are willing to compromise. Both parties are so polarized that working together across the aisle is seen as a weakness.

What are you currently happy with?

Economy, security, tax reform, growth and unemployment rates

What are you currently disappointed in?

Racial tension. Immigration policy. There is no desire to work across the aisle of either party.

Do you think Trump is being treated fairly?

I think there is a lot of focus on his inadequacies and shortcomings and not equal on his accomplishments. Both should be highlighted. Nobody is perfect.

What are the issues that you want Trump to focus more on?

Resolve healthcare, immigration, work across the aisle, [and] complete the Russia investigation once and for all.

Is there anything he could do that would really upset you?

Continue stupid, irrelevant, childish tweets.

What are your views regarding the current Russia investigation?

Let the investigation come to its conclusion. There is too much speculation in the media without concrete evidence. Recently it seems that the investigation team had a bias against Trump all along.

Anything else you would like to add?

We need to learn to agree to disagree and still get along with each other. Most people I know are of one political view or the other. We need to focus on policies. I can be of one political bend on a certain issue towards one party and another political bend on another issue. We need to investigate issues.

Everyone in America has a view on the federal level politics and don’t even know the name of their local councilman or issues in their communities, which really affect their day-to-day life. Getting involved locally will allow us to realize we have to work with each other and love each other irrespective of our conflicting views. At the core, I believe we all want similar things but have varying approaches on how to get there. Let us build on commonality, not differences.

Sherri Underwood, 51, Rushville, Indiana, Retired Public Servant

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I have an interdisciplinary background in public service, working in law enforcement and social services. I have continually adjusted my work life to accommodate my fibromyalgia and all of the symptoms and issues that go along with that illness. At this point, I am disabled and no longer able to work. My husband and I live in the Midwest with our three cats. I spend some of my time trying to keep up with current events, particularly politics.

Why did you vote for Donald Trump?                                                                                               

I watched every debate during the election for both parties and also read numerous media and print articles from various sources relating to the presidential race. Watching the debates, there were several times that I said I would not vote for Trump.

On Election Day, I considered not voting at all but felt the pull of civic duty and headed off to the polls. At the voting booth, I very nearly voted for Hillary Clinton but decided that I could not trust her to fix the issues with Obamacare. Having voted primarily Republican before, I went with the party vote.

Ultimately though, my struggle with health insurance made me a one-issue voter during this election. My premiums were ridiculously high, and so was the deductible with very little coverage. This has caused financial problems and the inability to receive recommended treatment for my illness. Unfortunately, like many in this country, that problem has not been resolved and has only continued to escalate at present.

Have you always been a Republican?

No, I voted for Al Gore in 2000 and John McCain in 2008. Before that and afterward, I have tended to vote Republican, having had more of a conservative bent during those elections. However, this past election has caused me to reexamine my belief system and change my paradigm, including political views. It was a real wake-up call, so that is one good thing that came out of the election for me.

How do you feel about how 2017 went?

Regarding the election, it was a confusing and disappointing year for me and many other “displaced” voters who were not happy with the options left for us on the ballot.

What are you looking forward to for the next three years?

The end of Trump’s term and hopefully some stability in our government and regained respect on the world stage for our country.

What are you nervous about for the next three years?

An unnecessary war, quite possibly precipitated by one of Trump’s careless, thoughtless, and undiplomatic Twitter tweets. I recall during the election some of the concerns on the left. Many liberals were warning that Trump would embarrass our country and get us into a war. Their warnings were laughed at then, but not so much now. Also, that even more people will lose health care and that options left in health care for most of us will continue to dwindle.

What are you currently happy with?

The repeal of the individual penalty for not having insurance, to be effective in 2019.

What are you currently disappointed in?

Many things in this administration. For instance, a key campaign promise was to “drain the swamp” in Washington. Instead, Trump has elevated it. Another thing is the tax cut legislation. I have abandoned the Trickle-Down theory as one that works in theory but not in corporate America, primarily due to corporate and shareholder greed.

Another disappointment is how immigration and the DACA program are being handled. It is sad what is happening to the Dreamers and just downright shameful what happened during initiation of the travel bans. I am grateful for the courts, the third arm of our checks and balances in federal government. I think a lot of people thought Congress would hold Trump in check and are disappointed that this hasn’t happened. I will also say that Trump promised to bring the country together. I have only seen evidence that he has continued to widen the gulf.

Do you think Trump is being treated fairly?

Yes, I do. He should face examination and criticism. His position is the highest in the land, and he assured supporters he was up for the job. In my opinion, he has brought a lot of hate and criticism upon himself by his actions, words, false claims, and many, many broken campaign promises and policy reversals. Also, there are some serious concerns about the level of influence his adult children have on governmental matters as well as the allegations of conflicts of interest. We the people need to pressure Congress to correct the weak conflict of interest laws for those holding office, particularly for the POTUS.

What are the issues that you want Trump to focus more on?

Abandon the Wall and focus on infrastructure in this country, which was one of his campaign promises I liked. I also think he and the GOP could do a better job than they have so far on health care. After all, we have repeatedly heard their promises to resolve the healthcare issues for years now—just vote for them, give them a chance, and they will immediately fix health care. So far their collective performance is disappointing, to say the least. Wage growth is another issue I would like to see improved.

What are your views regarding the current Russia investigation?

I definitely think Russia interfered with this election. To what extent, and what Americans may have been involved, is apparently yet to be determined. Any other democratic country would have probably re-held an election that had been tampered with. The authenticity and trustworthiness of our election process is a cornerstone of our country. To see that undermined is discouraging and alarming. Like most Americans, I am anxious to see the findings and resolution of this investigation.

Do you regret your vote?

Absolutely, every day.

Supporters cheer for President Donald Trump as he waves at the end of a rally in Harrisburg, Pa., April 29, 2017. Patrick Semansky/AP Photo

Sally Green Davis, 65, Milton, Florida, Retired

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am retired and had been living in poverty for over five years due to the lack of jobs available under the Obama administration.

Why did you vote for Donald Trump?

I voted for Trump because I knew that capitalism was based on business and we needed a businessman, not a politician to fix the problem with the economy.

Have you always been a Republican?

I was a Democrat up until Bill Clinton was elected, at which point I changed to Independent. I became a Republican so I could vote for Donald Trump in the primaries.

How do you feel about how 2017 went?

I feel that President Trump has accomplished more in his first year than many past presidents did in their entire time in office. I expect, if the obstruction from the ones who disagree with a businessman being president stops, much more will be accomplished. It is my feeling that they don’t like Donald Trump because he can’t, unlike them, be bought, and much of their corruption will be exposed under his leadership. Friends of mine who don’t get Fox News or OANN, say that nothing good is being said about the president, and none of the corruption in the FBI and DOJ that happened under the Obama administration is being mentioned; therefore, many in America are not getting the full truth.

What are you nervous about for the next three years?

I am currently disappointed that the Democrats are more interested in the well being and protection of those in this country illegally than they are about American citizens.

Diane Manwaring, 55, Central Square, NY, Retired Federal Employee from USDA

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m in my 50’s and have been on disability retirement from the Federal government for many years. My medical history is long and complicated, which includes cancer, uncontrolled diabetes and asthma. At present, I am underinsured and have been struggling with the Federal government to have Medicare’s late sign-up fee revoked. All I have is Part A (hospitalization only).  

Why did you vote for Donald Trump?

I voted for Mr. Trump because I was hoping that, unlike other politicians, he would actually do what he promised. I was hoping that affordable health care would finally become a reality. The ACA raised healthcare costs for millions of Americans, myself included. I was forced to give up Federal Employee Health Benefits in 2015. OPM raised its coverage so much that I let it go, knowing they would never let me get it back. It was at that point I tried to get Medicare B & D and was informed about their late signup fee.

I was hoping that Mr. Trump would take the threats from North Korea seriously. He does not, and, in fact, the President has been using Twitter as a foreign policy tool in such a way that war is more likely.

I hoped that he would, once and for all, deal with illegal immigration. I don’t want to see those who need help to be unable to establish residency in the US. But national security has been compromised, and ISIS has sworn to use this crisis to its advantage.  

If the requirements for legal immigration are too stringent, then our government needs to revisit this issue and find a way to fix it. It needs to do so in such a way that those who would jeopardize national security won’t make it in and those who need help can get it. However, I must stress that Americans who are already in need must be dealt with first.

Have you always been a Republican?

No. I switched back and forth between both major parties. After this last election, I’m not sure where I belong, politically-speaking. Does it really matter which party a person belongs to?  

How do you feel about how 2017 went?

Because of the above issues I raised, it did not go well at all, and now I regret having voted for Mr. Trump. I wish the US had a recall vote like other countries, but we do not.  

What are you nervous about for the next three years?

Personally speaking, my health is not very good, and I’m concerned I will die young like my mother. I’ll be 56 this year. Mom was 58 when she passed in ’99. I need to get Medicare B & D ASAP.

What are you currently happy with?

The only thing that I am happy with is Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.  

What are you currently disappointed in?

The Trump administration’s lack of response to the needs of the American people, including its base, which is shrinking.  

Do you think Trump is being treated fairly?

Yes. And if Trump thinks that the author of “Fire and Fury” is not fair, then I must ask: Why didn’t he sue for libel? I’m very concerned that he tried to stop the publication of that book. Whatever happened to freedom of speech?

What are the issues that you want Trump to focus more on?

Affordable healthcare. Nip North Korea’s threats in the bud. Truly fix the illegal immigration crisis —not just have “wall prototypes.” Taxes need to be lowered, but not at the expense of the lower and middle class.

What are your views regarding the current Russia investigation?

It needs to go full-steam ahead with no hindrance from the Trump Administration.  

Do you regret your vote?

Yes. I would take it back if I could but I cannot.

Anything else you would like to add?

If I had a chance to sit down and talk about these issues with the President that would be great. However, I honestly don’t think he cares about the needs of the American people. I would like to see Congress do away with the Electoral College. Our President needs to be chosen based on a popular vote. Do away with primaries, do away with conventions. Just have one election day, and whoever has the most votes will win.

If we did that in 2016 Hillary would be in the Oval Office now. I was wrong for having opposed her, and during the campaign, I was very harsh in how I criticized her, for which I am very sorry.  Her opponents were very convincing, very deceitful.   

The 2016 election has me soured on the whole process that I am tempted to never vote again, even in local elections. But many people said I shouldn’t give up.

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