Trump-ed up Claims for Vigo County
A December 4th Friday cover story in Politico labels Terre Haute “Trump County, USA.” While it’s nice to see Vigo County get national attention, the article caused us to mutter, “Hold on, buddy, not so fast.”
This warning was not addressed to Mr. Trump. Unlike the mainstream media, we would never dream of advising the Republican front-runner to slow down. We were talking back to the writer of the piece, Adam Wren, who seems to have attended the self-fulfilling prophecy school of journalism. Wren claims “America’s most reliable bellwether county has fallen for the wild man from New York.”
Where’s the proof?
Wren explains that he spent two whole days “traveling around [Terre Haute’s] gathering places and waterholes.” His claim of in-depth, on-the scene reporting would carry more weight if he had his own photos. Instead, stills of local spots from the promo for Donald Campbell’s Bellwether Project are used. We have nothing against this project, an attempt to examine what’s behind the fact that Vigo County voters have a long history of choosing the winning candidate in the presidential race.
However, surely Wren could have managed to get some pictures of his own in two days. The man must have a smart phone.
Mayor Duke Bennett, a recently re-elected Republican, is quoted in Wren’s article. Oddly, he doesn’t endorse Trump. He gives a nod to Ted Cruz, and mentions liking a lot of what Ben Carson says. Bennett seems easily swayed by stories of transformation: Violence prone juvenile becomes brain surgeon! Sewage sludge transforms to diesel fuel! Perhaps city finances would be in better shape if Bennett studied Trump’s Art of the Deal. Or maybe Trump could advise Thompson Thrift that a Crisis Pregnancy Center isn’t the best anchor tenant if you’re trying to attract retail business to the Ellis Building which was promised to bring the Terre Haute downtown back to its glory days.
Wren also spoke to 81-year-old Parker Eaton, who swings from party to party, having voted for Eisenhower, Kennedy, Reagan and Clinton. Eaton, a former high school principal, supports Trump because he doesn’t owe anyone favors, while Clinton “has already got millions of dollars from China and Japan and all them.” Eaton admitted, “I don’t think he can do a lot of the things he said, but by God, he’s saying it.” Some might be surprised that Eaton’s garbled grammar was no barrier to his becoming a high school principal – no doubt they’re the same group that harps on the Donald’s lack of experience in public office.
Anyway, we wonder if we are the only locals to have seen Wren’s article. His description of Terre Haute as Vigo County’s “ho hum county seat.” has sparked no rebuttal on Facebook or Twitter. What has happened to our city’s boosters? Why is no one pointing out what a terrific park system we have? Where is the outrage?
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About The Author
Lucinda Berry was born in Terre Haute, got a B.A. in English from Indiana State University, studied in Oxford, England, and worked in Shimonoseki, Japan and traveled a good deal in Asia, got an M.A. in Linguistics from Indiana University, and eventually ended up back in Terre Haute. Her favorite place in Terre Haute is the Swope Art Museum. If she happened to be there when a fire broke out, she would rush to save Jack Levine’s “A Joy Forever.”
I’ve been reminiscing and randomly came across this article. Reminiscing no more! I can’t wait to vote today! Miss you all and all you stand for!