America’s Rust Belt has the blues but it’s still red to the bone

World

America’s Rust Belt has the blues but it’s still red to the bone

Despite Covid, Trump support is still strong in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, which is in a critical swing state

Ben Riley Smith

It is not hard to tell that Lynette Villano likes Donald Trump. Her mask, in brightest Republican red, bears the US president’s surname across the front in capital letters. A back window of her car has a 30cm-tall image of the president giving a thumbs-up stuck to it. Her smartphone carries another Trump photo with the words “my president”.

And then there is the brooch attached to the lapel of her top. A single word, TRUMP, sparkles above an American flag. That pin made Villano realise she was not alone during the 2016 election campaign in Luzerne County, a rural part of northeast Pennsylvania, a critical swing state.

“People were afraid of saying they supported Trump. We were called deplorable,” the 74-year-old recalls over a plate of chicken bites in a roadside bar. “But I was always encouraged by the number of people who would come up to me when they saw the pin.”..

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