What rural Mainers want and expect from President Donald Trump

Tucked away on the northern edge of eastern Maine, Webster Plantation rarely shows up on mapping software and there is a good chance your phone’s navigation app won’t find it. There are two roads, no stop signs and more wildlife than residents.

The folks that live here like it that way.

Webster Plantation cast a total of 32 ballots on November 8, 2016. Republican Donald Trump received 26 votes while Democrat challenger Hillary Clinton tallied up five. The remaining ballot left the choice for President blank. The surrounding communities of Prentiss, Springfield and Lee all saw similar results.

I sat down with several area residents to discuss their thoughts about the election, the decisions they made and their expectations for the incoming administration.

All in for Trump

Troy Bennett/BDN

Troy Bennett/BDN

John Mast, a retired Teamster, met Donald Trump years ago in one of Trump’s casinos in New Jersey. He says he would have voted for him any chance he got leading up to the general election. “He was like one of us…he walked in, shook everyone’s hand” Mast said, “He was a real down to earth person.”

“It was always Trump” said Dawn Mast, John’s wife. The Mast’s noted they supported Trump from the start and never considered an alternative candidate.

“I think this country needs change…I think he’s the guy who’s going to change it for us” said Roger Walton, a retired military veteran. “I like him…I like what he had to say.” Walton said Trump was his first choice among the large Republican field.

Never Hillary

BDN File

BDN File

Trump’s status as an outsider, not as a career politician, appealed to Dawn. She told me, “I was totally afraid (Clinton) was going to screw us more than Obama did. She was only out for her. She wasn’t out for us, no matter what she said on her campaign.” She added, “She was too corrupt to start with.”

“For the first time in my life I voted Republican…there were too many unanswered questions with (Clinton) that didn’t sit well with me at all…she came with too much baggage. I did it because I didn’t feel comfortable with her, I don’t really feel comfortable with (Trump) either…but we had to make a choice.” said Bill Orr, a retired union plumber and lifelong registered Democrat.

Orr cites the Benghazi scandal, immigration policy and a continuation of “the status quo” as his biggest concerns in deciding to vote for Trump over Clinton. He also notes that he only crossed party lines at the top of the ticket.

Platforms and Politics

borderBy far, immigration and border security was the campaign issue most folks I spoke with felt the strongest about. Trump’s immigration stance has been branded by his detractors with terms ranging from nationalistic to outright racist. The voters of northern Maine I spoke with disagree.

“You know, as far as immigration goes, I agree with him” said Orr, “we’ve got to shut the borders. We can’t keep absorbing the world’s population the way we are. We just can’t do it.” He mentioned the Brexit movement as an example of citizens’ wrath at the loss of a national identity in the wake of unsustainable open border immigration policy.

Dawn says wanting to take care of our own citizens before somebody else’s doesn’t make you a racist.

When asked about allegations made against Trump in regards to women, Dawn said “Everybody has their own quirks. I mean…yeah, you don’t like what he said. But that doesn’t mean he’s not going to make a good President.”

“It’s a hard subject” she said, “but he’s still the better pick, regardless.”

Expectations and Advice

To a person, every resident I spoke with was adamant that President-elect Trump should remain steadfast, keep his word and fulfill campaign promises. The positions Trump took resonated with voters up here in the sense that people heard a candidate saying the very things long on their minds. More importantly, they believed him.

“Give the working man a fair shake, give us our due…I think he needs to take care of us first, we are paramount. I think that would turn this country around.” was Orr’s advice. He also wants to see corporate tax code fixed, allowing more companies to keep their money in the U.S. and stimulate economic growth. It’s something he believes Trump is uniquely qualified to do.

“Everybody gives promises in their campaign, they’re going do this, they’re going do that…he needs to stick with his campaign promises.” said John Mast. He added “He promises to try and make America great again and we need to.”

Dawn Mast explained why fixing The Affordable Care Act was her top priority, noting her premiums have skyrocketed in just three years. She says she can’t afford independent insurance either.

“I’m a preexisting (condition); it would cost me a fortune to get independent insurance. I’ve gone that route and went to a broker to find out – $1600 a month…I don’t have that, you might as well just shoot me.”

“He said he was going to change it…let’s see what happens.” When asked if she thinks Trump will keep his campaign pledges, Dawn replied “I would like to believe so. He knows us; he’s a regular Joe…just a richer Joe.”

Walton’s response was pure no nonsense Yankee, “Keep the promises you made when running for President.” He also recognizes the challenge Trump will face. “I know that’s going to be difficult. He’s got the hardest job in the country.”

My take

While it’s a stretch to say Donald Trump is a conservative, he ran as a Republican and championed several conservative causes. My hope is that President Donald Trump can cast aside the rhetoric of the campaign trail, leave Twitter alone and put America back on the path to prosperity.

He should start with reintroducing free market economy principles instead of government subsidies for favored industries and business. Next, reestablish law and order and clean house throughout the Department of Justice including the Attorney General’s office.

Appoint a Supreme Court justice that is not a judicial activist.

Secure our nation’s borders. Then we can have an honest discussion about legal immigration and the reforms needed.

Finally, repeal the Affordable Care Act and put healthcare in the United States back in the hands of doctors and healthcare professionals, not the federal government’s.

That would be a great start.

As Donald Trump raises his right hand, places his left on the Bible and swears the oath of office, there is a clear, unified message from the top of the country in rural Maine.

Mr. President: Stick to your guns.

John Floyd

About John Floyd

John is a freelance writer and lives in northeast Maine. His background includes work as a hunting and fishing guide, certified firearms instructor and as a United States Army Non-commissioned Officer. He covers outdoors topics and the politics and policies that affect traditional, rural lifestyle. He can be reached at john@tuckerridge.me or on Facebook @writerjohnfloyd