Politico, the outlet that caters to Washington’s political establishment and disseminates its conventional wisdom, finally discovered that Donald Trump’s supporters are not low-information rubes.
It took an article in its magazine by someone from outside the Beltway—Indianapolis Monthly contributing editor Adam Wren—about Trump’s strong support in what is arguable the nation’s bellwether country, though, to make that point.
“Coastal pundits might lament Trump’s appeal to the ‘low information voter’—but I can tell you one thing: Terre Haute citizens are anything but poorly informed,” Wren wrote in his Politico Magazine piece. “And if Trump can make it here—in this hollowed-out county of swing voters, union halls, three universities and a knot of CSX railroad lines, where voters seem to have a knack for predicting unpredictable elections—he can make it anywhere.”
Wren profiles Vigo County, Indiana, described as “a 403-square mile patch of land along the western border of Indiana” and “at the intersections of U.S. Highways 40 and 41” and off Interstate 7. The county, with its 108,000 residents, is far from ordinary. In fact, as the piece notes, the county has selected the winning presidential candidate in every election except for two since 1888. In addition, the “margin between how candidates fair in Vigo County and how they fair nationwide has been an average of just 4 percent over the past 124 years.”
Further, Wren notes that “another thing that makes Vigo County unique is its apparent number of swing voters. Of its 76,981 registered voters, according to data from the Vigo County Voter Registration Office, 30,290 are Democrats, and 10,280 are Republican. And an eyebrow-raising 40,570 are unaffiliated or have never voted or only vote in generals.”
Wren discovered that “in America’s most prophetic county seat, Trump enjoys a diverse coalition of support, from the 17-year-old punk high school student on the eve of his first election to the 81-year-old Kennedy voter to the kind of folks who will reshuffle their Thursday night plans to attend a county GOP ‘Politics and Pies’ event.”
According to Wren, 81-year-old Parker Eaton supports Trump because Trump, due to his financial independence, is not beholden to the array of special interests in the permanent political class that Americans loathe.
“There’s only one: Trump,” he reportedly said. “The reason why, in my opinion: He spends his own money. He’s not going to have any lobbyist or any high zillionaires that he has to do favors for, and I understand Clinton has already got millions of dollars from China and Japan and all them. So who in the hell does she owe favors to? If Trump got in, he doesn’t owe anybody. I haven’t heard him say one word that I don’t agree with. I don’t think he can do a lot of the things he said, but by God, he’s saying it.”
Trump’s message crosses generations. Wren interviewed 17-year-old Jared Pott, who supports Trump for similar reasons. Pott likes that Trump “speaks his mind, and I think that might be what the country needs.”
“A lot of the presidents don’t really enforce what needs to happen, they just do whatever the country feels like. Other countries just say, ‘do this, do that.’ Trump is just like, ‘no, I want this,’” he reportedly said. “He doesn’t owe anybody anything. Marco Rubio is paid for. Donald Trump is a self-made person.”
According to Wren, those gathered at the Grand Traverse Pie Company in the country weeks after a Fox News Debate in Wisconsin “weren’t the political neophytes and gadflies often chalked up as Trump voters. They were the kind of people who scuttled their Thursday night plans to come to a two-hour event organized by a low-key Republican county chairman. And if the Republican primary were held on this evening, and limited to Politics and Pies attendees, Trump would win, and handily.”
These are the Main Street voters that the clueless GOP establishment—and their mainstream media allies—have incessantly claimed that Trump will never win over in a general election. And while GOP establishment consultants and the mainstream media gleefully mock Trump’s supporters as “low-information” dummies, Wren actually spoke to voters outside the Beltway, who often show that the true “low-information” rubes reside in Washington, D.C. and make up the permanent political class.