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For a Trump fan, a week where victory fades

“I’m just tired of all the arguments people make,” she said. “I wish sometimes Trump would just say – he doesn’t even have to say it – that he would be everyone’s president. Just say these words. “

In the final hours of the campaign, Ms Rocco’s confidence in Mr Trump’s victory had started to erode. Late that night, when he gave his last speech at a rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan, she was surprised to find herself crying. “It was sad that this was her last rally,” she said. “He might not be able to be president anymore.”

At 7 a.m. on election night, the Roccos sat on the couch to watch the returns. Ms. Rocco was Halloween candy, Kit Kats, and Smarties.

They had spent the last few hours of the campaign on a dark side of the road outside a polling station, fingers frozen, waving Trump flags at passing vehicles. Mr. Rocco whispered to himself, “Pointing me out here is a bit unnecessary.

But then he remembered what had kept him there all those months: people had disrespected him. The head of the Facebook group that fired him. The neighbor who took his yard sign. Teachers who responded to her daughter’s enthusiasm for Mr. Trump with awkward silence.

“People who don’t like Trump, I honestly think they’re very gentle people,” he said. “This is why the world is becoming so sensitive today. Back in the day you could snowball someone at school and you were fine. Today a letter is sent home: your child is mean.

Mr. Trump, on the other hand, “lives the way people once lived.”

Mr. Rocco tried to do the same. His older brother, whom he describes as the smartest, took the other path, winning a scholarship to college. (He’s Biden’s voter.) But Mr. Rocco’s aspirations were decidedly blue collar; he chose a trades school and went to work at 17.

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