In a July 2018 analysis of national voter registration records by the University of Virginia Center for Politics, 40 percent of voters registered Democrat, 29 percent Republican, 2 percent other political parties and 28 percent independent.
Gone are the days of adherence and loyalty to a single political party. In several states, there are more voters registered as independent than in any political party.
That makes courting independent voters critical. And in 2016, many of those independent voters helped President Donald Trump win the electoral college, even if he did lose the popular vote.
Seen as not loyal to a single party and a political maverick appealed to many independent voters in 2016. But do those same voters still see Trump in the same light in 2018?
CNN New Day correspondent Alisyn Camerota sat down with a group of independent voters Monday to ask. In a group of six people, five were independent and voted for Trump and one had been a lifelong Republican who was now leaving the party to register as an independent because of Trump.
None had good things to say about the President. And the five independents who voted for Trump expressed regret over their decision.
Camerota asked how one voter felt, to which he responded, “Afraid.” When asked to elaborate, Anthony Miles stated:
“Of the dictator in the White House.He has no empathy for anything. He will never admit when he makes a mistake.”
Independent Anthony Miles, who voted for Trump, says on @NewDay that he is “afraid” that we may have “a dictator in the White House.”
— John Avlon (@JohnAvlon) October 15, 2018
“He said the system is rigged and he said he was going to be a new sheriff in town, and all he’s done is surrounded himself with crooks. How many people have been indicted that were in close cahoots with him?”
“And there, in front of the world stage, he looks at Putin and puts his arm around him and says this is my buddy.”
Watch Miles answer Camerota here.
Sydney Cohan, who voted for Trump but now plans to register as a Democrat, stated:
“The divisiveness in this country right now and the rhetoric coming from the president is a daily exhausting thing.”
“I worry that the dictator—the wannabe dictator in the White House will make it where we don’t even have any more elections.”
“I mean, he will—he is like siding with Vladimir Putin. He—Kim Jong Un is now having love letters written to Donald Trump.”
Later in the interview, Camerota would ask the New Day panelists if character issues were their biggest concerns regarding the President. The handling of Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination and confirmation affected all of the panelists.
A former Republican called it hypocrisy. Watch their remarks here.
“I’m mortified every day,” says an independent Trump voter who regrets her vote and is switching her party affiliation to Democrat: “Every day, I’m just speechless. I really am just speechless.” pic.twitter.com/GhsWYooaQd
— New Day (@NewDay) October 15, 2018
Rahul Blokhra, who also voted for Trump, added concerns about who is actually running the United States.
“When I voted for Trump, I was looking for change. I was looking for maybe the non-political person coming in and the businessman bringing his—you know, his expertise, his skills into leadership.”
“He’s not very focused. He’s not very sincere to whatever he decides to do. Things changed fast. For example, there’s with Putin and with Russia, right? There’s a comment that we’re hearing from Trump and then we are seeing all these sanctions being imposed as well.”
“So I’m not so sure who’s running the country right now and I’m not so sure—also very sure as to which direction we are going.”
Stephanie Martin, who is a Republican considering changing her party affiliation to independent also expressed regret. She said:
“I think I’m more feeling embarrassed as a lifelong Republican. I guess I would consider myself, you know, part of the religious right and now, the values that I see coming from the White House just don’t mesh up with what I believe.”
When Camerota asked the group to give an example or a moment that made them regret voting for Trump, they stated there were too many to choose from although the dark and divisive tone of his inauguration speech garnered mention.
Camerota then asked why the economy did not sway their opinions to continue their support of the President. But Dale Munholland who changed his party from Republican to independent gave credit for the economy to President Barack Obama, not Trump.
Nancy Celentano said the economy was a non-issue for her due to being overshadowed by the President’s policies, words and actions. She said:
“I’m not even thinking about that. I’m thinking about what he’s done to our country. Our country was supposed to be a country for the people and—you know, by the people for the people, and I don’t see that it’s that way anymore.”
“And we’re supposed to let people come in, like the immigrants. And what really broke my heart was when I saw those children being torn away from their parents.”
Miles jumped in and stated:
“Is this the America that I grew up in? I don’t think so.”
The other panelists concurred that it was not.
In addition to the issues with Trump’s foreign policy and zero tolerance border policy, the panel disliked the President’s and GOP’s treatment of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and other women.
“I don’t know where the bottom is anymore.”
Watch their remarks here.
Alisyn Camerota: “Now the President calls the women who have come forward (with sexual assault allegations against Brett Kavanaugh) a hoax, a Democratic hoax. What do you make of that language?”
Independent Trump voter: “He’s the hoax, if you ask me.” pic.twitter.com/pvHYcUFwpd
— New Day (@NewDay) October 15, 2018
All of the panelists said they plan to send a strong message to Trump and the GOP in the midterms. The midterm elections are slated for Tuesday, November 6, 2018.