The Real Trump

Donald Trump at his campaign rally at Pittsburgh International Airport, November 2016
Damon Winter/The New York Times/Redux
Donald Trump at his campaign rally at Pittsburgh International Airport, November 2016

Men of factious tempers, of local prejudices, or of sinister designs, may, by intrigue, by corruption, or by other means, first obtain the suffrages, and then betray the interests, of the people.
Federalist 10


Just when the shooting pains in our legs had become near unbearable—we’d been standing, ten thousand of us crushed together elbow to elbow, for well over five hours—the metal hangar door clattered back like a vast white curtain and unveiled The Plane: red, white, and blue with his name emblazoned along its side in the inevitable gold (with all its fixtures gold-plated as well, twenty-four carat, including the seatbelts)—and suddenly as the familiar silhouette materialized in the doorway, arm extended, all that pain from thousands of legs and backs and craning necks seemed to be drawn out of us into one great punishing roar of sound smashing and echoing against the metal walls of the vast building.

Hands that had been free flew instinctively up to cover ears but most clutched phones and cameras and suddenly all that could be seen amid the hundreds of signs (“Trump: Make America Great Again,” “Hispanics for Trump,” “Women for Trump,” and of course “The Silent Majority Stands with Trump”) were thousands and thousands of tiny screens, held aloft and forward in that curiously contemporary attitude of worship, reproducing across the roiling crowd in an array of pointillistic splendor His Face (rock-solid confident, chin outthrust, jaw set), his open-necked white dress shirt and blue Brioni suit beneath an elegant blue top coat, and of course, perched atop it all as he made his way slowly waving down the airstairs, clapping and punching the air and clasping his hands above his head, the red “Make America Great Again” baseball cap pressed down over the defiantly ridiculous coiffure. “In two days,” he began, addressing the working class of Moon Township, in the shadows of Pittsburgh’s old dead steelworks,

we are going to win the great state of Pennsylvania and we are going to win back the White House. [Huge cheers]… When we win, we are bringing steel back, we are going to bring steel back to Pennsylvania, like it used to be. We are putting our steel workers and our miners back to work. We are. We will be bringing back our once-great steel companies.

To this proud vision of a future as past restored the crowd brought huge cheers. By main force the man with the gold-appointed plane would bring back the glory that had been. How would he do it? First, by his very ascension, for he was here to affirm that those steel mills and mines and the good jobs they offered had been lost through…

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