I visited one of them -- Kings County in the southern San Joaquin Valley -- to hear what voters there expect from the new president.
My first stop was the Hanford Senior Center, where I met two women setting up for noontime bingo. At first there was a bit of resistance to talking politics with a stranger.
“No comment,” says volunteer Angie Dutra. “Me neither,” her friend Bonnie Peters echoes.
But they soon warmed up and were willing to talk about the presidential election. Dutra admits it was tough choosing a candidate to vote for.
“I had mixed feelings,” she says. “I think there’s a lot of folks that felt that way. One way or another, I didn’t know which way to go.”
“I didn’t believe in a lot of the things Trump said, and I don’t think he’ll follow through with what he promised,” she says.
Peters says she almost didn’t vote at all, but her husband pushed her to cast a ballot. Both women are registered Republicans and in the end, both voted for Trump. Despite her misgivings, Peters hopes he delivers on at least one thing.
“I’m against letting too many foreigners in,” Peters tells me. “And Trump says he’s not going to let that happen, but we’ll see.”
Does that mean she still has misgivings about Trump, I ask.
“Oh, yes. And I probably will for the next four years,” she says, letting out a loud cackle of laughter.
Another bingo player, Gail Rios, walks in and says she worries Trump will get the country into a war.
"I hate radical people, and to me he's radical," Rios says. "He's so wicked. He scares the crap out of me!"
Rios voted for Hillary Clinton.
The economy here is driven by agriculture, including the dairy industry, which was hit hard by the recession. On a recent Monday I met up with some of the dairymen who turned up for the weekly auction of cows at the Overland Stockyards.
Joe Augusto quit the dairy business a few years ago. He complains that Democrats and Republicans are too cozy with big agriculture for little guys like him to make it. Eight years ago he saw Barack Obama as the person to change business as usual. This time, it was Trump.
“I would like to see things shaken up,” Augusto tells me, as an auctioneer calls out the running bids on one dairy cow after another. “But I’m prepared to be disappointed. Because you have people elected and they talk about hope and change and change in general, and it doesn’t usually happen. So I’m not getting my hopes up.”
Augusto’s friend and fellow farmer, Joaquin Contente, says he also voted for Obama eight years ago, and this time for Trump.
I ask if he saw something in Trump that he also saw in Obama in 2008.
“Totally,” Contente tells me. "They both seem to be outside the establishment. We’ll see how far this guy (Trump) goes forward with his disconnect.”
Augusto admits Trump is a roll of the dice.
“Most people voted for change, even though it could be wrong,” Augusto says. “I think I admit, and a lot of people admit, maybe he won't be a good president, but we're gonna take a chance.”
Both men dismiss Trump’s most outrageous comments on things like building a wall on the Mexican border and mass deportation of undocumented immigrants. But Joaquin Contente hopes Trump’s plain talk helps broker deals on things like immigration reform, so that Central Valley farmers can get a more reliable source of migrant labor.
“This guy has the courage to step up and say those things that are kind of on the fringe of maybe it's not correct to say it, maybe it's not politically correct,” Contente offers. “I think it's gonna be a refreshing change to have someone like that.”
“They don’t really care about Democrats, Republicans, Trump, Clinton,” Ramirez tells me. “They don’t even know for the most part. They see it on TV, but to them they’re painted the same, the same stripes.” He adds that getting citizenship, registering to vote and then actually voting are a low priority.
Ramirez was brought to California illegally by his parents when he was 3. Today, he’s 28 and was one of the first undocumented student body presidents at Fresno State. He says there’s a lot of apathy about politics here.
“Because people here have felt let down,” he explains. “A lot of promises have been made to them by a lot of people in local, state or federal government. And they see nothing changes here in the valley.”
Espi Sandoval is trying to change that. Sandoval spent $300 on a successful campaign for the City Council in the Fresno County town of Kerman. Despite the town’s large Hispanic population, Sandoval was just the second Latino elected to the council.
Sandoval is frustrated that the congressman here, Rep. David Valadao, R-Hanford, won’t meet with people like him to hear their concerns (see note below). Sandoval would like more attention paid to the region's high poverty rate. Sandoval says he’s been meeting with other newly elected Latino officials from the region in hopes of making public officials more responsive.
“We want to make sure they’re getting involved with our community and not just representing the 10 percent,” Sandoval says. “We want the other 90 percent represented, too. But we’ve just got to force them to do it.”
Update: Shortly after this story appeared, Rep. Valadao's office emailed to say the congressman met that morning with Espi Sandoval. According to Sandoval, they met for two hours and talked about immigration reform and getting federal grants to secure drinking water for people whose wells have run dry. "Valadao was very receptive to us," Sandoval said. Sandoval added that he was hopeful for progress addressing the concerns of towns with largely Latino populations, including Kerman, Mendota and Huron.