The real presidential contest isn’t happening out in America but right here on Newtown Lane in East Hampton. And, here, in what everyone says is Democrat central, Donald Trump has been ahead all along.
The South Fork has long been a launchpad for presidents — well, if not a launch pad, at least a layover for candidates to eat a bit of barbecue, shake a few movie stars’ hands, and raise advertising and gas money for the last leg of the fall campaigns. It’s been largely Democrats: John Kerry, Howard Dean, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Al Gore; the Clintons even summered here for a few years. No candidate visits are scheduled for this summer, at least none that we have found out about yet. These things have a way of popping up. Stay tuned.
Not that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are unknownsaround here. In 1989, Trump was in the local news for advertising Trump Air’s $199 New York-to-Hamptons chopper service before anyone at Town Hall knew anything about it.
“He was . . . very apologetic, in some respects,” East Hampton Town Supervisor Tony Bullock said at the time. “He really was most reasonable.”
Trump Air and the chopper service eventually went bust. Donald himself kept coming into the 1990s, and when he was married to Marla Maples, they tried their hand at volleyball (left) during a fund-raiser at Atlantic Avenue Beach in Amagansett.
For several summers Hillary and Bill Clinton rented at Georgica, and two summers ago this year’s Democratic nominee stopped in to BookHampton to sign copies of her book, Hard Choices, along with former Vermont Governor Dean, pictured here with Ms. Clinton.
Now, back to that local presidential contest.
“The truth is it’s very, very close,” Valerie Smith of the Monogram Shop reported recently. Trump and Hillary were neck-and-neck in Smith’s brilliant marketing ploy of selling plastic party cups bearing the candidates’ names. She’s been doing it for many election cycles and keeps a running tally in the window of her shop.
“Someone just bought 500 Hillary cups,” Smith said. “But Trump has been ahead ever since we brought in the cups in April. Trust me, some Trump person is going to come in here and say ‘I don’t like all those Hillary numbers in the window.’”
In every election since 2004, her unorthodox cup poll has correctly predicted our next president.