A year ago when Brookfield resident Eric Sawchuk was signing on to run as a delegate to the Republican National Convention pledged to support Donald Trump, he was optimistic, but had no idea then what would unfold over the next 12 months.
“If you had told me a year ago that the Cubs would win the World Series and Trump would be president, I would have said you’re nuts,” said Sawchuk, a small businessman and former Brookfield village trustee who sits on the board of the Proviso Township Mental Health Commission.
Late this summer when many thought that the Trump campaign was imploding Sawchuk kept the faith. Heading into the election last week he thought the race would be close.
“I was optimistic,” Sawchuk said. “I wasn’t surprised that he won. I was very optimistic about the whole thing. I knew he had a good chance.”
He watched the Election Night coverage with family and friends at a friend’s house and celebrated when it became apparent that Trump would gain a majority in the Electoral College and networks declared him the winner.
“At 1:40 in the morning when Fox News declared him the winner, when they gave him Pennsylvania, we all popped the champagne and broke out the cigars,” Sawchuk said.
Sawchuk believes that Trump’s status as political outsider was the key to his win.
“I think people were tired of politics as usual,” Sawchuk said. “Both candidates had their plusses and minuses and I just think people were ready for a change.”
Riverside resident and WGN TV analyst Chris Robling also thought that Trump triumphed because he represented change.
“He represented change and Hillary represented stasis,” Robling said.
Robling, a longtime Republican activist, said that he didn’t vote for Trump or Hillary Clinton but declined to say who he voted for.
Annemarie Rodney of Brookfield voted for Clinton.
“She understands the government,” said Rodney after voting at S.E. Gross Middle School. “She doesn’t preach hate.”
Lisa Mancini, who voted at Hollywood School said that she voted for Clinton but wasn’t happy with her choices. She said that most of her friends felt the same way.
“No one’s excited because they’re both so crappy,” Mancini said.
One man at Hollywood School who came to vote wearing a Bernie Sanders hoodie said that he voted for Green Party candidate Jill Stein, but would have voted for Clinton had the race in Illinois been expected to be close.
“I’m tired of the two-party system,” said the man, who declined to give his name.
Another Hollywood School voter who declined to give his name voted for Trump.
“I think he can help America with the economy by inspiring jobs, and I think the cloud hanging over Clinton is a liability,” the man said.
Rocio Hernandez, a high school Spanish teacher, voted for Clinton.
“I’m a Hispanic female so, of course, I’m going to vote that way,” Hernandez said after casting her vote at the Brookfield Village Hall.
But 28-year-old Brookfield resident Andy DiGangi voted for Trump.
“I voted for Trump, because I’m ready for a change and ready for something different, and I believe in most of his values,” DiGangi said after voting at Congress Park School.