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The Trump Train Stops Off In Washington State
Donald Trump in Lynden, WA
The Donald in the Flesh
The line went down the street for as far as I could see. Growing longer by the minute, I crossed the street as I was walking up and hopped in behind the hordes of people already queued up. American flags were flying. Sanders supporters were shouting on the other side of the street. The red hats were out in full force.
Yes, I went to my first Donald Trump rally.
It was quite an experience seeing the presumptive Republican presidential nominee up close and somewhat personal during his Lynden, WA visit on May 7th. He didn’t have to come, having already wrapped up the nomination, but he showed up anyway, ready to put on a show.
And he did not disappoint.
I went as a political scientist and reporter. Really, as a documentarian and lover of history. Trump’s rise to the top of the GOP is something that no one saw coming and people are clamoring to figure out how to handle it. Did I get a little swept up in it? Perhaps.
It would be wise to stop trying to make sense of this political season. But, we can try. Standing there among the masses, within a mob of people to the stage that the Donald would soon arrive on, I felt a part of something. I certainly felt patriotic when we did the national anthem and that sort of thing. Overall, I realized that people are clamoring to Mr. Trump because they want take their country back. Though many conservatives are still unsure if Trump is that man, it did not seem that way at the rally on Saturday.
The line to get in went down the street
Trump’s Rise to the Top
The Trump Train arrived a bit late to Lynden, as the candidate flew into the nearby Bellingham Airport from a rally in Spokane, Eastern Washington earlier in the day, yet the anticipation of his arrival somehow seemed to keep the supporters’ attention for some time. I brought a book.
News helicopters swirled over the venue. Stands filled with people behind me as I faced the stage in front of which stood a mass of people trying to be closest to the podium. The crowd grew and waited in anticipation. Security was all over the place. TSA. Secret Service, Seattle PD, WA State Troopers. All in attendance to make sure Donald Trump could get his message to the people of Western Washington. Conveniently, Trump could not obtain a permit in time to arrive at the Paine Field Airport in Everett, much closer to Seattle.
When the billionaire finally arrived, after dodging the protestors’ shenanigans, he took the stage and thanked the crowd for being there. Pretty soon, he jumped into the victories he achieved in Indiana, New York, and Florida. The front runner turned presumptive nominee loves to talk about the polls and points to them and the results in the primary elections so far as to why he is the new leader of the Republican party.
He has obtained political prominence so quickly by playing the anti-establishment and outsider character during his campaign. Also, by directly criticizing the current political class, calling them “incompetent” during the Saturday rally, he has directed the attention onto others while only some care to ask about Donald’s specific policies.
Throughout his speech he mentioned or emphasized the fact that mainstream media does not know anything and he is not your typical politician. Railing against the media has proven to work most of the time and during this time of voter dissatisfaction with Washington, his outsider mentality has been just what he needed.
The protesters were at least across the street with their informative signs
Can the Trump Train be Stopped?
A crazy thing he asked the crowd gathered there to hear the orange-haired real estate developer turned politician was, essentially, “Who cares if I’m not a true conservative?” To this, I heard shouts in the rafters responding back, “WE DO!” But Trump did not hear them. He went on to spin the fact that he is not a conservative into how he will bring more voters into the fold and turn certain states red that have gone blue lately.
“We want people to come into our country,” Trump said in his Lynden speech, “but they have to come in legally.” This is something that unites Americans of all points of view. We want our immigration laws enforced and we want our country secured. This issue has propelled Trump since his launch last June. Though some have said he has gone too far in his criticism of Mexicans and immigrants, he has nonetheless put a spotlight on an issue that politicians in DC have been kicking down the road for years.
Talking about his travels across the country, Trump said he is worried about the current path the country is on. Manufacturing jobs across the country are vanishing. People are dropping out of the labor force. And, to top it all off, a heroin epidemic is ravaging many parts of the country.
Will Trump’s seemingly strongman administration be the antidote to the ills facing the country? Many in the Republican party still don’t seem to think so. If, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Mr. Trump can come together before the convention in July, things will be fine. We’ve got plenty of time.
Trump’s main counter to the media and Hillary Clinton’s attacks against him include the results from states that know Trump best. In New York, where Trump has lived for years and owns lots of property, he got over 60% of the vote. In Florida, where Trump also does business and owns more property, he got almost 46% of the vote, despite the fact that Florida Sen. Marco Rubio was running at the time, getting only 27% of his home state.
Going to a political rally was an eyeopening experience and something I’m very glad I jumped at attending. It’s not everyday Donald Trump shows up to speak a few hours away from where you live. So, I went.
Is he going to “make America great again?”
You tell me.