Uncharted Trump-itory: Making Contact With the Lost Village of Trump Supporters
Nearly one year ago, Donald J. Trump was elected as the 45th president of the United States. And yet, after a year that history professors of the future will surely shudder at the mere thought of writing into their curricula, I and I alone had a nagging question: If nearly half of all voters in the 2016 election chose Trump, could that mean, 12 months later, there were actually people out there supporting him? However unlikely it seemed, I set out on my quest via a Juno ride to JFK to seek and find such a place, deep in the reddest of Red States.
As our seaplane touched down on a mud-colored river that veined its way gulf-ward under the jungle canopy of the American South, I was nervous to say the least. This was Trump Country. Like the all-but-lost cultures nestled along the Amazon, this was a place untouched by the outside world, devoid of the technological and societal advances commonplace to modern civilizations like New York City or even NYC.
Here, a deep-set, patriarchal system of authority combined with a long-held superstitions about all-powerful gods, infallible eagles, and thieving Democrats had created a culture that would inherently distrust a “truth demon” (as we journalists were referred to) like myself.
My guide was Reagan, a young woman born into this mysterious, remote location twenty-four years ago, and whose talent for chanting at weekly religious ceremonies (something called “church”) led her, unlike many of her peers, to escape to study theatre at SUNY Purchase. She offered to accompany me on my expedition as she too was traveling to her homeland. Apparently, this time of year held some kind of tribal significance, a holiday called “Cristmas” which I, a humble East Coast elite, had never heard of but seems akin to the secular Happy Holidays my people celebrate.
As I de-boarded the plane, the locals emerged from the brush and stared awestruck at my black, woolen peacoat and suede Oxfords, which stood in stark contrast to their traditional garb of workman’s boots and red, white, and blue emblazoned fleecewear, costumes they donned to show their devotion to the god “Merica.” Had they seen an airplane before? Was I the first white-but-not-white-white man their village had encountered? “Merry…