In Erie County, Donald Trump received support from some unlikely voters, including Todd Sias, a Mexican immigrant.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, many journalists portrayed Donald Trump’s hardline stances on immigration and criminal justice as racist and xenophobic. But Trump received more support among most minority groups than Mitt Romney had as the Republican Party’s nominee in 2012. Trump’s minority support delivered victory to him in some very racially diverse counties.
In this video, Todd Sias, a 44-year-old Mexican immigrant living in the city of Erie, Pa., explains why he supported Trump’s candidacy “from day one.”
Sias saw a lot to like in Trump. There were Trump’s pledges to repeal Obamacare, ban certain refugees from entering the country, and build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico to keep out illegal immigrants. Todd’s support grew stronger when he and his wife Diana attended a rally with Trump at the Erie Insurance Arena in August 2016.
This is Todd’s answer to whether he was troubled by some of Trump’s hardline positions and harsh rhetoric on immigration. “I know that Trump seems like he’s hard-pressed against Hispanics, Muslims, anybody who is not basically an American,” he said. “And as well he should be. America should be for Americans. I am Hispanic, but I have dual-citizenship, and I filled out the paperwork and got in this country legally.”
But the topic that mattered most to Sias and many other Erie County residents was the one Trump zeroed in on the day of his Erie rally: trade and manufacturing. Trump promised to renegotiate trade deals and bring jobs back to the county. And Sias, who was unemployed and looking for work at the time of this interview, felt that Trump could deliver on his promises in a way that Hillary Clinton or any other candidate couldn’t. “The hope of [the American dream] is alive again with Donald Trump.”
This video was originally featured as a part of the Washington Examiner’s series The Race to 2020: The people and places that will define a presidency. You can read more about Erie County, see more videos, or use the form below to get email updates about future updates.