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19 Photos Show What Life Is Like In Newly-Red Michigan

Spoiler: it's still polite and patriotic.

Last updated on November 25, 2016, at 4:23 p.m. ET

Posted on November 23, 2016, at 3:38 p.m. ET

A Donald Trump sign hangs from a building in Sanford, Michigan seen on Nov. 14, 2016. The village of Sanford has a population of 859 according to the 2010 census.
Theophil Syslo for BuzzFeed News

A Donald Trump sign hangs from a building in Sanford, Michigan seen on Nov. 14, 2016. The village of Sanford has a population of 859 according to the 2010 census.

On election night, when the results started rolling in and people couldn't believe what was happening, a new reality emerged: Michigan voted Republican.

We sent Theophil Syslo out to photograph the lesser-seen counties that played such a pivotal role in the election. The tri-city area in Michigan includes Midland, Saginaw, and Bay City. Midland has always been a bastion of red, but all of the surrounding counties, a mix of rural and urbane, voted twice for President Obama — and then flipped for Donald Trump, helping him to win Michigan by a narrow margin.

"There are many places that looked like they had been struggling, places where people and businesses had left and no one had returned to fill the void," Syslo said. "Younger people are migrating from the rural areas and going to cities so the landscape is changing. I did noticed a lot of Americana and patriotism, regardless of who someone voted for, people were very much rooting for this country."

"The Midwest is known for being polite, and during my coverage of the end of the presidential election, the region lived up to that standard. People were respectful, but they were also cautious to enter into a conversation about politics," he added. "For example, one person who voted for Trump, didn’t come out and blatantly say he voted for Trump, but instead discussed the movement that was started and where he wanted this country to head.

"Another had a lack of trust and thought Hillary would not support this region’s best interest, 'She is in someone's pocket and with Trump, at least we know what we are paying for,'" he recalled her saying. "However, nobody really projected their opinions compared to what you would see on the TV news."

Here's that tri-city area through Syslo's lens:

The VFW Post 1071 on East Railway Street, Coleman, Michigan seen on Nov. 14, 2016. The population was at 1,243 in the 2010 census.
Theophil Syslo for BuzzFeed News

The VFW Post 1071 on East Railway Street, Coleman, Michigan seen on Nov. 14, 2016. The population was at 1,243 in the 2010 census.

American flags on display in Sanford, Michigan seen on Nov. 14, 2016. The village of Sanford has a population of 859 according to the 2010 census.
Theophil Syslo for BuzzFeed News

American flags on display in Sanford, Michigan seen on Nov. 14, 2016. The village of Sanford has a population of 859 according to the 2010 census.

A barn with a Donald Trump sign is seen from U.S. Highway 2 in Schoolcraft County Michigan on Nov. 12, 2016.
Theophil Syslo for BuzzFeed News

A barn with a Donald Trump sign is seen from U.S. Highway 2 in Schoolcraft County Michigan on Nov. 12, 2016.

A 1970 Dodge Dart that sits outside of a home in Homer, MI. "It was a pretty ugly mail car from Texas... now it represents the country and the people who serve it," said Chuck Stockton on Nov. 13, 2016. Homer Township is a civil township of Midland County, as of the 2000 census the township population was 3,924.
Theophil Syslo for BuzzFeed News

A 1970 Dodge Dart that sits outside of a home in Homer, MI. "It was a pretty ugly mail car from Texas... now it represents the country and the people who serve it," said Chuck Stockton on Nov. 13, 2016. Homer Township is a civil township of Midland County, as of the 2000 census the township population was 3,924.

A view of Washington Street looking South across East Patrick Road and East Lyon Road in Midland, MI., on Nov. 13, 2016.
Theophil Syslo for BuzzFeed News

A view of Washington Street looking South across East Patrick Road and East Lyon Road in Midland, MI., on Nov. 13, 2016.

Alex Spicuzzi, Andy Ross, Lukas Dexter and Logan Willbanks play a pickup game of rink hockey at Emerson Park in Midland, Michigan on Nov. 13, 2016.
Theophil Syslo for BuzzFeed News

Alex Spicuzzi, Andy Ross, Lukas Dexter and Logan Willbanks play a pickup game of rink hockey at Emerson Park in Midland, Michigan on Nov. 13, 2016.

John Johnson, of Midland, and his English springer named Baxter, fish along the Tittabawassee River in Midland, Michigan on Nov. 15, 2016. "Baxter is an old hand at fishing," he said. "He's been doing it for so long."
Theophil Syslo for BuzzFeed News

John Johnson, of Midland, and his English springer named Baxter, fish along the Tittabawassee River in Midland, Michigan on Nov. 15, 2016. "Baxter is an old hand at fishing," he said. "He's been doing it for so long."

New development along Midland Road and Northwest View Drive in Bay City, Michigan, seen on Nov. 16, 2016. As of the 2010 census, the city's population was 34,932.
Theophil Syslo for BuzzFeed News

New development along Midland Road and Northwest View Drive in Bay City, Michigan, seen on Nov. 16, 2016. As of the 2010 census, the city's population was 34,932.

A customer leaves Sanford Hardware in Sanford, Michigan, on Nov. 14, 2016.
Theophil Syslo for BuzzFeed News

A customer leaves Sanford Hardware in Sanford, Michigan, on Nov. 14, 2016.

Bud Rivard of Monitor Charter Township on Nov. 16, 2016. Rivard built his home in 1953 along Midland Road. The township's population was 10,735 as of the 2010 census and is included in the Bay City Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Theophil Syslo for BuzzFeed News

Bud Rivard of Monitor Charter Township on Nov. 16, 2016. Rivard built his home in 1953 along Midland Road. The township's population was 10,735 as of the 2010 census and is included in the Bay City Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Ken Williams of Bay City, and his sons Kartel and Kamdom chase a kite outside of Duncan's Outdoor Shop in Bay City, Michigan, on Nov. 18, 2016.
Theophil Syslo for BuzzFeed News

Ken Williams of Bay City, and his sons Kartel and Kamdom chase a kite outside of Duncan's Outdoor Shop in Bay City, Michigan, on Nov. 18, 2016.

A nativity scene sits on top the grass of The Midland County Courthouse located on West Main Street in Midland. The building was constructed in 1924 in the Tudor Style.
Theophil Syslo for BuzzFeed News

A nativity scene sits on top the grass of The Midland County Courthouse located on West Main Street in Midland. The building was constructed in 1924 in the Tudor Style.

The McClain family, of Saginaw, Michigan, sits for an ice cream dessert at Fuzzy's Restaurant in Saginaw on Nov. 18, 2016.
Theophil Syslo for BuzzFeed News

The McClain family, of Saginaw, Michigan, sits for an ice cream dessert at Fuzzy's Restaurant in Saginaw on Nov. 18, 2016.

Looking east down Center Avenue from on top of Delta College Planetarium and Learning Center in Bay City on Nov. 18, 2016.
Theophil Syslo for BuzzFeed News

Looking east down Center Avenue from on top of Delta College Planetarium and Learning Center in Bay City on Nov. 18, 2016.

Saginaw residents Pedro Rodriguez, left, Jonathan Smith, center, and Greg Pritchett, right, enjoy a smoke break while skating at the Frank N. Andersen Celebration Park Skate Park in Saginaw on Nov. 17, 2016.
Theophil Syslo for BuzzFeed News

Saginaw residents Pedro Rodriguez, left, Jonathan Smith, center, and Greg Pritchett, right, enjoy a smoke break while skating at the Frank N. Andersen Celebration Park Skate Park in Saginaw on Nov. 17, 2016.

Mark Shull and Keri Cicciarell sit outside the 75th District Court at the Midland County Courthouse in Midland on Nov. 15, 2016.
Theophil Syslo for BuzzFeed News

Mark Shull and Keri Cicciarell sit outside the 75th District Court at the Midland County Courthouse in Midland on Nov. 15, 2016.

Justin Cook of Midland, relaxes as Irish's Barber Shop co-owner John Owens cuts his hair on Nov. 16, 2016 in Midland, Michigan.
Theophil Syslo for BuzzFeed News

Justin Cook of Midland, relaxes as Irish's Barber Shop co-owner John Owens cuts his hair on Nov. 16, 2016 in Midland, Michigan.


Bob Eickholt, an American Legion volunteer, poses for a portrait while sweeping the parking lot at the American Legion Post 18 in Bay City on Nov. 18, 2016.
Theophil Syslo for BuzzFeed News

Bob Eickholt, an American Legion volunteer, poses for a portrait while sweeping the parking lot at the American Legion Post 18 in Bay City on Nov. 18, 2016.

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  • Picture of Theophil Syslo

    Minnesota native, Rochester Institute of Technology graduate and current resident of Michigan. A lover of photojournalism and geek on anything video related. An avid outdoorsman and backcountry camper extraordinaire. I like my coffee black and my bacon burnt. To me, photography has never just been about making “pictures," it has always been about finding moments, telling stories, meeting new people and celebrating life. I want to keep what I love doing alive. Growing up in the Midwest showed me the value of hard work, my education taught me that I must continue to learn, my work provides me a true means of expression, and my personality and character dictate that I must always try to excel. Theophil Syslo is available for any photo and/or video work that you may require. I can tailor my work to meet your specific video, photography, or archiving needs. theophil86@gmail.com | 763.218.2781

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