Before the presidential election hits the Sunflower State, The Eagle asked voters who represent a cross-section of the community to talk about who they support among the five leading candidates – and why.
By March 16, more than half of Republican and Democratic delegates will have been awarded. Kansas’ caucuses take place Saturday, right in the middle of this big push.
Kansas’ caucuses are small, but could be important, given how close the races are.
The winners will receive just under 1 percent of all Democratic delegates and just under 2 percent of Republican delegates.
Today, we hear from Donald Trump supporters.
Dan McCarthy, 32
People who call Donald Trump a racist don’t acknowledge that a lot of drugs really do pass from Mexico to the United States, Dan McCarthy says. Trump’s opponents now endorse his tough positions on immigration, he said.
McCarthy doesn’t trust the media, so he does his own research. He believes the U.S. trade deficit with Mexico means Trump can persuade Mexico to build a wall along the border. He’s looked closely at candidate tax plans and thinks Trump’s is more favorable to the poor than either Sanders’ or Clinton’s.
He feels supporters of other candidates often accept what the media tells them: “It frustrates me because they haven’t taken the time to do the research.”
Trump’s memoir, “The Art of the Deal,” shows that he knows the flaws in our economic system, McCarthy said, because he exploited those flaws as a businessman.
McCarthy is an account executive for a freight company, and he believes that after Trump has gotten tough with China there will be a greater need for transporting exports.
Rudy Rodriguez, 53
Trump needs to work on swearing less, Rudy Rodriguez says, but he is still better than all the candidates who read from scripts.
“He speaks from the heart, he speaks with what moves him,” Rodriguez said. “So if there is a curse word that flies out with that emotion, then so be it.”
Rodriguez’s grandparents moved to the U.S. from Mexico. He doesn’t know whether they came legally. People ask if he is offended by how Trump has described Mexicans.
“My comment to that has been my people are my daughters, my neighbors, my community, my county, my country – those are my people,” said Rodriguez, who is studying for his real estate license. “I have to worry about what’s going on in Hutchinson, in Wichita and Kansas to help our community and state be better for the future. I can’t worry about what’s going on in Mexico.”
He doesn’t really think Trump could round up 11 million unauthorized immigrants, anyway.
He likes that Trump isn’t beholden to super PACs but instead funds his own campaign. “He doesn’t have to do this, by no means, he can run his business or sit on a beach and that impressed me about him,” he said.