The Burlington Free Press from Burlington, Vermont on December 8, 2019 · A7
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The Burlington Free Press from Burlington, Vermont · A7

Burlington, Vermont
Issue Date:
Sunday, December 8, 2019
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Three free-and-easy requirements every month enable you to receive the bonus rate and benefits: sign up for e-statements, make at least one direct deposit or automatic debit (ACH), and make at least 12 debit card purchases. The minimum balance to open the account is $50.00. READY FOR A BONUS? on your checking 3.00%APY crats in every presidential election since 1992. The last Vermont Republican to win the state’s lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, Peter Smith, was elect- ed in 1988, then voted out two years later after just one term. The last state Repub- lican elected to the U.S. Senate, Jim Jef- fords, ended up renouncing the GOP and declaring himself an independent in 2001. “Hard-core conservatives have even less luck running for state offices,” said Garrison Nelson, a political science pro- fessor at the University of Vermont in Burlington. As for Trump, Nelson predicts that the president will be “blown out again in No- vember 2020” by Vermont’s progressive majority. Many anti-Trump voters, Nel- son said, still angrily recall a rally at Bur- lington’s Flynn Theater in January 2016 when Trump told his supporters to take the coat of a heckler after he was re- moved and pushed into the winter’s chill outside. “Confiscate the coat,” Trump said, ac- cording to news reports. “It’s about 10 de- grees below freezing outside.” On a recent weekday, the Flynn Thea- ter was quiet. A worker atop a ladder was installing a sign on the theater’s marquee that advertised an upcoming perfor- mance of “Rudolph the Red Nosed Rein- deer.” Such holiday trappings mask occa- sional hostility and lingering distrust by many Trump supporters toward Vermont and its progressive tendencies. Jay Shepard, a prominent Vermont Republican and member of the GOP’s na- tional committee, says he likes to wear his pro-Trump “Make America Great Again” baseball cap to most places he visits — except restaurants. When Shep- ard goes to a local café, he says he re- moves his hat before he walks in the door. “I’m afraid of what they’ll do to my food,” Shepard said. Another Trump supporter, Ed Daude- lin, of Essex Junction, said he was thrown to the ground by an anti-Trump demonstrator during a confrontation last August at a Trump rally. “Frankly, it pissed me off,” said Daude- lin, 72, who fought in Vietnam with the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division and then served 27 years as a full-time mem- ber of the Vermont National Guard. “I get into plenty of arguments up here,” he said. “I’m going to support the president. I like the way he talks. He’s talking my language. When he says he’s going to do something, he does it.” Bret Powell, 72, a retired attorney from Williston, said he and his wife typically would remain quiet when friends would criticize Trump. “They would start bashing Trump and they assume everyone feels the same way,” Powell said of his friends. A turning point came, he said, when close friends announced they were going to a an anti-Trump rally in Burlington. Powell and his wife did not say anything, but afterwards vowed to not hold back their feelings any longer. “I say to people that we support Trump,” Powell said. “Here’s a guy who’s talking to me.” Perhaps the most famous confronta- tion between Trump supporters in Ver- mont and opponents occurred by a flag- pole outside the home of Gus and Ann- marie Klein on Burlington’s north side. The Kleins displayed a pro-Trump flag on a flagpole atop a camper parked in their driveway. One Sunday, however, they awoke to find that someone had not only removed the flag but burned it, leav- ing the charred remains on their front porch. After the incident was publicized on local TV news and in the Burlington Free Press, Trump’s son, Eric, took to Twitter and send a message that he would be happy to send a new flag. The problem is that the Kleins did not have a Twitter account. The Kleins’ phone started ringing with calls from the 202 area code — Washing- ton, D.C. The calls were coming from Trump’s campaign headquarters in the capital. But they initially declined to an- swer. They said they were not familiar with the “202” area code and thought it might be a robocall. The Kleins ultimately answered. The Trump campaign sent a new flag and an assortment of baseball caps that pro- claimed Trump’s 2016 election slogan, “Make America Great Again,” and his 2020 message to “Keep America Great.” “It was scary,” said Annmarie recently, as a new pro-Trump flag hung from the pole in her driveway. “In the state and city I lived in, I never pictured something like this. I love America, and I love the America I was brought up in.” In her youth, Janet Metz might have protested against the flag that now flies over the Kleins’ home. In 1972, Metz vol- unteered for George McGovern, the liber- al Democratic presidential candidate who was beaten in a massive landslide by President Richard M. Nixon. Metz, 65, who grew up on Long Island, considered herself a Democrat. After col- lege, she took a jobs with a variety of New York politicians, eventually rising to be- come an administrator for the Democrat- ically-controlled New York Assembly. But as she grew older, Metz felt her politics changing. She was especially bothered by the Democrat’s wholehearted support for abortion — and the unwillingness of the party to allow Democrats who ques- tioned any aspect of abortion to run for office. Beginning with George W. Bush in 2000, Metz began to vote for Republicans in presidential elections. In 2012, she took time away from her job in Albany to volunteer for Mitt Romney’s campaign in the New Hampshire primary. Then, after retiring from her Demo- cratic job, remarrying and moving to Ver- mont, she became a Republican. In 2016, she came to admire Trump. “He’s relentless,” Metz said on a recent morning as she sat in a park in Burlington overlooking Lake Champlain. “Would I like him to not tweet so much? Absolute- ly. But I don’t think he’s done anything impeachable.” Metz is not afraid to tell friends that she supports Trump. “I love to shock people,” she said, add- ing that she especially loves how they of- ten respond. “They say, ‘Oh, you’re such a nice per- son.’ ” Mike Kelly is a columnist for the USA TODAY NETWORK. To get unlimited ac- cess to his insightful thoughts, please subscribe or activate your digital ac- count today. Continued from previous page Cover story

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