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In 'God, guns and Trump' country, simmering doubts about the president

Kate Linthicum, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Political News

KINGMAN, Ariz. -- In this dry stretch of northwestern Arizona, Trump campaign signs dot the desert landscape, and Trump flags fly from the backs of dusty pickup trucks.

Last fall, an event called "Trumpstock" outside the town of Kingman featured a Trump impersonator, a pro-Trump rapper and a menu of "M.A.G.A. Subs." Last month, thousands of people blasted classic rock and circled Lake Havasu in a Trump-themed boat parade.

"This whole area is based around people who have the same thing in common," said Alan Morris, a 36-year-old who participated in the parade. "God, guns and Trump."

Yet now, as the nation confronts the coronavirus pandemic, an economic recession and mass protests against police brutality and racism, some voters in the longtime Republican stronghold of Mohave County have begun to have second thoughts about the president.

"He's an embarrassment," said Ron Kennedy, 72. "And I voted for him."

A veteran of the Air Force, Kennedy said he had grown wary of the president's blunt style over the last few years. But the turning point for him came this month when protesters outside the White House were pushed back by authorities so Trump could walk to St. John's Episcopal Church to be photographed by news crews.

 

"It turned me off," Kennedy said. "Breaking up a peaceful protest just for a photo op."

Recent polls show Trump now trails presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden in the presidential race -- a reversal driven in part by the erosion of his once-commanding lead among white voters in battleground states such as Arizona.

To try to shore up support, Trump has visited the state three times in the last five months, including last week for an appearance at a Phoenix megachurch.

In Mohave County, a vast expanse of desert where 90% of the 212,000 residents are white and 73% of the vote went for Trump in 2016, there is still deep support for the president.

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