What’s the Trump Factor in Rhode Island?
Thursday, April 14, 2016
“I can't say Trump's definitely not coming to Rhode Island, it's just not going to be this Friday,” said Rhode Island Trump Campaign Chair Representative Joe Trillo on Wednesday. “I’m seeing a lot of Democrats who are switching to the GOP to support Trump in the primary. Granted, Rhode Island’s not as important as most of the other states. We have 19 delegates, and we don't have winner take all, so if Trump gets 8 or 9 that's not a big deal. But I'm hopeful if he makes an appearance here, he can get to 65% of the vote, so instead of 8 [delegates], that would be more like 9 or 10.”
One of Trump’s biggest supporters is WPRO radio host John DePetro, who said that if Trump came to Rhode Island, he could “not only fill the Dunk, but he could fill the empty Superman building as long as his supporters could navigate through the panhandlers, potholes and poor roads of Providence.”
“If there is any state that needs a lifeline from President Trump, it is here in "Rhode Iceland,” said DePetro. “Trump will get the largest number of blue collar democrats in Rhode Island since 1984 and the Reagan Democrats. The Trump appeal is so strong in Rhode Island due to the complete incompetence of our elected leaders and mistrust voters have in them. People in Rhode Island should proudly announce, “Let me tell you something Pal, I am voting for Trump."
Trillo had acknowledged that he heard “rumors” of protests if Trump came to the state, but that he could not substantiate if those were true — and if they were the reason Trump is not coming this week. Kristina Contreras Fox with the Rhode Island Young Democrats said however she would “not at all be surprised there would be a peaceful protest” if he came.
“This is the guy who said he would ban Muslims from entering the country, coming to the state founded as a haven from religious persecution,” said Fox. “I’m not surprised that Trump's taking this road though. Saying you are afraid of peaceful protestors is another way of dodging accountability for hate speech.”
Cruz, Kasich Camps — and Beltway — Perspective
Former Attorney General Candidate Dawson Hodgson, who is the Co-Chair of the Kasich campaign in Rhode Island, said he expects that Kasich will come to the state prior to the primary.
“We have seventeen people running for delegate - I think it’s the heart of our campaign plate here,” said Hodgson. “I think we're clearly heading to a brokered convention, where the entire ballot will reset. There will be nineteen ordinary Rhode Islanders who can play a major role. We're bound on first but not second and subsequent ballots, and what's unusual about us is we run as delegates for a particular candidate."
“It’s been apparent that the path [to victory] is through the convention, and the delegates are the key to it,” said Hodgson. “Lincoln, Eisenhower, and Garfield [all showed] subsequent ballots are a well established part of the process. “
Former Rhode Island Republican Party Chair Gio Cicione, who is a co-chair of the Cruz campaign in Rhode Island, said that while they’re trying to get their candidate to come, he’d like to see if Mrs. Cruz could come in particular.
“We’ll let you know when we know,” said Cicione.
Cicione acknowledged that it would be “tough” for Cruz in the northeast — but like the other candidates, is pressing for delegates where they can get them.
“We've got a tough job in the New England. We saw the Massachusetts numbers. This is not Wisconsin. It’s going to to be more of a battle, and that's what we expect,” said Cicione. “But it's a proportionaal state, our job is to get him as many delegates as we can.”
Rhode Island native John Goodwin who is the Vice President at public affairs shop The Herald Group in Washington noted how Rhode Island is viewed this election from “inside the Beltway.”
“It’s always nice to feel wanted and now Rhode Island voters have that opportunity. Rhode Island presidential primaries have a history of being inconsequential and thus ignored by candidates. In a normal election year, the Rhode Island primaries normally receive much cooler attention from candidates, but this year is anything but normal and the action promises to be warmer,” said Goodwin. “It’s a perfect storm favoring Rhode Island this year. Usually Rhode Islaand faces the two pronged challenge of a primary date fairly late in the process when nominees have essentially already been chosen and being a small state with few delegates. But the nominating process for both parties this year is far from over and every delegate counts.”
“On the GOP side, unlike anything we have seen since the disco era, literally every delegate will count going into convention. If no one secures that magic number of 1237 delegates prior to the convention in Cleveland it greatly increases the chances – if not guarantees - a contested convention. The name of the game for some now is to deny frontrunner Donald Trump from reaching that magic number and since Rhode Island awards delegates proportionally instead of winner take all it behooves all remaining candidates to make a play here as even 1 of those 19 delegates in RI could factor into that proposition and allow someone other than Trump to emerge from the shores of Lake Erie as the nominee,” said Goodwin.
“In addition, Trump is coming off a few bad weeks of primaries as Ted Cruz seems to have gained some momentum and its increased the talk of Trump not having an outright claim to the nomination,” said Goodwin.” A decisive victory here, coming off an assumed victory in NY the week before, could go a long way to stem the narrative of growing Cruzmentum and make it easier for Trump to claim he is the choice of the voters."
Related Slideshow: Trump in Worcester
Trump fans like this young supporter made signs of their own to show their support for the Donald. They could be seen dotting the line waiting to enter the DCU Center.
For Trump fans that left their gear at home, there was nothing to fear. Vendors took advantage of the passionate crowd, lining up near the entrances and selling buttons, hats and t-shirts like this one.
Star-spangled gear could be seen often outside and inside of the DCU Center. This Trump supporter really worse his love for the Donald on his sleeve.
It wasn't all good cheer for Donald Trump. Protestors lined the streets near the entrance of the DCU Center, and could be hear chanting various anti-Trump sentiments.
This young man's pants left no doubt. He is a big fan of two things—Donald Trump, and the United States of America.
These four Trump fans wore their support proudly on their chest, and they weren't the only ones. Many fans could be seen sporting Trump hats, shirts, buttons and more as they filed into the DCU Center.
You could call this protestor a "one-issue voter." He mixed calls for the return of his favorite discontinued soft drink in with chants criticizing Trump's immigration stance.
For these Trump fans, it was a family affair. The whole bunch turned out to support their favorite candidate.
The cold weather didn't bother this Trump fan. He said he decided to purchase a Donald Trump-branded jacket or sweatshirt inside the DCU Center.
There were plenty of young fans on hand for Donald Trump's speech in Worcester. These two made their feelings on Trump, and his immigration stance, very clear.
Trump had the chance to see him name up in lights on the DCU Center jumbo-screen. It must have been quite the thrill!
Donald Trump made his entrance at roughly 7:30 PM to nearly deafening applause. He paused for a moment to soak it all in.
Trump walked confidently to the podium after being introduced as the large crowd cheer and chanted his name.
Trump fans inside were loud, and cheered the Donald often. They also made sure to snap their own photos of their favorite candidate while they had the chance.
Trump fans in Massachusetts came from near and far to get a glimpse of Donald Trump live and in person.
Standing room only—the DCU Center was nearly filled with supporters who got on their feet early and stayed there for most of Trump's hour-long speech.
Even inside the DCU Center, Trump could not escape the protestors. These unhappy attendees attracted a lot of attention, but were whisked out of the arena by security after only a few seconds.
Trump said time and time again to the crowd gathered in Worcester that he would "make America great again" through smart immigration and trade policies.
Trump said he was glad to be in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and pleased fans by talking about the greatness of hometown hero Tom Brady.
Trump supporters chanted his famous slogan, "make America great again," before, during and after his speech at the DCU Center.
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