After winning what many have called a landslide 60% victory in the New York Republican Primary on April 19, Donald Trump celebrated at his home – the 68 story skyscraper aptly named Trump Tower. Surrounding the media saturated entrance to the building, troves of supporters for the leading Republican nominee showed up.
“It shows a lot, and we’re very happy he won his home state and that people who grew up in (New York) have a chance to support their hometown hero,” said Ernst Achildiyev, a Trump supporter.
With the bustling and iconic 5th Avenue splitting the crowd down the center, reactions from the cars flying by were mixed. As “Trump!” chants started whenever TV cameras made an appearance, drivers beeped their horns in unison with the crowd, while one bus driver even used his outdoor speaker to say, “Make America great again!” as he drove by. Some other drivers used their middle fingers to make their ‘support’ clear.
“(Trump’s) your candidate because he’s not for himself, he’s for everybody,” said Ephraim Haimowitz, an outspoken Trump supporter. “He’s a straight shooter, he’s a real guy.”
Although much of the social media sphere projects that the majority of Trump’s supporters are older and mostly white, the landscape that night showed a much different side of who his campaign followers are. The diversity throughout the crowd was clear as Orthodox Jews were largely represented, along with many Asian and European Americans, some of whom have come from immigrant families.
“Well, as an immigrant myself, immigrating here legally through political asylum from the former Soviet Union, I completely support where he’s coming from,” said Achildiyev on Trump’s plan to bar Muslims from entering the United States.
Trump’s growing appeal to more and more immigrants is surprising to some considering his sometimes controversial ideas regarding topics such as immigration through the southern border and the acceptance of Syrian refugees. But some pro-Trump immigrants seem to feel that it doesn’t necessarily come down to the morality of the current immigration situations, but more so their concern of safety for all Americans, themselves included.
“Securing the border – it’s pretty much like saying ‘Do you lock your door at night? Or do you leave it open? Why do you lock your door?’” said Achildiyev. “Do you understand that the border is the door of our country? Wouldn’t you want to lock that too?”
Although New York has been a largely Democratic state, voting for the Democratic presidential candidate every election since 1984, Trump has a unique relationship with the state and its citizens, as he’s had many building projects and events there, as well as being originally from Queens. This relationship has made him a prominent figure in New Yorkers’ minds for over 30 years, possibly helping to lead to his success in the state now.
“He put up so much real estate here,” said Achildiyev. “Supplied jobs to tens of thousands of New Yorkers, as opposed to these big companies, who speak against Trump, have only robbed this country of jobs.”
Trump’s history in New York and the tri-state area as a whole has been a large contributor to his success. His presence in the Big Apple has given him more nationwide and international exposure than almost any other city in the country could, possibly making his presidential hopes stronger in the process.
Between all the celebrations, protesters arrived not to protest against Trump specifically, but against the idea of corporations’ effects on the federal government as a whole, showcasing a side of the electorate not typically seen. Accusations were flying towards the protesters as event attendees called them ‘trust-funders’, with the protestors firing back that they were fighting against all corporate sponsorship of candidates.
One of Trump’s appeals to his supporters, New Yorkers and others alike, has been the fact that he has been able to largely stand on his own financially throughout the nomination process. This has given him the ability to project an image to voters that he will not be bought, a sigh of relief for many on both sides of the party spectrum.
“(Those against Trump) say that about Trump because they don’t want him to win, because the system is rigged, because he can’t be bought,” said Haimowitz. “That’s why they don’t want him – otherwise they’d say ‘Trump! Trump Trump!’.”
Montclair State | New Jersey