Heather du Plessis-Allan is a columnist for the Herald on Sunday

Heather du Plessis-Allan: In search of Trump fans

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Just who are these people who support Donald Trump? Photo / AP
Just who are these people who support Donald Trump? Photo / AP

As you read this, I am embarking on a great adventure: hunting down and understanding the kinds of Americans who support Donald Trump.

From the comfort of autumnal New Zealand, with its settled democracy and climate of pretending to get along with everyone, I will admit to regular bouts of judgmentalism.

I've judged Trump for the stupid things he's said. I've judged his supporters for supporting the stupid things he's said. I've judged the whole US for being a country in which he is tolerated by many and encouraged by others.

So I'm off to understand the strange breed of people who wouldn't mind his orange fake tan rubbing off on the White House sheets.

I had my first lesson in downtown Auckland.

For an hour I stood in line at the US Consulate, staring blankly at the kids' colouring-in drawings they'd pinned to a bulletin board in a feeble attempt to brighten the depressingly sterile room.

I had nothing to do. My life was put on hold for an hour, so America could feel safe.

They'd taken my phone off me, taken my handbag, checked my identity and scanned me for metals before allowing me into this visa holding pen.

That's America for you. Even in downtown Auckland, the small space America occupies is protected by guards and doors and metal detectors to keep intruders out.

So maybe that goes some way towards explaining why Trump's idea of building a wall to keep Mexicans out isn't really all that outrageous in the States.

But that's all I've got. The support for everything else he says still confounds.

I'm being sent to the US by the State Department. They want me, presumably because I write stuff like this, to have a more nuanced view of America.

That means, they want me to like America a little bit more than maybe I - or you - do.

I don't want to break their spirits, but there's little a single journalist can do to counter the damage being done by one small-handed man with architecturally constructed hair.

Hence, my hunt for the Trump supporters.

I want to find the women who don't flinch when Trump tweets his thoughts on why Hillary Clinton is unsuited for the role of President.

"If Hillary Clinton can't satisfy her husband what makes her think she can satisfy America."

Maybe they don't have twitter. Maybe they can't read.

I want to stalk through New York delis, hunting the parents who aren't weirded-out by the many, many times he has sexualised his daughters.

I want to find Ivanka Trump and ask her if the feeling's mutual: would she date him if he weren't her father? Just out of interest.

I guess I want to do this to learn how we can avoid ever creating a politician like this.

For a few months now, we've been scratching around to anoint some poor sod as Our Own Donald Trump.

Someone suggested Bob Jones because he says what he thinks and punched a reporter on the snout.

Plenty of people have suggested Winston Peters, probably because he and Trump share that shortcut in the brain that causes any thought on foreigners to be formed and spoken in the same moment, without the usual processing employed by normal humans.

But, neither of those men, or any others suggested, are like The Don.

They have the souped up Mustang, we have the hybrid Prius.

They have the quarter gallon Coke, we'd prefer the small water, thanks.

They belt out the Star Spangled Banner at the drop of a hat, we don't know the words to our anthem.

Trump tells us his wiener is "long and beautiful", our Prime Minister tells us he pees in the shower.

And yet, there are people in this gentle country of ours who like what Trump stands for. They say: "I like Trump. He's not PC."

I'm off to find out what makes a Trump supporter and how to avoid breeding them here. And hopefully I don't come back as one.

Debate on this article is now closed.

- Herald on Sunday

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Heather du Plessis-Allan is a columnist for the Herald on Sunday

Heather du Plessis-Allan is a thirty-something trying very hard to avoid growing up. So far it’s working, except for the husband, the mortgage and the proper job. She lives between Auckland and Wellington. When she’s not writing for the Herald on Sunday, she co-hosts TV3’s 7pm current affairs programme Story.

Read more by Heather du Plessis-Allan

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