Anderson real estate agents Joey and Nancy Brown said they were "elated" with Republican Donald Trump's victory in the presidential election.
"We prayed that he would win," said Joey Brown as he ate lunch with his wife Wednesday at Mama Penn's Restaurant on North Main Street in Anderson.
"I like his policy on illegal immigration," he said.
Brown expressed hope that Trump will follow through on his pledge to build a wall on the Mexican border to "stop illegal immigrants coming in from Syria."
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Brown said he and his wife met Trump after the Manhattan real estate tycoon had a rally in Anderson. They also attended his rally in Spartanburg after he won the South Carolina GOP presidential primary in February. And the couple traveled to New York City last Christmas to visit Trump Tower.
"He needs to undo and redo everything that Obama has done," Brown said.
Belton residents Dale Driver and his wife Lisa were sitting at another table in Mama Penn's with their son and another couple.
"We're all happy at this table," said Lisa Driver, adding that she "stayed up all night" watching election results.
Dale Driver said Trump needs to repeal Obama's signature health-care law so "people can afford health care." He also wants to see government funding cut off for Planned Parenthood.
The outcome of the election came as no surprise to Driver, who said he "didn't trust the polls" showing Democrat Hillary Clinton was the front-runner.
"I thought all along that Trump was going to win," he said.
Trump received 70 percent of the votes Tuesday in Anderson County, where a record number of ballots were cast. Trump did even better in neighboring Oconee County, where he received 72 percent of the votes, and in Pickens County, where he received 74 percent of the votes. Throughout South Carolina, Trump got 55 percent of the votes, compared to 41 percent for Clinton.
Although Trump won enough states to surpass the threshold of 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the election, Clinton held a narrow lead in the overall popular vote.
As he left Mama Penn's, Jack Martin said he voted for Trump because he didn't trust Clinton.
"I would like for the economy to come back up," said Martin, who lives in Hartwell, Georgia.
In the parking lot outside the restaurant, Susan King and her daughter, Megan Tripamer, shared starkly different views about Tuesday's election.
King said she voted for Trump because she felt that "Hillary is fundamentally corrupt."
"I think he will surround himself with people who have experience," she said.
Holding the hand of her 3-year-old son Gabriel, Tripamer said she is worried about the nation's future with Trump as president.
"I think the Electoral College is messed up. It should go by the popular vote," she said. "I don't think it's fair."
Clemson University Professor David Woodard said he didn’t get any money this year to do his customary Palmetto Poll ahead of the general election because of the dearth of competitive state races and the overwhelming consensus that Hillary Clinton would lose South Carolina and win the general election.
The longtime academic and author said he and most of his students were gobsmacked by the result of Tuesday's election.
“I’m just astonished,” Woodard chuckled. “I lived through 1964 with Barry Goldwater, and 1980 with Ronald Reagan when he surged in the last month, but this is just the most astonishing night I’ve ever had. … I wasn’t prepared for it, and neither were my students.”
He was still trying to get his head around the result Wednesday morning.
“There were two unpopular candidates, but it turned out that Hillary was unpopular in a way that we didn’t recognize,” said Woodard, who has taught political science at Clemson since 1983. “I think there’s a deep aversion to her and government as usual. I think people looked at Trump and said, ‘How much worse can he be?’”
President Barack Obama’s national popularity ratings are high now, but there is deep opposition to him in the Rust Belt states that flipped the electoral map to Trump on Tuesday, according to Woodard. South Carolina is deeply conservative politically and has a growing manufacturing sector.
“You wouldn’t sense that down here, but in a state like Wisconsin or Pennsylvania or Michigan, his unpopularity would have made a big difference,” Woodard said.
Barry Allen, a 23-year-old Anderson University graduate student, discussed his dissatisfaction with the election Wednesday while sitting outside the Starbucks on East Greenville Street in Anderson.
Allen said it "broke my heart" that Trump and Clinton beat out better candidates to win the nominations of their respective parties.
He said he decided not to vote Tuesday because Trump and Clinton each had "extreme character flaws."
Allen said the lesson he learned from the election is that the evangelical voters who supported Trump "don't know Jesus as well as they thought they did."
He said the election is going to leave both the nation and America's faith community "extremely divided."
"We need to exercise grace and mercy, and I don't think that this election is going to facilitate that," Allen said.
Independent Mail reporter Michael Eads contributed to this report.