Next stop Albany. On the road with the Trumprenuers

Next stop Albany. On the road with the Trumprenuers

Jessica Rowe from Scottsville with her new hat. Scottsville Road, 4/10/16

For the record, I am not voting for Donald Trump. But the Trumprenuers deserve their day: the dozen or so vendors who crisscross the country selling Trump merchandise.  And today — as people were filtering into the Trump rally at the airport alongside sizable groups exercising their free speech in opposition — I met who I call “the Trumprenuers” on Scottsville Road.IMG_2194IMG_2202

Hawking shirts, buttons, hats, bumper stickers, lapels, you name it — replete with Trumpisms and red, white and blue galore —  Jasper (right) has travelled thousands of miles through the Carolinas, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana and back and forth from Florida. Many of the merchandise nomads, including Jasper, call Florida their provisional home: Tampa, Daytona Beach, Sarasota.


David from Florida

Younger than most — concenssionaires to their core — David has enjoyed his first cross regional journey. The money is good, sometimes very good, but David also likes meeting the many different kinds of people he would not encounter at home in Daytona.


Paige from Florida

Most said they also support Trump, although profit not partisanship seemed the priority motivation.

Paige, a registered independent, is fourth generation concenssionaire.  Her world’s version of the Navy brat, Paige calls herself a “peddler kid.” She said “carny kid” can seem pejorative, laughing a little at her own “political correctness, but this a political rally after all.”

For Paige, a really strange life would be working 9 -5 at a Walmart.  She vaguely recalls being in Rochester as a small child, already getting life on the road in her blood.


with Paige

Like the other vendors, Paige says Trump rallies are where the money is. Clinton rallies can be tepid. Sanders rallies draw big crowds, but “it’s all liberal kids who don’t earn a paycheck.” Or spending their parent’s money.  Every four years, Paige’s company ramps up its production of election campaign merchandise.  This year the investment in Trumpenalia is paying off.


Chrissy from Buffalo, Scottsville Road, 4/10/16

The only northeastern vendor, Chrissy lives in Buffalo although she’ll travel anywhere.  She just returned from a rally in Bethpage, Long Island. There, a crew making a documentary filmed her in action, saying, Chrissy, you are going to be famous.


Mike McNeil from Florida didn’t have that much to say about life on the road. It’s just the only life he knows.


with Jessica Rowe, Scottsville Road, 4/10/16

Excited by her hat purchase was Jessica Rowe, a member of the Air National Guard living in Scottsville. She was thrilled that Trump was coming to her town. Jessica loved the red, white and blue colors, looking like spring flowers enlivening this otherwise dreary stretch across from the airport.

We didn’t really talk politics. Given that their merchandise will appreciate in value if he wins, Trump might be their man. But if they want a candidate friendly to small business entrepreneurs on the road, they might do well also taking a look at Bernie Sanders.


Like at any political rally, there was plenty of horse cookies in the air.


A Trumprenuer on the road at Trumpmania

G.O.P. Fears What’s Next If Trump Can’t Be Stopped — New York Times, February 25th, 2016

“I would sooner vote for Josef Stalin” — Max Boot, 2016; “I foresee very lively election campaigns” — Josef Stalin, 1936 “I foresee very lively election campaigns” — Josef Stalin, 1936

About The Author

Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History and a Storyteller in Residence at the SmallMatters Institute. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY, Lake Affect Magazine and Brighton Connections. My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.


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