No Democrats (and No Trump) at the Knox County Fair
Every year I make it to the Union Fair held in Central Maine. There’s always something a little different; this year $5 earns you a chance to drive in a demolition derby, and there’s a country cover of “Tainted Love” playing over the speakers.
When I go to the Fair each year I make a habit out of checking in on any and all political activity at the fair. Ten years ago, local Democrats had a table, but over successive election cycles that table lost its people, then lost its pamphlets, and finally was gone altogether. I haven’t seen any Democratic Party activity at the Union Fair for four years now.
The Republican Party has always had a tent, but its contents have changed considerably over the years. Ten years ago, religious tracts had a significant presence. When Tea Party activists took over a few years back a whole range of pamphlets and books calling for economic deregulation and worship of the rich took their place.
Both religious and tea party literature are absent in this year’s tent. In their place is literature on Ballot Question 3, a referendum to tighten background checks on gun purchases (local Republicans are opposed) and a number of bumper stickers, buttons and lawn signs promoting local candidates running for office.
The word “local” should be emphasized: despite the national media fuss over Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump this season, there was not a single shred of pro-Trump merchandise or messaging to be seen in or around the Knox County Republicans’ tent. It may be that pro-Trump messages are so wildly popular here in rural Maine that, even on just the second day of a seven day fair, all pro-Trump artifacts were already snatched away. The other possibility is that the Knox County Republicans have decided to follow the strategy being whispered in DC’s monied halls: if you’re a Republican who wants to win office this November, you’ve got to run away as fast as you can from Donald Trump.