Yorkers love, hate Donald Trump


Some York County voters have thrown their support behind one of the most outspoken Republican candidates for president — Donald Trump.

"The reason I like Trump is because he is not a politician. He has his own money and cannot be bought and paid for," said West Manchester Township resident Tom Smith. "He cannot be strung together and made a puppet for special interests and donors."

Trump, who made a name for himself in the 1980s as a real estate mogul and reinvented himself as host of the reality television show "The Apprentice" more than a decade ago, leads the 16 other GOP presidential aspirants in polling.

His local supporters say his message, which is often controversial and brash, resonates with them.

"He tells it like it is. He don't need the money and nobody can control him or what he says," said Richard Wagner of West York. "Both parties are afraid of him. I'm supporting him as of now."

This isn't the first time someone with celebrity status has sought elected office .

Not a fan: But not everyone is touting Trump as their candidate of choice.

"Supporting Trump? That's like supporting cancer," said David Fair. "Trump is the poster child for everything that is wrong in America today."

Trump does have one thing going for him that no other candidate, Democrat or Republican, has. His uniqueness and ability to speak his mind, even though what he says isn't always politically correct.

"As a person who's taught presidential history for so long, I can't think of another candidate quite like him," said G. Terry Madonna, a pollster at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster.

And that's exactly what is drawing a lot of supporters, such as Brian Witmer of Dallastown, into his camp.

"I'm for Trump. Speaks his mind and don't take any crap about stuff," he said. "He speaks his mind on stuff so well."

Smith said he likes the fact that Trump tells it like it is but also agrees with him on issues.

"He is correct on health care. We need to repeal and replace (the Affordable Care Act) while making sure we take care of the poor and those who can't take care of themselves," Smith said. "Trump has the leadership meant for the job. He may be a little off the hinges at times, but in 2015 we do not have time for a certain kind of tone."

Experts: Whether Trump will still be in the hunt for the presidency when Pennsylvanians head to the polls for the April 26, 2016, primary remains to be seen, but some experts say it's unlikely.

He may end up withdrawing from the race as the field of candidates dwindles and stances on issues become more important over the coming months, Madonna said.

Though Trump appeals to a sect of the GOP, Madonna said he doesn't see him appealing to the entire party. How long he remains in the race will likely depend on how much money the billionaire is willing to spend.

Not even Trump's gaffes, such as referring to children of undocumented immigrants as "anchor babies" and calling into question the status of Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, as a war hero, seems to be harmful to him.

"That's Trump being Trump," Madonna said. "We expect it."

On the same token, fellow Republican candidate and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee caught heavy flak when he likened President Barack Obama's Iran nuclear deal to "marching the Israelis to the door of the oven."

It's tough to say if Trump would have received the same treatment if he, instead of Huckabee, had said that, said Chris Borick, director of the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion.

"(Trump) gets away with it because he resonates with a group of people in the Republican Party because they ultimately agree with the premise behind" what he's saying, Borick said.

— Reach Greg Gross at ggross@yorkdispatch.com.