Philadelphia is a progressive city, but rural Pennsylvania is hardscrabble Trump country. Longwood Gardens, our destination for Day 3, is about an hour south and west of the city — right through Trumplandia. Somehow, Donald has convinced the out of work coal miners and the pickup drivers and the poor farmers that he cares about them. He does, as an audience and a source of adulation and a mirror in which to reflect his wonderfulness. That’s about it. They are like the people he conned into buying 45M of worthless real estate courses with his brand plastered all over, probably in gold like his buildings. Core Trump supporters live in hope that some of his flash and bluster will rub off on them.
In passing I saw a downbeat strip mall, which seemed to me emblematic of the area and of the relationship between Trump and his people. There were several health-related storefronts: a podiatrist, a mental health agency, a a pain management clinic [think opioids], a family medicine practice, a dental clinic. The other two storefronts were a bail bondsman and a check cashing service. The entire collection of small businesses had a defeated feel about them, and you could hardly see through the big dirty glass windows.
Nobody here is actually going to see Trump hanging around the neighborhood, MAGA hats or no.