POLITICS

This County Gives A Glimpse At The America That Voted Trump Into Office

"I'm a registered Democrat, but the Democratic Party ain't for the working people anymore. Hillary Clinton lied on so many issues that I can't trust her for anything."

18/11/2016 9:13 PM IST | Updated 18/11/2016 9:13 PM IST
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A little over 74 percent of voters in McDowell County, West Virginia, cast their votes for Donald Trump in November’s presidential election.

Dimitrios Manis, a photojournalist based in Washington, DC, recently traveled to McDowell County to talk to residents to find out what made the area such a stronghold for Trump. The county, largely dependent on the mining industry, had a population of over 50,000 residents in the 1970s, but has a population below 20,000 now, according to U.S. Census data.

Here’s what he saw: 

  • Dimitrios Manis
    Lydia Morgan is a small-business owner in Welch, West Virginia: "I voted for Trump because I like that he says what he thinks no matter what. I am like that too. Also, I couldn'€™t disagree more with Hillary Clinton on the abortion issue."
  • Dimitrios Manis
    Welch Police Chief Pat McKinney with his daughter Kara: "€œWe had two candidates in this election and one of them said that she was going to shut down all the mining business in the country. The people of Welch live from the mining industry. So they did what they had to do to protect their jobs and their families. We love this place and we don'€™t want to leave. But if there are no mining jobs, there is nothing else to do up here."
  • Dimitrios Manis
    McDowell County was established in 1858. Since then, the main source of income for its residents is derived from the coal mining industry. During the 1950s and 1960s, the population boomed and reached more than 100,000 residents. After that period, though, the mining industry started to go down and the population started to decline. Today, the county has almost 20,000 residents.
  • Dimitrios Manis
    John Belcher of Kimball, West Virginia: "€œIn this election we had two shitty choices and we chose the shit that stink less."
  • Dimitrios Manis
    Kimball resident Michael Acosta: "€œThe politicians for the last few years are taking our jobs and putting everybody on unemployment. They want us to live with unemployment benefits so that they can control us. I don't want their money; I want a job. I voted for Trump, because I think he will fix the economy, not only here, but in the whole country."
  • Dimitrios Manis
    Ed Shepard, a 93-year-old World War II veteran: "I didn'€™t vote in this election. I see no meaning of this. Whoever goes to the White House will do whatever he/she wants to do and won'€™t give a damn about us."
  • Dimitrios Manis
    The house of Burks in Welch. Pit Burks: "Hilary Clinton left me no choice. Her stance against the mining industry would be a disaster for my city, me and my family."
  • Dimitrios Manis
    One of the three remaining coal mining companies in the city of Welch. 
  • Dimitrios Manis
    According to the U.S. Department of Energy, in the 1980s, the central Appalachian region lost more than 70,000 coal mining jobs and no county was more severely distressed by these losses than McDowell County.
  • Dimitrios Manis
    In the 1990s, the United States Steel Corporation closed all mines and facilities operated in McDowell county, terminating more than 1,200 jobs.
  • Dimitrios Manis
    In 2013, McDowell County ranked second from the bottom in the life expectancy of both male and female residents. Males in McDowell County lived an average of 63.5 years and females lived an average of 71.5 years.
  • Dimitrios Manis
    McDowell County Commissioner Cecil Dale Patterson: "€œAll these years we voted for politicians that promised everything and did nothing. Our county is dying and nobody cares. So, this time we voted for somebody out of this group. I don'€™t know if he will do what he said, but let'€™s give this man a chance. Look at us, we have nothing to lose!"
  • Dimitrios Manis
    Welch resident Jack Bailey: "I'm a registered Democrat, but the Democratic Party ain't for the working people anymore. Hillary Clinton lied on so many issues that I can't trust her for anything."
  • Dimitrios Manis
    As the poverty is rising, drug trafficking and addiction became a major problem in McDowell County. Gary Gilbert was a drug addict for more than 20 years and the last two years is clean; as he said "Life here is really hard. There are no jobs, no money, no future. So, when you are high you don't feel the depression, you are happy. I couldn't vote but if I could I will vote for Trump cause I believe he will bring back our jobs."

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