Came home from a meeting Tuesday night to find all hell breaking loose online as editors of Capitol Hill Blue, my political news web site, dealt with the expected win of Donald Trump in the Indiana GOP primary and the unexpected withdrawal of long-shot challenger Ted Cruz from the Presidential race.
We stayed up most of the night dealing with the new stories flowing in about a night that all but guaranteed the GOP nomination to Trump and an all-but-certain general election match-up between the flamboyant billionaire and former First Lady, Former Senator and past Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
What does all this mean for Floyd County? For a start, Republican voters in the county — a GOP majority — gave 42 percent of the vote and the victory to Trump in the March primary earlier this year. At the time, the GOP field was still crowded. Cruz finished a distant second and Marco Rubio even further back in third. Both are now gone from the race and Trump is cruising to the tally of votes he needs to clinch the nomination before a convention that most felt would be contested.
On the Democratic side, however, Floyd’s Democratic voters preferred socialist Bernie Sanders 70-30 percent over Clinton. Sanders is still in the race and won Indiana by a thin margin Tuesday but Clinton has far more delegates and is expected to go into the Democratic convention with the nomination clinched this summer.
Conventional political thinking says Clinton should beat Trump in the general election because the factions that control elections in America — African Americans, Latinos, women and those who don’t support typical right-wing demographics can’t stand Trump.
This, however, is nothing near a conventional election year. No one expected Trump to triumph in the GOP primary. The real estate developer, former reality show host and foul-talking misogynist and racist has never run for any political office in his life and to take the Presidential nomination? No way,
Trump became the poster boy for those angry at Washington (and there’s a lot of them) and is the preferred candidate for white supremacists (a lot of them out there too) and those who think that any candidate with no political experience is better than any Washington insider.
Are there enough of those kinds of voters out there to give Trump the Presidency? If Floyd County voters reflect the thinking of the nation, it could happen. The odds say no but those same odds makers said he could never be the GOP nominee,
America, by and large, is a nation with a lot of anger, driven by hate-filled racists and bigots and extremists who despise anyone who doesn’t fit into their narrow view of how everyone else should act and think.
That anger, racism and bigotry is all around us here in Floyd County.
We see and hear religious extremists in local churches pound the pulpits and call gays sinners and call for vile punishments from a God that they claim is just as bigoted and hate-filled as them.
We see large Confederate flags flying from the backs of pickup trucks driven by those who claim they are honoring a Southern “heritage” that doesn’t exist while they litter local social web sites with racist posts about our African-American President and diatribes about the Mexican residents of Floyd County who thrive at menial jobs that others consider beneath “real Americans.”
Racial slurs and hatred against anyone with a differing opinion or lifestyles cover the bumpers of too many cars around here. The defend their spread of hatred as “free speech” but then turn around and demand restrictions against others who want to expressions of others who are trying to exercise their right to freely speak.
Will they flock to a racist, con artist and misogynist like Donald Trump?
He will carry Floyd County and most of the localities in Southwestern Virginia. The odds, at the moment, say Trump won’t carry Virginia — a state that voted for Barack Obama.
Those same odds say Trump won’t be our next President.
Let’s hope those odds are right and the haters, bigots and racists we live among here are not.