AJC special: Making of a Trump Voter

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has just concluded a six-part series called “The Making of a Trump Voter,” in which our reporters and photographers traveled the state, meeting and talking to the folks who sent Donald Trump to the White House.

Here's a look at six of those people, all of whom are profiled in depth on MyAJC.com.

Janelle Jones smiles with her boyfriend Alexander Gothard as they meet for a lunch at White House Restaurant in Buckhead on Tuesday, December 20, 2016. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM


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Janelle Jones, 32, construction company manager, East Point 

Only 4 percent of black women voters cast ballots for Donald Trump in November. Jones (photo above) was proud to be one of them. She is an “out-of-the-closet” Republican who believes strongly that Trump has something to tell African-Americans.

“We have been giving all of our votes to Democrats for years, but what have they really done for us?” she said. “As black Americans, I don’t think we are as politically educated as other cultures. We go in the direction of our black leaders and we don’t really ask questions and we don’t consider the contradictions.

“Trump might be a bit uncomfortable, but it is a good discomfort.”

» Janelle Jones' story, by Ernie Suggs

Rex Bullock, who owns about 1,000 acres of land in Wilcox County, hopes that new tariffs on China will spark the American economy. And he says that government programs have become too onerous. "We have too many regulations. There are too many people telling you how to do it." HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM


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Rex Bullock, 68, farmer, Wilcox County 

Bullock — native Georgian, husband, father, farmer and veteran — only hopes his vote for Trump hasn’t come too late to right a country headed in the wrong direction. “It was time for the adults to take over,” he says.

Bullock still runs the John Deere tractor he acquired in 1969, still has the Massey-Harris tractor his father bought in the 1950s. He believes in things that last, like land, and integrity, and family.

And he thinks Donald Trump might just be the guy to fix the country. That’s why Bullock and a friend erected a gigantic banner – “Trump, Make America Great Again!” – alongside I-75 as it runs through Wilcox County.

» Rex Bullock's story, by Mark Davis 

Daniel Lentz, 28, Atlanta, tech worker 

Lentz is a Millennial voter and tech worker who does not follow Trump – or anyone else – on Twitter. Nor does he bother with Facebook. He’s an anomaly in another sense, too: a lifelong Republican living in the heart of Atlanta.

Like many young people, he struggled to find meaningful work after graduating from college. Now ensconced in a tech career, he looks to Trump to change things.

“I am looking forward to him bringing some innovative thinking to our education system and other institutions that desperately need a fresh set of eyes,” Lentz said. “With him being an outsider, a businessman, and with the cabinet that he is pulling together, I am hoping to see change. Positive change, of course.”

» Daniel Lentz' story, by Steve Hummer

A gun and holster, actually a toy replica, hangs as decor on the bannister by the front door of Ronny West, a Second Amendment advocate and Trump supporter. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Credit: Curtis Compton

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Credit: Curtis Compton

Ronny West, 60, working two jobs, Kennesaw 

West came around to Trump after lining up behind several other Republicans and then watching them fade. But make no mistake: he’s a believer. He lost a good job during the recession and now has to work two to keep up (and is still suffering a pay cut).

Washington forgot about people like him, West says, and he has some advice for Trump:

“As Mama used to say, ‘Don’t forget where you came from,’” West said. “It wasn’t the elite or the so-called well-educated who put you into office. It was the guys in the trenches, who work and sweat and get dirty every day.”

» Ronny West's story, by Craig Schneider

Nancy Gallegos, who voted for President-elect Donald Trump, poses for a portrait. BRANDEN CAMP/SPECIAL

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Nancy Gallegos, 55, office manager, Loganville

Gallegos immigrated from Venezuela in 1994, a single mom speaking very little English. But she’s hardworking, tenacious, not one to get easily discouraged. She gained U.S. citizenship two years ago and cast her first presidential ballot for Donald Trump.

“We were the alpha in the world, and now we are nobody,” she says of her adopted country. “We are just another country. … The citizens of this country need to stand up and make the government work for us, not the government.”

The conventional wisdom before the election was that Hispanics would rise up and defeat Trump. But nearly a third of Hispanic voters went for Trump.

» Nancy Gallegos’ story, by Helena Oliviero

Lance Toland, in his office in Griffin earlier this month, talks about his support for Donald Trump: “He’s not a slave to bureaucracy — he knows the government is here to serve us, we’re not here to serve the government.” HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

Credit: Hyosub Shin

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Credit: Hyosub Shin

Lance Toland, 62, pilot and businessman, Milner (and Sea Island). 

Toland started with nothing and built himself a fortune. The millionaire businessman is a longtime fan of Ayn Rand who hopes Trump can do what Rand’s hero John Galt tries to bring about in “Atlas Shrugged”: crushing the bureaucracy and breaking the shackles on capitalism.

“I feel like Trump would have been a character out of that book. He’s not a slave to bureaucracy — he knows the government is here to serve us; we’re not here to serve the government.”

Toland believes in self-reliance and self-defense. He’s an avid gun owner who supplies weapons to each of his employees.

» Lance Toland's story, by Bo Emerson