Yesterday was the first day that passing a glimpse of live election coverage gave me the sort of blinding headache that’s typically attributed to a bad hangover. When I saw Ohio shine red, I felt something that can’t be encompassed by the word “surprise.”
The media didn’t prepare me for even the remotest possibility of a Trump victory “” I remember The New York Times reporting a 95 percent chance of a Clinton presidency.
But Viceland’s Thomas Morton envisioned the oncoming scene. Last week’s “Balls Deep” episode is evidence for Trump’s unnoticed ascendancy through the campaigns.
Thomas Morton’s success in covering Trump’s campaign is his ability to enmesh himself in the campaigners’ community. In the “Trump Campaigners” episode, he travels with a grassroots Trump supporter and campaigner named Ralph to a headquarters location in West Virginia before attending Trump’s speech at the Republican National Convention. Ralph’s other Trump-supporting friends in the episode include a Lynard Skynard roadie named Craig, who was one of the few people onboard that survived the band’s infamous plane crash. Scenes from this episode are either surreal, humorous or horrifying, depending on when you first watch it.
The most important part of this episode, however, is really understanding the character of Ralph. He’s a white, single father of two living in Ohio entering politics for the first time after seeing Donald Trump descend Trump Tower’s golden elevator.
Morton lets Trump supporters, who have been generalized as “deplorables,” speak with their own voice. Ralph has several qualities as a voter, one of which is a voice that finally received some attention from the candidate that most of us assumed didn’t have any sympathizers. Ralph’s concerns and fears can be seen as either racism or extreme day-to-day anxiety from feeling left out of the country’s decisions.
The sort of liberal humor that’s inherent to the shows on Viceland is the sort of force that made Trump supporters feel they had to hide their support. Once-closeted Trump supporters clearly had opinions but perhaps didn’t feel those opinions could be discussed or reasoned with publicly.
Watching this show before the election was so entertaining. It was a parody that I could relax with, since I felt sympathy for Ralph and his misunderstanding of how the next four years of American politics would play out under a Clinton administration.
Watching it in hindsight, I see the hidden electorate that created the red states that horrified liberal watch parties across the country on Tuesday.
The media may be blamed for the outcomes of this election, but Thomas Morton made a piece that showed the hidden Trump support base that took swing states just like Ohio.
My information sources turned into my entertainment over the course of the campaigns, and now I reap the rewards of it, alongside all of the other people run down by the Trump train.
Jeffrey Sullivan is a senior political science major with a minor in English. He’s also the in-depth reporter for the Trinitonian. Follow him on Twitter @jsullivaa