Listening to Donald Trump speak is like walking into an ongoing conversation. It doesn’t matter where in his speech you start; it feels like he’s already in the middle of a thought on polls or the size of the crowd or some lowlife reporter, and he has just decided to open his mouth and let you in on it. At his Nashua, New Hampshire, rally on December 28, no one introduced him. He just sauntered onstage to Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It”—the anthem of high school seniors everywhere—and grinned as the crowd chanted his name.
“This is great, I love it. I love it. I’ll tell you—you know, I missed—heh, heh. Thank you. Thank you,” Trump began from the podium set up at the Pennichuck Middle School gym. “We have got to get out and vote; remember that folks. No matter what’s going on in your life, if you’re depressed or you’re down, if you’re—whatever the hell is going on in your life—if you’ve lost your job like everybody else is losing their job, you have to get out, and you have to vote.”
And so it began.
I wound up at the rally because I was on vacation in Ogunquit, Maine, with two friends who also follow politics, and when we heard that Trump would be nearby, our curiosity got the better of us. When we arrived, at about 6:30 p.m. for a rally that was supposed to start at 7:00, supporters in Trump hats and Pats gear had already been in line for nearly two hours in 30-degree weather, talking Trump to pass the time. “He’ll definitely be the nominee,” the man behind me assured his group. The man in front of me showed off a photo of him and Trump from “before he started doing all these big rallies.”