Long Island Woman Feels A Trump Presidency Will Rescue America From Its Elites
SCOTT SIMON, HOST:
All this week, we've been exploring what it means to be an American. The latest installment of our series A Nation Engaged, we meet a woman who feels that America needs to be rescued from its elites. Reporter Arun Venugopal of member station WNYC has her story.
PATTY DWYER: My name is Patty Dwyer. I live in Brookhaven on Long Island - Brookhaven Hamlet. And I'm - what would you know, I'm 60 years old. Of course, by looking at me you'd never know that. (Laughter) No, I'm only kidding.
ARUN VENUGOPAL, BYLINE: Patty Dwyer's a respiratory therapist and proud Irish-American who's actively working to get Donald Trump elected. But eight years ago, she cast her vote for Barack Obama.
DWYER: I was happy and looking forward to the first black president. That he was - he's black and white. It's awesome. He could've used that for - oh, my God, to bring us all together.
VENUGOPAL: So what happened? In time, Dwyer decided Obama didn't represent her. She thought he was an elitist, unable to appreciate her concerns about Islamic extremism, illegal immigration or violence directed at police officers.
DWYER: A lot of us feel that he's laughing. He's laughing and he's mocking anyone who feels that way.
VENUGOPAL: It didn't help that she was working fewer hours, taking home less pay, caring for a son who had substance abuse issues. She thinks Donald Trump gets this, gets her frustrations. Take his speech at the Republican convention in July, we watched it together at her home.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
DONALD TRUMP: We cannot afford to be so politically correct anymore.
DWYER: (Laughter) Oh, my gosh. It seems like I've been waiting for this since the '80s.
VENUGOPAL: The early days, as she sees it, of political correctness.
DWYER: I can't - I'm a little emotional.
DWYER: About this - to hear someone actually say things we've been saying for decades and not feeling we were heard. You know what I mean? Or nobody to speak up for us, and it's pretty amazing.
VENUGOPAL: Which is why Dwyer's started pro-Trump Facebook groups, why she's weathered threats and the loss of friendships. She thinks Trump can restore something that's been lost. When her family moved from the city to the suburbs in the 1950s, Long Island was like the promise land for middle-class families - clean streets, nice lawns, and, yes, racial segregation, too. Now the property taxes are crushing. And their kids are dying from heroin and opioids. Trump can't solve everything, but she thinks he's best positioned to heal her ailing community.
DWYER: I feel that if it's meant to be and everybody's done what they will, Donald Trump will become the next president of the United States. And I actually, as I'm standing here today, I do believe that's going to be the case.
VENUGOPAL: Despite the uproar over the recent controversial video, Dwyer is still sticking with her candidate.
DWYER: He will win by a landslide.
VENUGOPAL: But to make sure everything goes smoothly, Dwyer is training to be a polling inspector. For NPR News, I'm Arun Venugopal in New York.
SIMON: Patty Dwyer's story was featured in WNYC's election podcast, "The United States Of Anxiety." Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.