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St. Louis voters prepare to accept Trump as president, with very mixed emotions

From left, Victor Hill III, Zainab Oyebamiji and Gary Arbesman are feeling cautious, puzzled and bright as Donald J. Trump takes over as president of the United States.
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From left, Victor Hill III, Zainab Oyebamiji and Gary Arbesman are feeling cautious, puzzled and bright, respectively, as Donald J. Trump takes over as president of the United States.

As Donald J. Trump is sworn in today as the 45th president of the United States, St. Louis-area voters are expressing moods ranging from afraid and alarmed to optimistic and upbeat.

For all of their disparities, Republican, Democratic and independent voters are united on one point: All are watching closely to see just how Trump will lead the nation.

Bob Kenny of St. Louis is one of those voters, and he's excited. The 70-year-old accountant voted for Trump in November, and is “hopeful that our new president reverses many of the hard-left regulations from the Obama period.”

"There has been a deluge of costly rules and regulations designed to implement hard-left priorities," he said.

Kenny’s remarks came in response to questions through the Public Insight Network. Beginning in the 2016 the primary season and continuing through the November election, voters have shared the reasons behind their moods.

Some, like Kenny, were positive. Others, like Christine Garhart of Greendale, were not.

Garhart, a Democrat, was depressed by the election results. “In November, I was shocked and depressed. The shock has worn off … But I still cannot understand why so many people voted against things they say they believe in, and against their economic well being.”

Zainab Oyebamiji of Ballwin, wrote that she was “puzzled” by Trump’s victory and wondered how he could "lead this great nation without damages to our future.”

Oyebamiji, a nursing supervisor, wrote that she was concerned about Trump’s morals. A sense of morality, she said, is "the basis for every human character.”

Gary Arbesman of Chesterfield, however, had a different view.

“My political mood is bright,” the Republican wrote. “I was so afraid that Hillary Clinton might win, but she didn’t. I’m very much looking forward to seeing/hearing President Trump inaugurated on 1/20/17.”

These voters were among dozens of people who responded to the PIN questions.


Of  Sanders, Stein and Twitter

Respondents weren’t just for Clinton or Trump — at least not initially. A few said they were still unhappy that Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders failed to win the Democratic nomination.

One of them is Craig Ackerman, who lives in south St. Louis County. Ackerman said he was not affiliated with either major political party and initially backed Sanders.

“But with the choice coming down to Clinton or Trump, I chose Clinton because I felt like she could ably administer the Executive Branch, and protect progressive gains made by Obama, and enhance them.”

He said income inequality is the most important issue he’d like to see Trump address. But, he wrote, “we cannot bring back jobs that many Trump voters lost, and therefore, we need to find better ways of handling unemployment, job training and more appropriately distributing the wealth generated by our economy.”

Independent voter Victor Hill III, of Fenton, described his mood as “cautious.” He voted for Green Party candidate Jill Stein. While he said he was disappointed that she did not win, he is “cautiously optimistic” about Trump.

“It is better because the establishment candidate, Hillary Clinton, did not win. … Hopefully, Trump will not be timid to do what is necessary to develop quality jobs in the United States,” the small business owner wrote.

Maryann Cochran of St. Louis did vote for Clinton. Trump's win left her depressed and she wishes he would spend less time on Twitter. 

"I would like to make it impossible for him to tweet his juvenile replies to anyone critical of him," she wrote. "Unfortunately, I know more about him than I care to know."

Inform our coverage

This report was prepared with help from our Public Insight Network. Click here to learn more or join our conversation. Click here to see comments from more PIN sources.

Follow Linda Lockhart on Twitter: @Llockhart92

Outreach specialist Linda Lockhart has been telling stories for most of her life. A graduate of the University of Missouri's School of Journalism, she has worked at several newspapers around the Midwest, including the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, as a reporter, copy editor, make-up editor, night city editor, wire editor, Metro Section editor and editorial writer. She served the St. Louis Beacon as analyst for the Public Insight Network, a product of Minnesota Public Radio and American Public Media that helps connect journalists with news sources. She continues using the PIN to help inform the news content of St. Louis Public Radio. She is a St. Louis native and lives in Kirkwood.