Trump supporters celebrate in Columbia
There is a reason why America, its media, its pollsters, and its pundits were poleaxed by Donald trump’s shocking victory Tuesday.
They didn’t look past their pointy noses at the people they might disagree with.
Make no mistake about it. The snobs were wrong.
“All year people have been supporting Donald Trump and all year the media and everybody else said he was going to lose,” said Rocky Barrett, a Rock Hill auto dealer. “They were wrong.”
In January in Rock Hill, the future was obvious and almost nobody paid attention. There were 6,500 packed into the Winthrop Coliseum on a Friday night. Thousands more wanted to get in and could not and were mad as hell that they could not see him. Barrett was the guy near the front of the line who got there five hours early and told everybody to look at the lines and the crowd and see an America that nobody in Washington wanted to see.
The media covering the event was aghast at all those people - except for me. That crowd was York County and Chester and others - real people. Almost all white, but so what? They matter, too. They are conservative and care and love their country.
The 6,500 won Tuesday. Trump won, but the voters did, too.
Barrett a plain-spoken guy, a gentleman, a man who has spent so long serving people of all races and religions, said it is a hard thing when some look at Trump supporters and either say, or infer, that because those supporters are mainly white they might be racist.
Barrett does not discount that America has racism. There could be racists who supported Trump, Barrett said. Yet Barrett said it hurts, in his heart, when someone would look at him and believe for any reason that because he supports Trump, and he is white, that he is against anyone else.
“People who supported Trump, and I am sure one of them, are those who believed they have been forgotten, overlooked,” Barrett said. “Trump spoke to us. I never said he was perfect. I never said I agreed with everything he said. Or how he said it. What I said since Day One is he is a leader.”
And then the voters spoke to the world and elected a new leader.
No question Trump alienated people, and made some angry. I was one of them.
No question some heard what he said as racist.
Donald Trump is a loudmouth. His supporters say he is not a racist. The difference is huge.
I wrote repeatedly how I liked Trump and admired his charisma and brashness, but his stance on potentially deporting millions of Hispanic immigrants and legally-born American Hispanic children was just too much. And how Trump wanted guns in every hand everywhere. That was too much for a wimp like me who likes cops to have guns and everybody else to have smiles.
But people, voters, look at the big picture, too, and they saw a guy in Trump who was the only one looking out for therm and their country. They are conservative and most of them are white.
Trump changed the election long before he won. Immigration, terrorism, jobs - without him it never comes up. Trump contributed to a national conversation on race, religion, and money. I salute the guy - and not with one finger, either.
In line Tuesday in Fort Mill, interviewing dozens of voters, I met great people who were for Trump. My neighbors, people whose kids go to school with mine. The line had white and black in it, Hispanic too, and if the skin was different and the choices were different the patriotism and love for country was not.
A woman named Veronica Meyer came out of the polls. She is 46 years old and works in sales. She knew me from the swimming pool, where my kids and hers all go. She laughed and said, “You’re the guy who does the cannonballs with the kids - you are kind of loud.”
She is right.
Meyer said that voting is a duty of all Americans - “People fought for our freedom,” she told me - and she was proud to vote for Donald Trump.
“I want the best for my daughter in this country and I voted for Trump,” Meyer said.
Michael Spiker of Fort Mill plainly said that the election pitting Hillary Clinton, who he and millions more said was a terrible candidate epitomizing insider politics, against Trump was the most important election in his lifetime.
“Voting for him is a plus for our country,” Spiker told me.
Spiker was talking about the whole country.
Mary Beth Pastore, 51, of Fort Mill ,told me on election day that Trump is the candidate of the economy. She did not say her economy, or a white economy. She said everybody.
“America is going down a path that we can’t continue on,” Pastore said. “We need jobs, we need taxes cut, and we need to get rid of Obamacare.”
When Trump was getting slammed before election day, and his supporters targeted by the self-anointed smart of America, a great guy named Skeeter Ellis who climbs chimneys and fixes roofs and cleans carpets and supported Trump was fuming. He told me and sent me text messages - yes guys named Skeeter do text and even old geezers like me do, too - about Trump.
Skeeter wants a strong defense and terrorists to get their blocks knocked off.
Skeeter said that Trump was not a politician.
“Show me a politician I will show you a liar,” Skeeter said.
Skeeter said American jobs have gone overseas.
Skeeter said what so many people say, that radicals must be stopped and terrorism thwarted. Then Skeeter typed in a message what Tuesday was all about:
“I honestly believe Trump will do a better job for all Americans,” Skeeter sent me.
That’s what happened Tuesday. All these people who want a better America and never said for whites, either, chose Trump. They chose his flaws, too.
No more rallies - there were anti- Trump protests after the election in some American cities but not Rock Hill - are scheduled. But Rocky Barrett, the car dealer, said Trump supporters don’t need another rally. They already did what they set out to do.
“The people who elected Trump don’t protest,” Barrett said. “They vote.”