Excerpt – ‘How Trump Won’: Pandemonium in New Mexico

Trump New Mexico hangar rally (Joel Pollak / Breitbart News)
Joel Pollak / Breitbart News

How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, by Breitbart News Senior Editor-at-Large Joel B. Pollak and New York Times bestselling historian Larry Schweikart, is being released by Regnery Publishing as an e-book on Tuesday, January 17 via Amazon (Kindle) and Barnes & Noble (Nook), and will be released in paperback form on Monday, Feb. 27. The following is a special excerpt from the book.

It’s an amazing spectacle that never quite seems to wear thin. And it seems, as we walk toward the hangar, that there is something indomitable about that airplane. The Republican nominee for president has a private plane, and he knows how to use it. The lights, the music, the choreography of landing and coming to rest in front of the hangar—it’s almost comical in its stylized heroism. One wants very much not to be taken in by it. And yet it is arresting, impressive, even moving.

While the plane slows on the runway, I talk to people in the crowd. There are a larger than usual number of Hispanic Trump supporters here, reflecting the demography of the state. One tells me that Trump was not her first choice; she didn’t even like him when he was on The Apprentice. She sees herself as more conservative than Trump.

And yet, challenged by her liberal friends to defend him, she refused to back down. And she’s “stuck with it” ever since.

Inside the hangar, the noise is deafening as the jet appears, the word “TRUMP” emblazoned in white near the nose. When the candidate does not appear right away, the crowd chants, “We want Trump!”

And soon a staircase is rolled up to the aircraft, and the door opens, and he appears, waving. It’s pandemonium in the hangar. This is a campaign Coloradans did not expect, that nobody could have anticipated. For two elections, talk of expanding the map has been just talk. Now Trump is trying for it.

He rifles off a list of polls in states where he has suddenly regained the lead. Florida is one. Ohio is another. He promises to win in Ohio and Colorado. And then he pauses — this is not good, he tells the audience — we are only tied in New Mexico. They boo. He promises to win in New Mexico. They cheer.

He asks who has voted early. More cheers. In that case, he says, there’s no point in a rally — you’ve already voted. “To hell with you,” he jokes. More cheers.

A scuffle breaks out just a few yards away from where I am sitting in the media tent. This is the first major protest effort we have seen in a week. Two young men have unfurled banners. One of them reads, “Get him outta here.” The people around begin chanting: “Trump! Trump!”

Trump keeps speaking over the commotion — he has learned not to goad the instigators. The police arrive and pull the protesters out. It is unclear what organization they are from.

He continues with his stump speech. By now I have heard it a dozen times. Once again, the advance team has done good work planting local variations inside the body of the main text. But the substance is the same. And I suspect the crowd has heard it before, as well. They know every chant and cue: “Drain the swamp!”; “Build the wall!”; “Lock her up!” And, of course, there is Trump’s ritual jeering of the media: “the worst people”; “the biggest liars in the world.”

As familiar as it is, this time Trump’s speech has an edge of excitement. This is not a reliably conservative state. This is New Mexico.

Trump is not even supposed to be here. But he just kept fighting, and started to regain momentum just in time for the FBI revelation — and now it looks like he may just have a chance at winning.

The fact that he is spending time and money to be here is a sign itself. The polls may not show it, but he is surging. To his fans, anyway, he is winning.

There are a few odd moments. One young man is carrying a crumpled Confederate flag. I see him hovering near the media pen. I wonder if he is going to unfurl it in front of the cameras. He may be a Democrat plant — a provocateur.

I call him over and ask to interview him. He says he is a “Southern boy” — from southern Illinois, anyway. I ask him what the connection is between the flag and Trump. There isn’t one, he explains. “I carry it because I believe in it,” he says.

But the people around him have begun to notice him, and somehow the Southern boy from Illinois loses his nerve, and leaves the flag alone.

Trump finishes his speech and boards the plane, which taxis away. The crowd files out, and we leave for our own plane.

We are exhausted, and we have another flight to go — this time, to Michigan, where Trump will try to expand the map again tomorrow, to a state that Republican presidential candidates have coveted, election after election, in vain.

Hillary Clinton does nothing like this. She does not pack every possible moment with events, or fly across the country. Covering Clinton is a much easier assignment, and also a more boring one. There’s not much to do, not much access to anything, and no sense of drama or adventure.

Despite their continued skepticism about the man, the journalists — doomed to play the Washington Generals to his Harlem Globetrotters, several shows a day, every day, until the election — seem to be enjoying the sudden shift in mood.

We board the plane, which is about to become a lot more crowded.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. His new book, How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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