Dorwinter, Pennsylvania is a city of routine.
Each morning, long before a typical big city workday begins, the sound of the plow drowns out the low moans of the downtown bells. Keys jingle in the pockets of men sent from the low country to search for ore among the soot. A raven mumbles in an alleyway. The sun rises, and, if they’re lucky, sets.
And every day, the residents of this small town take a regimented break at noon to head to their local polling place and vote for Donald Trump, a man who is already president.
This is the Trump Base: a group of concerned citizens who devote a chunk of time seven days a week to casting a ballot featuring Mr. Trump’s name in an election that is not being held. And no matter the reason, one thing is clear: the message of the Democratic elites isn’t soaking through these oak-tough skulls.
“He does what he promises. And so do I,” 57-year-old Miranda Weaver tells me, over an ice-frosted beer at the Thirsty Rivet downtown. “On the campaign trail, I pledged my support to Mr. Trump. And so every single day, I write his name on a piece of paper, slide it across a desk to god knows who, and make a little bow towards Washington. The city.”
“Trust me, I will never stop voting for Donald Trump,” Kacey Mars, 34, tells us, her shirt still featuring a price tag from an entirely different shirt. “If covering my MAGA hat in blueberry perfume and kissing it counts as voting for Trump, then I do it twice a day,” she continues, kissing at the air.
The Democratic establishment wonders if it can ever win over people like Miranda and Kasey. Trump’s first year and a half in office has been pockmarked by scandal, greed, and boorish behavior. So why isn’t the opposition making inroads into the minds of those who vote for Trump each morning by balling up a piece of paper and tossing it into the river?
“On Christmas Day, I voted for Donald Trump. To do what? I don’t know,” Kent Musgraves, 62, shouts unprompted from the other side of the room. “To keep on keepin’ on,” he finishes, stubbing a cigarette into his bare knee and wincing in pain.
“It was joy, not pain,” he clarifies.
With progressive faces like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez dominating local headlines and tensions between mainstream party lines ever-blurring on the democratic side, can the turmoil-stricken party reach a consensus by the midterms? Or will that be too little, too late for a country so firmly damaged by polarity?
While I typed that previous paragraph, everyone in the bar wrote Donald Trump’s name on a slab of granite and placed it in one of those hats with a propeller on it. The votes just keep on coming.
At 3:00 PM, a faraway whistle from the factory indicates to the gathering crowd that it’s time to go back to work for the evening shift. The front door opens, pouring sunlight into the dark establishment, illuminating a pile of uncounted Trump votes. Perhaps, if the Democrats try hard enough, one may be a Biden vote by tomorrow.
The Times will be returning to Dorwinter for an update next week.
Adam Weinrib is a UCB-trained actor, writer, and producer born in Brooklyn and raised upstate in the way weirder New York town of Croton-on-Hudson. You can find him writing and performing with the sketch groups Sorta Best Friends, Rad Motel and Garlic Jackson. Adam contributes to ClickHole, Onion Sports, College Humor, and Bronx Pinstripes, in addition to producing a 30 for 30 film for ESPN. Content he’s created has appeared on Grantland, Gawker, and Deadspin.