From the Trenches at the Nevada Caucuses – Part 3 – Amongst Republicans

This is Part 3 of a 3-part series on the Nevada Caucuses. Here is the Previous episode, Part 2

3.0 – I enter the nest of the Republicans

I approached the high school where the Republican Caucus was going to take place as if I were scrambling over rocks to approach Mordor. I hadn't even told that many people where I was going. I calculated the odds in my head… 50-1, I would die here today. Not bad odds, but still. 75-1, sold into slavery. 14-1, gang raped with a plunger like Amadou DialloAbner Louima. Fistfight? Even money.

I got out of my car and started following a woman who seemed to know where she was going. No yoga pants, but it was not unpleasant using her ass as a lighthouse, guiding me to the hive of crazy. I could hear them all chanting some mysterious incantation. Would there be a cross burning? It was goddamned freezing, so if there was, would I just run away? Or would I go warm up by the fire for a bit?

It was like wasp's nest (heh, see what I did there?). There were a lot of them gathered around the entrance, and then a mysterious series of passageways… I took a deep breath… I went in.

People streamed in as if it were a sporting event or a concert. While the Democrats looked like a homogenous group of rummage-sale clothed drones, resigned to lives in the salt mines of life, the Republicans were actually a lot more diverse. There were guys non-ironically wearing cowboy hats, a guy with that helmet where you put beer cans, just with soda cans in it. Mexicans. There was even a black guy — although he was blind. Lots of fat guys in MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN hats. Clearly, the Trump crowd was the dominant gang.

All of the "precincts" were tables in a high school cafeteria, but it felt like each table was supposed to be a place where someone would try and sell you Amway products or give you a 1 minute speed networking session. I sat down at my precinct, and still no Yoga pants moms, but there were a few of those Republican women who don't blink. The conversation was scintillating — it was as if someone had put on an episode of "stereotype theater" for me. The woman next to me was SO EXCITED to meet a neighbor, and she immediately asked me "what in the hell is going on with all the break ins around here?" I just looked at her blankly. "Probably because of the new mall," she said. I wondered if that was her code word for "Mexicans." I don't think it was. But, I was inside the Trump hive mind. Anything could happen.

Knowing that this scene could break out into violence, torture, horror at any moment, I chose my words carefully. I tried not to make too much eye contact.

I then explained that the homes on the perimeter of the neighborhood, where the wall to the "outside world" was, well they were getting broken into. But, those of us on the interior, we were all relatively safe. Everyone nodded. She said, "Yup, just too much temptation with that wall there and they see the nice homes, hop over, steal something, someone is going to get hurt."

I decided to conduct an experiment…

I said "yeah, we gotta do something about that… you know what I think? We need to all go to the next Homeowners Association Meeting and demand that they increase our HOA dues to pay for a higher wall around the neighborhood." Everyone nodded with approval. "It isn't our homes being broken into, but if our neighbors' homes get broken into, that's not ok, we gotta stick together!" Everyone was loving the idea. I was making friends.

"They could raise our HOA dues by $100 a month and get us some real security! We can afford it!"

I was very popular at the table by now — what calling for "law and order" and a nice big wall.

I had just called for raising our "taxes" to pay to help other people out… surrounded by MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN hats and Cruz buttons.

I laughed inside. I am in you, Republican devils. Ha! Live Republican trolling!

"Don't get cocky," I said to myself. That was really fucking stupid. If they figured out that I had just suggested a tax increase for the common good, they would have torn me apart like salt water taffy, except with bile and the sound of snapping bones and ligaments. I wondered how long the tendons would hold my joints together as they ripped me to shreds.

I realized that unless I actually told them, they wouldn't be able to figure out that I had voted for Obama in 2008, and that I was really rooting for Bernie Sanders.

Then, the unthinkable happened… Out of nowhere comes a friend of mine, Chris. He is a hard core Republican Mormon guy, and he KNOWS that I'm a pro-gay-marriage, Bernie Sanders loving, porn guy.

"MARC, HOW THE HECK ARE YA?" He gives me that "Mormon smile." If you don't know, Mormons can actually make much larger smiles than other humans. That magic seer stone smile filled face of his, and all of a sudden I freeze… "Chris! How the… hi… hey, fancy seeing you here!" As if he would be anywhere else…

He introduces me to his wife, who hugs me like I'm her long lost brother. I hold on just a little longer than I ought to when hugging a friend's wife that I never met before. Not anything creepy, I just knew that I was going to be killed within 10 minutes, and I just wanted one last embrace from a woman. I took a deep whiff of her hair. Not in like a sexy way… I just wanted the smell of a clean Mormon woman's shampooed hair in my lungs as they filled with blood as the Trump supporters took one of many steps toward "Making America Great Again," by stomping on my face screaming "TAKE THAT YOU LASAGNA EATING PIECE OF SHIT!"

Any second now, and Chris was going to out me. Not on purpose. I imagined he would just say "so, what he HECK are YOU doing here! Hey, everyone, my buddy here, he's a Socialist porn lawyer!"

And that would be how I would die.

The crowd was so dense they could just form a circle around me and kick me to death. The sheer number of concealed hand guns in the place was enough to start a genuine revolution, not that hippie Sanders crap. The encounter took all of 25 seconds… but it felt like being on the run for three years behind enemy lines. Everything slowed down. I breathed.

I remembered how MacDonald gets caught by replying in English to a Gestapo agent who wishes him "Good luck". Don't be McDonald. Don't be McDonald… Don't say anything… stupid…

And then he just swirled past, waving over his shoulder. His Marco Rubio pin shining in the light almost as bright as his white white white Mormon teeth. "Mormons are great at dental hygiene," I thought.

Someone tapped me on the shoulder. "Can I borrow a pen?"

I screamed: "BERNIE SANDERS, I WANT BERNIE SANDERS TO WIN, OKAY? HE'S FUCKING AWESOME!"

Everything froze for me…, as I say about 5 or 6 times a day, I wondered "did I just say that out loud?" I really wasn't sure… FUCK.

I half expected the entire room to go quiet. Maybe the sound of a record scratching. Then, some big black guys to come up and say "mind if we dance wit' yo' dates?" But who was I kidding? This was the Republican caucus… there was only one black guy here, and he was blind.

The woman just looked at me and smiled… not even a "this guy is crazy" smile, but just a "hi, have you found our lord and savior Jesus Christ" smile. I handed her a pen. "I like him too," she said. "He's honest. But, I just think that Donald Trump has the best chance of making us safe from all that this Muslim traitor has tried to do to destroy our country."

She didn't even skip a beat.

"Did you hear? Today he said he wants to give Guantanamo Bay back to the Castro brothers!"

I said, "well, that was one of his campaign promises, and one of the reasons I voted for him was that I didn't want to have this 'constitution-free zone' in Cuba."

Everyone at the table was interested in what I had to say. I explained why I thought Guantanamo Bay was an awful thing. And they asked questions. And nodded. And… jesus christ… I was now proselytizing total Leftist shit in the middle of a crowd of Trump supporters. I looked around for my Mormon friend. At least he was wearing a Rubio button… and I had given $50 to the Rubio campaign. Maybe he could save me before the Trump-ites held me down and did the Louima thing to me.

"That makes sense," one of them said. "I guess it just feels like surrender. And you have to admit, if you voted for him cuz he said he was gonna do that, and he's just getting around to it, he's sort of a shit, wouldn't you say?"

"yeah…" I shrugged. "You got a point."

We talked for a while. Them all explaining why they liked Trump. Yeah, about half of them had overdosed on Fox News and believed that Obama was a Muslim, and terrorists were hiding under every rock, and Obama had ruined the country. I couldn't quite get what "ruined" meant. But, they were so damned civil. Here I was talking about how I really wanted Bernie Sanders to win, and how we should close Guantanamo Bay, and raise our HOA dues to pay for better security patrols… and the most negative thing anyone said was "oh, that's nice" in a non sarcastic way.

Nobody was arguing with anybody.

I noticed that Jeb Bush and Carly Florina were still listed on the ballots. People started handing their ballots in. The caucus went on until 9:00 PM, giving people four hours in which to come in, shoot the shit about how much they hated Obama, hug each other, talk about getting together some time. Drop off their ballots and be home in time to catch whatever they catch on Fox News.

I won't say these were the smartest people I had ever met, but they sure as hell weren't the sub-humans the press seems to find to represent the "average Trump voter." In fact, as misguided as some might think they are, they weren't any less brilliant than the morons at the Democratic caucuses. The average intelligence level seemed about the same. But, the Republicans were all smiling. They were a group of genuinely happy people. It was totally weird. Their views were angry, but they were not.

That was one big difference. The Democrats were all scared. They were all pissed off. Pissed off at the banks. Pissed off at (and scared of) Trump. The Democrats were fuming about Obamacare being taken away by Sanders (yes really). The Sanders people were pissed off at Hillary for selling us out to the Banks. Everyone was just miserable.

Meanwhile, the Republican Party felt… well… like a party. I all but expected someone to spark up a joint, or at least hand me a flask.

There was no coercion. No union reps walking around watching who was where. The ballots were secret, and you could just vote without sitting in a segregated pen. People discussed the issues, but nobody got bussed in, and nobody seemed to have been told who to vote for by any bow-tied preachers.

There were a few MILFs in yoga pants.

It was weird. I've never voted Republican before, and I don't think I agreed with my neighbors about anything except the need for a wall — around our neighborhood — not on the border. They knew I was a Socialist in their midst, and that I didn't agree with them about anything, except that I didn't want Hillary Clinton to be president.

I think they were nice to me in part because they thought I might be mentally disabled myself, especially given how nervous I was… and what with the outburst about Bernie Sanders. I think they may have actually thought I yelled out FRANKS AND BEANS!

But, all in all, I have to say that while I want the guy on the Left to win, I will be looking up the Trump supporters to have cocktails with.

Last 5 posts by Marc Randazza

Comments

  1. Lambert says

    Amadou Dialo was shot and killed by NYC cops in a hail of 41 bullets. All because he had his wallet in his hand. But I'm sure you actually knew that.

  2. Erik says

    Yup, the Republicans often appear to be less obviously insane. That's probably the reason it was difficult for me to quit them, even after I figured out how stupid it all was. But the "weren't any less brilliant" bit eventually overwhelms one and at a certain point enough becomes enough.

    Personally, I don't see how progressives can stand being around each other, except in the "misery loves company" sense. If you're not talking about politics, they'll find something else depressing to whine about. I avoid the hell out of them. Republicans have religion to teach them how to smile and pretend to enjoy abusive relationships, so I guess they have more practice at least looking happy. They're ok to hang out with as long as the conversation stays apolitical. Mainstream libertarians generally have a conversational spectrum that is exclusively restricted to hating other libertarians whose beliefs are 0.001% different than theirs. I avoid mainstream libertarians the way sensible people avoid leper colonies. The most fun are the middle- to upper-class anarcho-capitalists. They know they're fucked and tend to treat politics as bad entertainment they're forced to pay for – like your friend's kid's play that they drag you to. You can either whine about it or get intoxicated and giggle a lot, and they go for the latter. They also tend to be atheists, so you can make rude jokes about just about anyone and anything, and they have the dankest Facebook memes. Be careful of the poor AnCaps, though – they tend to be about as gloomy and bitchy as progressives.

  3. jrnev53 says

    Abner Louima was the guy sodomized with a broomstick by police officers in the right wing nightmare that in New York City.

    You seem to have strongly held views of conservatives that aren't shaken by actually meeting conservatives.

  4. Josh says

    Sigh,

    Why is it that only leftists write these ridiculous "Gorillas in the Mist" style pieces about hanging out with fellow citizens who happen to have different outlooks on politics. I don't know how tongue-in-cheek this post is supposed to be, but there seems to me to be enough honesty mixed in with the snark to treat it seriously.

    Marc, I respect the hell out of you for being a warrior for civil liberties. I'm sure by now you've realized that Popehat has an ideologically diverse audience, and I hope in the future when your posts veer into politics, you show respect for this subset of your readers.

  5. Matt W says

    Personally, I don't see how progressives can stand being around each other, except in the "misery loves company" sense. If you're not talking about politics, they'll find something else depressing to whine about.

    I hang around with progressives at parties all the time, and I don't know what you're talking about. Progressives have fun. We compare the varieties of kale we're growing in our community gardens. There's a new vegan restaurant down the street that everyone should try. If you want, I could help you get a state rebate for your new electric car. Oh, and god, you have to try this indica strain. You haven't seen The Wire? So good. Dude, I brewed that myself — super hoppy right? I went down to TJ last weekend to watch the Xolos play and it was sick. Jessica Jones + Luke Cage = the hotness; they need to work that shit out. And, OMG, Idris Elba as Roland Deschain is fucking inspired! I've got tix to the Chvrches show next month; wanna go? I cannot wait for the new Mirror's Edge game. Hey, I heard about a great bicycle ride out in the desert; we should totally check it out.

  6. Aaron says

    This has got to be the best part. Did you actually do this? I wonder what would have happened if you said "you know, I just suggested we raise our taxes" after they all agreed with you. Please do so next time, if we don't hear back we know they killed you and put your head on a pike as a warning to keep out the burglars.

    I decided to conduct an experiment…

    I said "yeah, we gotta do something about that… you know what I think? We need to all go to the next Homeowners Association Meeting and demand that they increase our HOA dues to pay for a higher wall around the neighborhood." Everyone nodded with approval. "It isn't our homes being broken into, but if our neighbors' homes get broken into, that's not ok, we gotta stick together!" Everyone was loving the idea. I was making friends.

    "They could raise our HOA dues by $100 a month and get us some real security! We can afford it!"

    I was very popular at the table by now — what calling for "law and order" and a nice big wall.

    I had just called for raising our "taxes" to pay to help other people out… surrounded by MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN hats and Cruz buttons.

    I laughed inside. I am in you, Republican devils. Ha! Live Republican trolling!

  7. DanA says

    @GGM

    From everything Marc said I don't think he actually voted at the Republican caucus, just went and hung out and chatted with people for a couple hours while they voted.

  8. Dan Weber says

    @Josh

    If you read what Marc wrote here, while he self-described all the nasty things he thinks about Republicans, he admits that in their behavior they were perfectly fine, and lists the ways in which they were superior to the other group.

    The only thing he did wrong was thought crime: he was thinking bad things about people, and thinking they would do bad things. But they failed to act badly and the bad things didn't happen. And Marc certainly didn't do anything bad to them.

    I wish we could have a world where more people were at ease to talk about their inner biases because they aren't going to be punished for them.

  9. A.G. Pym says

    Marc seems to have discovered independently what P.J. O'Rourke did years ago. ". . . but we have all the fun!" (Can't remember which book that's from just now).

    ps – not a member or supporter of either wing of the Government party.

  10. Echo says

    So obviously fake. Republicans love lasagna.
    We'd have called you a "KEES-…QUII–… QUICHE EATING PIECE OF SHIT!!" before the lynching.

  11. Castaigne says

    There's a hint given here that you're missing. I'll spell it out for you. If these are the people you want to have a cocktail with? Then they're the people who's beliefs you should support.

  12. Josh says

    @Dan Weber

    I agree. I just reread my comment, and it now sounds more negative than I intended. I'll elaborate.

    I have no basis on which judge whether nor not Marc is being genuine when he acts surprised to have discovered that the Republican caucus-goers were not sub-human, but I suspect not. Given the overall tone of all of the caucus posts, I would guess he was going for humor (perhaps with even a bit of self-deprecating honesty mixed in). I just find the caricature of Republicans he presents to be all too common in online forums. Popehat, however, seems to be an exception. That’s not to say there’s never lively discussion or heated debate. It just seems to me that having some common ground (that being a shared appreciation for the 1st Amemndment) leads to more respectful discussion.

    I absolutely didn’t want my comment to sound like punishing Marc for admitting to, and later questioning, his inner biases. My request to show respect (note, I didn’t say “more respect”) was just a friendly reminder to the “new guy”* that not everyone who enjoys reading Popehat shares his politics across the board.

    *”New guy” might seem an odd phrase, given that today was my first comment. I only mean that I have lurked here longer than he has been a contributor.

  13. Matthew Cline says

    I could hear them all chanting some mysterious incantation.

    "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn"

    but there were a few of those Republican women who don't blink.

    Ahhhh, the Innsmouth Look.

  14. rsm says

    There's a hint given here that you're missing. I'll spell it out for you. If these are the people you want to have a cocktail with? Then they're the people who's beliefs you should support.

    So much wrong in so few words. I'll spell it out the same way I do for my kids. Nice people can have shit ideas and believe endless amounts of garbage. Conversely, assholes can have great ideas and perfectly acceptable no-nonsense beliefs. I still won't invite an asshole to my BBQ party, and I'll still help my really nice republican friend who thinks Mexicans and Arabs are invading St. Louis volunteer at the local foster home during the holidays. Whether or not I like someone is only one, tiny, part of whether or not I agree with them. All the more now that we have the internet.

  15. Dragoness Eclectic says

    For all you people who deplore Marc expecting Republican caucus-goers to be subhuman: after reading parts 2 and then 3, I'm pretty sure Marc is riffing on Hunter S. Thompson. Hopefully he isn't on quite as many recreational pharmaceuticals, because that's unhealthy, and we need our ferocious defenders of the Bill of Rights to stick around.

  16. Storm says

    @Castaigne

    I'd have cocktails with Donald Trump, Rand Paul, or Hillary Clinton. That doesn't mean I'd vote for them. Don't confuse being civil, civil discourse, and polite company with supporting a person's political or social view points. Intolerance of just being around someone of an opposing political view is how we've gotten into whole partisan BS and rancor that's infecting not just DC, but has a trickle down effect into the rest of our society. It's no wonder we've got growing incidences of road rage and other hate and anger induced crimes against each other when we can't even sit down and be polite without the echo chambers you want to relegate everyone to.

  17. says

    These three posts about your caucasus, or whatever the hell you call these weird things just makes myself as a foreigner wonder WTF kind of magic pixie dust are you lot in America smoking (democrats, republicans, and wackadoos alike) and is proof positive that your political machinations are just plain fucking weird to the rest of the planet.

    Though it was a great read and Marc – your kids sound amazing though I can guarantee they will (with the wisdom they have already) drive you insane and make you very proud when they get to be teenagers!

  18. Ahithophel says

    With all due respect, I'm not sure that getting them to agree to spend money — assuming they would have actually signed checks at some point — on their own immediate community, for something that they agreed was in their own interest, was much of a troll. They're Republicans, not autistic pandas.

    A more impressive troll would have been to get them to agree to spend their money on people with whom they felt nothing in common, for a very indirect and theoretical "benefit" to themselves. "If their lives improve, they won't feel the _need_ to steal from you. Seriously, it would be cheaper in the long run." THAT might have made idiots of them.

    Maybe a little harder to do, though.

  19. says

    @Castaigne:

    There's a hint given here that you're missing. I'll spell it out for you. If these are the people you want to have a cocktail with? Then they're the people who's beliefs you should support.

    But what if I enjoy going out for drinks with more than one person, and not all of my friends agree 100% on every issue? What am I supposed to do then?

  20. Michael Cox says

    @Ahithophel, We conservatives call that charity. Give money to the less fortunate to help them out, preferably in your community so you can see the money's spent well. And I don't even need a government agency to do it!

    I'm not sure just how much sarc was intended in all three posts, but I have to say that Marc seems a bit too race-y. Why focus on what color, ethnicity or religion everyone is? Made the whole thing a bit too icky 1970's for me. I was hoping we were past that now. I hated the 70's…

  21. Echo says

    Ahithophel, that was the joke.
    "a higher wall around the neighborhood"? Our community (of people within our borders) has to stick together? "Law and order and a nice big wall"?

  22. Ahithophel says

    Ah. Well, I have other reasons to think that I may be seriously humor-impaired. No, really. It's fairly trivial as impairments go, but I should probably avoid comboxes.

    No, no, don't get up; I'll let myself out.

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  24. Guy who looks things up says

    @ Michael Cox

    @Ahithophel, We conservatives call that charity. Give money to the less fortunate to help them out

    That's great. It actually does help and promotes good feelings all around.

    At the same time, it falls far short of the actual need. Always has, always will.

    And while you conservatives give with one hand you use the other one to vote for state legislatures that allow rural hospitals that serve mainly the less fortunate to wither on the vine. How does this happen? By interfering with Obamacare, red states have blocked access to health insurance to millions of less fortunate people. No health insurance means fewer hospital visits which means less hospital revenue which means fewer hospitals.

    So if I were a conservative I don't think I would boast about my charity.