"Walking down Madison Avenue on Tuesday afternoon while wearing Trump’s “Make America Great Again” hat, I expected a taunt or two, but none came. Most people aren’t politically engaged enough to care. Also, so much weirdness assails them throughout the day in the Big Apple that they take political caps, even ones they might find eccentric, in stride. I did get a dirty look from a lady discussing early Dem exit polls with a friend. “Oh, look,” her friend said to her as he gestured toward my cap. She shot me an unpleasant look and walked on. As Trump might say, I had run into a “Bernie person.”
A few weeks back, a man called out to me across the subway, “Are you wearing that hat ironically?” We chatted genially for a few minutes. I asked him to explain the comment. “Oh, I just figured that if you were wearing the hat seriously you must be a racist,” he said. He was British. Most foreigners I meet view Trump dimly if not hysterically.
A black man walking his daughter to school came over to me one morning and asked, “Where can I get that hat?” He was eager to pick one up and vote for Trump. He explained that he doesn’t typically vote Republican but liked Trump for his crafty business sense.
Working-class folks in Astoria, Queens find Trump “ballsy” and unpretentious, unlike Hillary whom they regard as phony and devious. That he is rough around the edges doesn’t trouble them. They are not exactly taking their cues from George Will and the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal.
As Trump thumped neocon darling Rubio in Florida, driving him out of the race, it is becoming clearer that the Donald will dismantle the establishment’s Big Tent and erect one of his own, into which will flow scruffy working-class Dems, independents, and middle-class minorities and out of which will go bow-tied interventionists and Romneyite RINOs.
A long-time State Department official working in New York City told me on Tuesday that the striped-pants set are getting their résumés in order as they plan to pen resignation letters as soon as Trump wins. He also said that some neocons will vote for Hillary over Trump. “I was talking to a Bush administration political appointee and he said that he was voting for Hillary,” he said. This gentleman described himself as a Democrat but said that he will sit out the election “because I have no good choices.”
A friend in finance calls the anti-Trump Republicans “effete” and considers their flirtations with Hillary disgraceful. He thinks Trump will wipe the floor with Hillary and that the server scandal is a permanent albatross around her neck. “Many of the great crime families have tried to run their syndicates from jail. Maybe the Clintons think they can too,” he said.
The intensity of the rhetoric from the Left against Trump is a tacit acknowledgment of his threat to it. Publicly, Clintonistas are saying “they look forward to running against Trump.” Privately, they are running around with their hair on fire. They know that he can steal Hillary’s march, as evident in his strong turnout across the country, from Florida to Illinois to Nevada. He is getting big crowds all over the place, and many of these newly engaged political animals are non-Republicans.
Against a charisma-deficient plutocrat like Romney, the Dems could push their party as far to the Left as they wanted without losing disgruntled union workers to the Republicans. But that won’t work against Trump. His mix of semi-protectionism and opposition to illegal immigration is music to their ears. Hillary’s faked-up appeal to “steel workers” on Tuesday night isn’t going to fool them, particularly when just a day earlier she was talking about bankrupting companies that run coal mines. The only thing Hillary has in common with blue-collar Dems is her gruff manner.
She has the manners of a Bolshevik and the arrogance of a czarina. Trump’s vulgarity and presumption are nothing next to her crassness and sense of entitlement. As he builds a new big tent for the GOP with happy volunteers, she hires high-priced handlers to assemble a Potemkin village. Once Trump “starts in on Hillary,” as he puts it, that façade will crumble, and the predictions of the chattering class, now babbling tiresomely about John Kasich and brokered conventions, will have been proven wrong yet again."