The wind whistled as the snow drove its way into the crowd. Feet stomped and noses grew red as the temperature hovered far below freezing. Yet, over an hour before doors were scheduled to open, an intrepid crowd of people weathered the cold and the snow with the goal of getting good seats. At the tail of the line, a man was hawking buttons that proclaimed "Foxy Ladies Vote Republican" and "Girls like guns too" as ready buyers crowded around.
As we waited, we formed a small huddle, shutting out the cold that ebbed around us. A woman behind us was discussing how she had tried to watch the Democratic debate but "couldn't stand listening to those idiots." When the conversation landed on Hillary Clinton, it took a nastier turn with the woman saying vehemently that "I hate her" and that "every time I see her I want to reach through the window and strangle her." As anybody could guess, this was not a Democratic event… our class had finally made its way to a rally for Donald Trump.
After we had passed thorough the metal detectors and taken our place in the gymnasium of the high school venue, we began to watch as the crowd filtered in. It conformed all the stereotypes, homogenous, middle-class, distinctly monochromatic etc. The common denominator of this crowd was disaffection. This was everything the Obama coalition was not. Demographic differences aside, these were people who felt left out, people who felt as though the changes of the past seven years had come at their expense, to the advantage of someone else. They were angry, and their anger showed.
When Trump finally arrived on the scene, Eye of the Tiger blaring, the crowd erupted. What followed was a blur, an incomprehensible hodgepodge of narcissism and chest thumping. An exercise in machismo, an homage to the cult of Trump, haphazardly blending Nixon and Thatcher, with the flavor of George Wallace. He railed against immigrants and the media, against Obama and congress, all to thunderous applause.
It wasn't until the affair was over that I realized, this was as much the creation of Democrats as Republicans. These people were disaffected, and their disaffection was the result of both parties. The political system was broken and in its paralysis, had left America out in the cold. In short, Trump is everybody's responsibility, and it is incumbent of everybody to resolve the problem, or reconcile themselves with a frustrated and embittered electorate for years to come.
~Nathan Webster is Junior studying Political Science and Economics at St. Olaf College. He attended Elk River High School and is a life-long Minnesotan. His hobbies include the Supreme Court, anything by David McCullough, and cross country skiing. He will be working on the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton.