Tailgating With Trump

Want a pretty good microcosm of the Trump campaign? Check out this report from Kevin Trahan of a Republican tailgate party at Saturday’s Iowa-Iowa State football game from the sports site SBNation:

Iowans, living in a tone-setting battleground state, are used to having bits of everyday life interjected with politics. Candidates go to the state fair and admire the butter cow. They go to that one restaurant in town, the one people don’t really go to, the one that’s still a staple because it was 50 years ago. These are safe and boring photo ops.

A Trump Tailgate is neither of those things. It pits two opinionated groups against each other, plus drinking for hours on end. There were no promotional photos, no meet-and-greets with fans too inebriated to participate.

Sadly, this was not a tailgate just for Trump. It was run by the Republican Party of Story County, but there was only one reason anyone was there.

“Tell that scrub to get to the side. We’ve got Trump coming!” said one guy when Wisconsin governor Scott Walker appeared. Another yelled at the balding candidate about Rogaine. One woman, a self-described Republican, had no idea who Walker was, and the only semi-excited person was a drunk man who told his daughter to shake “Mike Walker’s” hand.

And people wonder why Walker’s support is sagging in Iowa.

You know, I’m really tempted to drink heavily during Wednesday night’s debate and get into the spirit of what it’s like to view one of these events from a Trump fan’s perspective. I’ve got enough inner redneck buried down there beneath the higher education and the cultivated rationality and the current California surroundings to yell at the screen any time somebody’s unfair to The Donald, or tries to get politically correct with him.

Unfortunately I’ve got two pieces to write about the debate the minute it’s over, not to mention the unpleasant thought of having to get up to work on Thursday at 5:00 AM with a hangover. So me and “Mike” Walker will have to get through the debate 100% sober.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.