In Rural N.C., Trump Supporters Eagerly Await A Different Kind Of Change
All Things Considered co-host Ari Shapiro is on a road trip leading up to the inauguration of Donald Trump on Jan. 20. He is driving through North Carolina and Virginia, on the way to Washington, D.C. These are two swing states that went in opposite directions in November, each by a close margin: North Carolina for Trump, Virginia for Hillary Clinton. As the country faces dramatic changes, we're asking people what they want from that change — and what concerns them.
A quarter-century ago, North Carolina's Yadkin County had more than 350 tobacco farms.
Now that number is down to just a few dozen.
Chuck Wooten's farm was among those tobacco farms. It has been in his family for at least five generations. Now, the land sprouts soybeans, pumpkins, strawberries.
Farming's not the only thing that has been in his family a long time, he explains.
"Some people love sports, some people love hunting, some people love fishing. My dad loved politics," Wooten says.
Wooten takes after his dad — and he is excited that Republicans are about to control the U.S. House, Senate and executive branch, and that the guy heading to the Oval Office is not afraid to break things.
"I'm not the person who wants to see the wreck on the side of the road," Wooten says. "But I'm fascinated by the changes that are going to take place."
For example, he says, look at the debate over whether the new president will divest his business interests.
Critics warn that Trump might put his own profits over the good of the country.
"But I don't think they see the other side of the coin," he says. "If his businesses are profiting, my businesses might be profiting. And they look at it so negative. It's not such a bad thing."
The people we met in Yadkin County — which is north of Charlotte, in a rural corner of the state not far from the Virginia border — take pride in being self-sufficient, paddling hard to stay afloat.
A lot of them said that over the past eight years, it feels like the government has been a weight dragging them down. After eight years under President Obama, they are hoping a different kind of change is on the way.
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