"I'm still all Trumped up": America's bellwether county says he's doing just fine

“Oh, Trump—I’m still all Trumped up,” Jane, a retired insurance broker, told me, reveling in the memory of that night one recent weekday afternoon over lunch at Logan’s Rib-Eye, a wood-paneled budget steakhouse situated in Terre Haute, a town along the Wabash River at the intersections of U.S. Highways 40 and 41, just off Interstate 70. Terre Haute proudly calls itself the “Crossroads of America,” a title Indiana would later adopt as its state motto. Across the table, her husband Dick, 73, a former air traffic controller, smiled and nodded. Trump, as far as these longtime Republicans were concerned, had already delivered on some of his biggest promises…

Almost a month into Trump’s administration, Vigo—population 108,000, the nation’s swingiest swing county—seemed to be an ideal place to take the temperature of voters. This year, Vigo swung for Trump (who took 55.4 percent to Clinton’s 40.2 percent), continuing a 60-year streak as the nation’s most accurate bellwether county. In the last 16 elections stretching back to 1956, the candidate who has won Vigo has turned out to be the next president: It went for Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, and then Obama, both times. When I first visited Vigo, well in advance the 2016 primaries, I’d found surprising enthusiasm for the outsider New York real-estate mogul, long before the political establishment was giving him a real shot. They liked his business-minded approach to politics, though Jane conceded at the time that Rubio had a “cute smile.” Now, I was curious: Were the Ameses, and voters like them, happy with Trump so far? Did they feel any buyer’s remorse? Had their lives changed substantively since Inauguration Day?

What I heard, in conversations with nearly a dozen Trump supporters, is that like the Ameses, most of Vigo County is still “Trumped up.” All around town, folks are still buzzing about the county’s winning streak and Trump’s surprise win. You hear it in chatter at eateries like Logan’s and in coffee shops and diners such as Boo’s Crossroads Cafe & Corner Grind, which could pass as a knockoff of “Luke’s Diner” in the show “Gilmore Girls.” And the grist of the coastal media’s hot takes? The lies, the fumbles and faux pas that have rattled the D.C. establishment and global allies? None of it seems to resonate here.

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