I was in Portland anyway, so last night I reserved a ticket to hear Trump speak at 1:30 this afternoon. Turns out, the Fire Marshall stopped them from admitting any more people even while the line still snaked around two long blocks. I’d joined the line at 1:00 – a cop told me that there’d been people there since 7:00.
No speech, but I did have an hour of conversation with some Trump supporters: a retired 5th Grade teacher from Waterville, Maine, a young Marine on leave, and a couple of businessmen. The general consensus seemed to be that they supported Trump because, as one of the older guys said, “he calls them on their bullshit”, “them” being the media and the entire PC crowd. These people are just fed up with politicians in general, and being scorned by the elite – the school teacher sounded very much like myself when she said she was not stupid and not racist, and deeply resented being told that she was by people less educated than herself.
They don’t see Trump as a politician, which seems odd, because he’s, you know, running for political office, but that’s what they feel, and that seems to be why they don’t support politicians like Cruz and Rubio. It’s really Hope and Change all over again, but t’s a different hope and a different change that’s sought. This time, they’re pinning their hope on someone who’ll overthrow the Washington establishment and change everything that’s been passing for business as usual in the political world.
Or that’s what I got out of it, anyway. Take a look at this video of today’s event. You don’t need to listen through the full 39 minutes – God knows I didn’t, but skip around to get the flavor. Trump doesn’t use a written text; he has a few points to make, he meanders off topic, returns to hammer that point, wanders off again before returning, then goes on. He sounds tough and straight forward, and I can see why he appeals to people who are fed up with mealy-mouthed cooers of platitudes who can only get tough when they’re condemning Americans.
The pundits, both the Democratic media and the Republican establishment alike, are describing Trump supporters as buffoons, but those buffoons remember Obama’s dismissal of them in 2008: “it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations”, and are still angry. That’s essentially what the elite is saying now, and these people sense it’s time for revenge and rebellion – that retired school teacher told me, “I think it’s the start of the revolution”. Imagine a 65-year-old elementary school teacher traveling to Portland from little Waterville, Maine, to announce that the revolution is on. She’s pissed.