He was at least 6’9″ in heels, with a sequined dress, make up and a Tina Turner style dishwater blond wig that made his head look like a giant mushroom on top of glittering telephone pole. “Happy Halloween,” he said as he strode by with a small entourage of much smaller people that kept asking security where the VIP entrance was. “And to you, as well,” I said smiling. Then added, “Looks like you are already having one.” I don’t keep up with the terme du jour of identity politics, so I don’t know if what I saw was a cross dresser, a transvestite, a trans person, none of the above, or all of the above, but it seemed very out of place here. I was standing outside the Hertz Arena in Estero, Florida, on Halloween night awaiting the spectacle of the Trump rally experience.
Full disclosure here. I am not a “Trump guy.” In 2016, preferring governors from big states to be in the White House, I supported Rick Perry from Texas — who had bona fide conservative credentials behind him and a very successful three terms as Texas Governor. When he failed to gain any traction and dropped out of the Republican Party Candidate herd, I fell in behind Ted Cruz — who, while lacking the administrative experience of a governor like Perry, was still a rock solid conservative in principle. Living in Florida, when the primaries got to my state I actually voted for Rubio, thinking he had the best chance of winning my state and denying Trump its Electoral votes. My thought was that it would come down to Trump and Cruz at the convention and Rubio would join Cruz to defeat Trump.
Trump won Florida anyway. On social media and to my friends, I tried to explain that Trump had spent most of his life as a New York Liberal Democrat, and, if elected, would very likely split the difference between Left-leaning Republicans and right-leaning Democrats, and we would have a Republican president making deals with the opposition party. When Trump won the party nomination, I went to the polls and cast my ballot for him as the party nominee.
You see, I learned my lesson years earlier about being so principled in your politics that you do more harm to them than good. Finding George Bush (the father) insufficiently conservative I joined millions of other Americans who voted for Ross Perot — who got nearly twenty percent of the popular vote; the most in history for an independent candidate. The result of my high-mindedness was Bill Clinton in the White House for eight years. So I was resigned to vote for Trump, who, while he did not share all of my principles about governance, was a better choice than Hillary — who is the self-declared enemy of my political beliefs.
And I was wrong about his governing from the left. I did not count on the Democrats to go bonkers after the election and completely destroy any chance they ever had of co-opting Trump, even minimally.