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Trump’s Rise Enabled by Decades-Long Slide for the Middle Class

The Republican presidential candidate appeals to disaffected voters, like this South Carolina couple who see him as a tough talker who addresses their struggles.
relates to Trump’s Rise Enabled by Decades-Long Slide for the Middle Class
Photographer: Priscilla Thomas/Bloomberg

Sitting with his new wife in their new home, Ish Yniesta spoke of the life they rebuilt together after individual struggles with divorce, bankruptcy and loss. To them, Donald Trump represents the best chance for an unmoored country to achieve similar security.

Yniesta, 47, American-born son of a Filipino immigrant, works in a plastics plant and had to live with his mother for three years between marriages. Rita Smith-Yniesta, the 61-year-old daughter of a cotton-mill worker, is a homemaker who lost her former husband to cancer in 2012 and had to live off savings. They married in October and moved into their Summerville, South Carolina, house in November. Last week, they attended their first political rally when Trump, the real-estate heir, television fixture and Republican presidential frontrunner, spoke near Charleston.