OP-ED: The Night of the Donald

By Paul M. Fontaine

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The night of November 18, 2015 was a very special night for Worcester, Massachusetts. It was the night presidential candidate Donald J. Trump came to the city for a political rally at the Digital Credit Union Center. I had the pleasure of attending the rally.

On Monday morning, November 15, I was listening to the WTAG 94.9 morning show with host Jim Polito. He announced that Donald Trump was coming to the DCU Center in Worcester for a free political rally. I vowed to investigate and sign up for the event if possible. In the afternoon, I got onto the Internet and saw that yes, Donald Trump, was having a rally Wednesday night at 7:00 pm and yes, it was free. I immediately registered with the website and got a ticket.

I wasn’t initially a Donald Trump fan and, until recently I had always been a conservative Republican.  However, since the start of the 2016 presidential election campaign, I’ve become very dissatisfied with the Republican Party. It’s become clear to me that conservatives are becoming less and less welcome in the Grand Old Party. The pro-establishment (or liberal) Republicans are gaining more power and support and becoming more like the Democratic Party.

This does not sit well with me.  I’ve always thought the Republican Party should be the opposite of the Democratic Party. After all, two different views on the role of government in this country originated with the debate between John Adams, who wanted a strong federal government, and Thomas Jefferson, who feared a strong government and favored states’ rights. Thus, earlier in the year, I “divorced” myself from the Republican Party and started leaning towards the Tea Party.

I’ve been following Donald Trump’s candidacy ever since he announced, but I didn’t take him or his campaign too seriously. His presidential campaign seemed to be just a publicity stunt for the next season of his very successful television show The Apprentice.

But as I continued to follow the news on Mr. Trump and his presidential aspirations, I saw that he was gaining support across the country, despite the best efforts of the news media to bring him down. I also noticed that he was addressing issues other Republican candidates were (for whatever reason) not addressing.

Mr. Trump was not afraid to speak his mind and tell some unpleasant truths, something else other GOP politicians aren’t doing.  I’ve already resolved not to vote for the eventual Democratic nominee, but I’m fearful James Ellis “Jeb” Bush was already selected to be the nominee by the Establishment Republicans; I’ve had enough of the Bush family in politics.

So, on Wednesday afternoon, I went to the DCU Center around 4:00 pm and surveyed the situation. A couple hundred people were already lined up outside.  I thought it was a good sign. After speaking with a couple of news reporters, I went inside.  

There was a heavy presence of police, state police and secret service officers, but the entrance procedure went extremely smoothly. I went through a scanning machine and was scanned with a wand by a secret service agent.  I then went into the Center’s main hall and walked down to the floor. I wanted to get as close to the stage as possible. As it happened, I was able to get seat on the right side of the seats, seven rows from the stage.

Now came the hard part – waiting for a couple of hours for the Donald to make his appearance. I spent the time talking with some of the people sitting around me, in particular a couple from Connecticut and a gentleman from Longmeadow, Massachusetts. I was amazed to hear how some people had travelled long distances to come to this event. There was a mostly white cross-section of people in the hall: men and women, singles and couples, seasoned citizens and young people, veterans and civilians. 

A little after 7, Donald J. Trump made his appearance to the sound of Twisted Sister and a standing ovation.

Trump covered a range of topics in his hour-long speech. He explained why he was running, criticizing Political Action Committees and the way they buy influence with candidates, and mentioned a new Fox Poll that has him leading by 27 percent.

Trump was very critical of the Iranian nuclear deal crafted in part by Secretary of State John Kerry and President Barack Obama. Trump quipped Kerry obviously hadn’t read his book The Art of the Deal. He then spent some time on the problem of the trade imbalance in the United States. He cited huge trade deficits with other countries and he stressed his administration would aggressively address the United States trade imbalance.

He also discussed the issue of illegal immigration, citing examples of illegal aliens killing American citizens. He vowed a wall on the southern border would be built that mexico would pay for, and was adamant he would return illegal aliens to their nation of origin. Furthermore, American citizens who fight for terrorist organizations would not be allowed back into the United States.

“You need borders to have a country,” he said.

In many ways, it was a typical Trump speech: long on promises and short on details.  But how many local, state and federal office seekers have done the exact same thing? I know Mr. Trump is going to have to provide specifics at some point in the future, but like I said before, he talked about issues other Republican candidates have not addressed.

Donald Trump’s decision to come to Worcester, in Massachusetts (the bluest of the blue states) was a stroke of strategic genius. He went into the liberal lion’s den and successfully tapped into the conservative undercurrent running through Central Massachusetts. I only hope he will establish a campaign office in Worcester to further build on the support he found in this part of the state.

Yes, this is a very liberal state and Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton will receive the majority of the votes. But it would be nice to spread the word about Donald Trump’s candidacy, get more Massachusetts voters to support him, and, in the process, siphon some votes from the Democrats.

If Donald Trump gets the Republican nomination for President, I will vote for him. If some other candidate gets the nod, I don’t know who I will vote for.

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