ALLENTOWN, Pa. – After heading to the polls on Election Day, Pennsylvanians who work or live in the crucial swing state’s third-largest city mostly expressed mild enthusiasm for both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
Allentown is located in Lehigh County and is approximately 50 miles northwest of Philadelphia. The city was once considered one of America’s great industrial centers but has been hit hard by the chronic dissipation of manufacturing jobs since the 1970’s.
Lehigh County is located in a swing congressional district that is currently represented by a Republican. President Barack Obama garnered 53 percent of the county’s votes in 2012. Allentown leans Democratic but is considered by many political pundits to be an area where Republican Donald Trump’s arguably protectionist trade polices might receive a favorable reception.
The general consensus among most political pundits is that Trump must garner Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes in order to have a realistic chance of winning the White House.
Mike Bushner, 60, of Allentown, is a registered Democrat who said he voted for Trump largely because he does not trust Democrat Hillary Clinton, nor does he identify with many of the issue positions taken by the Democratic Party.
“Politicians are not representing us anymore,” Bushner said.
Bushner said he is not overly impressed with Trump but felt that the Republican nominee might help facilitate the personification of a new mindset in Washington where politicians “represent America and not themselves.”
Mark Twigg, 54, of Allentown, a semi-retired Navy veteran who works in private security, said he voted for Clinton because “she has the necessary experience” needed to lead the country. He half-jokingly added that the former secretary of state and first lady “already served as president when [former President] Bill [Clinton] was in office.”
Twigg said that even though he is an ardent admirer of former President Ronald Reagan, he is still of the opinion that Republican policies “make the rich richer” and that Democrats are generally more amenable to “helping the poor.”
Twigg also said he rejects the sincerity of Trump’s frequently touted promise of bringing jobs back to once prominent manufacturing centers such as Allentown and expressed his contention that Clinton would be better suited at that task.
Kim Ciavarella, 54, lives in nearby Lake Harmony but works in the city of Allentown. Ciavarella said she voted for Trump because she believes the Republican nominee will help bring about “real change” to Washington.
Ciavarella said “wages need to be increased” for the average American and expressed dismay that financial compensation for most has been “pretty stagnant” in recent years.
John Swengler, 28, of Allentown, works for a local nonprofit organization. Swengler said he voted for Clinton because he “agreed most with her philosophies,” and also because he is “happy with the Obama Administration.”
Swengler said Clinton’s policy positions on issues related to student debt relief, foreign policy and environmental protection are more closely aligned with his own values and beliefs.