Significant Support for Donald Trump in Tennessee
A Qualitative Research report in brief: on Mr. Trump's Franklin, Tennessee Event on October 3, 2015
This is an objective observation of a Political Campaigning Event. I am only reporting what I saw, heard and felt. No value judgements are tolerated when a researcher using. Using ethnography methodology, I found myself, as a participant-observatory, asking questions such as, "how things are?" and also, "how did things get to be the way they are?" concerning the nostalgia associated with Mr. Trump's run for the Office of the President of the United States of America. One sees him giving this quest his undivided attention.
I was late arriving at the Donald Trump event at the Factory at Franklin because I had been called by a friend to help him with a farm emergency within the hour before the event started. When friends call me with emergencies I never turn away from them. After helping my friend resolve the serious problem I reported to site of Trump event, wearing farm clothes, rubber dairy boots with mud on them and covered with my old farm hat that is falling apart. I don't look like a scholar but who cares? This didn't seem to bother the people who were already at the event.
There were no parking places left anywhere. Cars were parked everywhere except in the middle of the main drives. I eventually found a place, with so many other cars, in the middle of a sidewalk where I have never seen cars parked before. I had to jump a curb to get up onto this particular sidewalk. Police vehicles could be seen everywhere, with blue lights flashing, but were issuing out tickets to no one.
On foot, walking to the building where Mr. Trump was speaking, I had to negotiate hundreds of cars, in a manner, somewhat like, walking in a maze. When I finally arrived at the right building I could see, what appeared to be, a few thousand people all around the building. Large speakers had been positioned outside to accommodate those people who were not able to get inside because of lack of tickets.
All the people appeared to be in a good mood, not complaining about the cold, wet weather, and when I did converse with people, interacting to get valuable feedback, I did not get any complaints about anything. I was told that, at some point, Mr. Trump would be exiting the building to meet with people outside. Many were eagerly awaiting the opportunity to meet or interact with Mr. Trump personally, knowing that not everyone would get the chance. One would have to be very lucky to get a change to actually meet him.
Again, it is significant to note that people were willing to endure a record cold, rainy day (it was 55 degrees F today, which is a record low day for Middle Tennessee, the record temperature for this day before was 60 degrees F).
As I tried to approach the doors to get inside the building, I was faced with a crowd of people, maybe 20 deep around the door. They were positioned so that they could catch Mr. Trump as he exited the building, hoping to meet him. If I had been willing to fight my way to the door (with my Admissions ticket, I could have gotten inside). I decided to forego this experience which would have irritated the hundreds of people in this general area who had been turned away because they did not have tickets. I decided to remain outside in the rain and cold with those, unlucky individuals who did not have tickets to get inside. This experience, that is, "hanging out with the outsiders," listening to the outside speakers, while looking in, through glass windows, at Mr. Trump and the others who were inside in the comfortable, warm arena, did me good, giving me a chance to learn from Mr. Trump's most loyal and most dedicated followers.
What are the "take-a-ways" that a qualitative researcher learned from this short, one time, experience:
1. Mr. Trump and his followers are a serious lot. They are playing for keeps. They want "a change" that they believe that Mr. Trump will provide if he becomes President of the United States of America.
2. How are things in the United States of America, really? Universally, My Trumps people believe that things are bad. It is a lot that they hate about Washington, D.C. and the politicians, which includes Mr. Obama, who work in Washington, D.C. They were kind to me, not harshly criticizing Mr. Obama to my face because of my race. It always amazed me how Southern whites, for the most part, have always given back to me the respect that I have given them. I suppose my parents taught me well with, "Do unto others, as you would have them, do unto you." One who is a researcher, seeks truth, therefore, the facts, or the truth, supersedes my race or skin color. Researchers, likened unto myself, teach others. Teachers must teach the facts or the truth. Human relations and dealing with people can sometimes be difficult, so I will not try to make a complicated issue a simple one. I will deal with this latter in a separate discourse.
3. How did things get to be the way they are within the United States of America? Again, Mr. Trump's people feel that they have the right answers to this question and that Mr. Trump will do a better job that political leaders now in office at solving the problems.
It only took me a matter of minutes (less than 30 minutes to get some feedback on my questions above). People like talking to me. They look at me and they see "just another, working class, Tennessean, except, "one that happens to be born black."" I told you how I was dressed, "like a Tennessee farmer in farm work clothes, rubber dairy boots, "broken down, worn out hat on my head," and obviously somebody like themselves with "a work ethic."
It was worth my time to drop in on Mr. Trump and is people. I learned a lot. I always learn a lot.
By the way, generations of families were there. Old people, young people, children. They appeared to be trying to find something, like Joy and Happiness and Peace. Doesn't that sound like something that we all are looking for?