My theory is at least half the country doesn’t “get” Donald Trump.
What’s his appeal? Why are so many people flocking to a motormouth business tycoon who takes on the pope and wants to build that wall and hits the bull’s-eye with insults as often as Steph Curry nails three-pointers?
So I went on Facebook with a simple request: “I’m looking for a KC area person who’s working to elect Donald Trump for a column I’m writing. Any help?”
I got help, all right. Lots of it.
Never miss a local story.
Michael wrote: “Check the local KKK.”
Said Duane: “I’ve met a few. I avoid them.”
From Janet: “My daughter has a class full of eighth-grade kids who think he is great. She comes home every day and tells me there is no hope for humanity.”
Barbara wrote: “I doubt anyone would be brave enough to admit it.”
Said Linda: “When you asked ‘Any help?’ was that a request for mental health referrals for the first person to volunteer?”
My goodness. But pretty entertaining, eh? Just like Trump himself.
And you thought Hillary was controversial.
But thanks to Facebook, I finally found my person — former Roeland Park mayor Adrienne Foster, a mother of five and executive director of the Kansas Hispanic and Latino American Affairs Commission.
She was a good sport about this and answered my questions. Trump, she said, is a guy who can get stuff done. After years of sending Republicans to Capitol Hill, nothing was happening, Foster said. She grew so discouraged that she considered leaving the party.
Trump offers hope. If he can’t get it done, then Foster wonders whether anyone can.
A third-generation Latina, Foster said the Republican Party needs to start embracing Hispanics.
Whoa, I said. Trump wants to build that border wall. What about that?
The wall is needed, Foster said. She has seen so many Latinos waiting patiently for 10 years or more to get a green card and become citizens. They’ve waited their turn.
“We don’t like people skipping the line,” she said. “I don’t teach my children that society owes you anything. You’ve got to earn everything, including your grades.”
But what about Trump’s plan to round up illegal immigrants and send them back home?
“I don’t think that’s practical,” she said. “I don’t agree with everything.”
But so many people think Trump’s just flat-out mean, I said. What about it?
“He’s done a lot of great things,” Foster countered. “The media doesn’t portray all of that. They portray what they want people to think of him.”
Polls show that Trump scares people. One of them is my 89-year-old dad.
Trump is a little rough at times, Foster acknowledged. He went overboard in his remarks about the pope. But Foster said she was also a little over the top when she first started in politics. He’ll grow into the job.
Then there’s this: People say Trump’s vague about what he’ll do in office. He’s not offering specifics.
On this point, Foster was adamant: Trump, she said, can’t be bought. He’ll get lobbyists and the big money out of politics.
“That’s one of the silver linings that puts me on Donald Trump’s side,” she said.
Check out his website. Check out his books. There’s a lot out there on what he wants to do, she said.
Then she surprised me. I asked Foster about Trump, the leader. Many Republicans are drawn to him for precisely that. Not Foster.
“He’s a work in progress,” she said. “I don’t think he’s a great leader.”
But, she said, he has the potential to become one.
She said something else surprising: It’s tough to be out front for Trump, especially in mainstream Johnson County. “It’s very risky for me.”
On Facebook, I didn’t get a lot of people admitting they were Trump backers. Even staunch Republicans said they knew of no one who is behind him.
Wrote Roy: “Who would admit to such a thing?”