In Aspen, Trump supporters defy stereotypes
Clinton trumps The Donald in Aspen
The Federal Election Commission allows individuals to contribute no more than $2,700 to a campaign candidate during an election cycle. In the contest for president, Republican nominee Donald Trump received six contributions in the maximum amount from Aspen residents. Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton received 69. Some contributors gave the maximum amount more than once because they donated in different reporting cycles. The contributions go back as far as April 2015.
Here’s a look at the donors.
Fl0 Fulton-Miller, Debbie Jelinek, Elaine Sandler, Philip Sirianni, Donald Thompson, Ronald Thompson.
Lawrence Altman, Joyce Amico, Camilla Auger, Rayond Auger, Donna Barksdale, Judith Barnard, Cathy Bern, Deborah Brener, Gabriel Brener, Sam Brown, Ramona Bruland, Bill Budinger, Zoe Baird Budinger, Ruth Carver, Elissa Davis, Bubba Eggleston, Tracy Eggleston, Michael Fain, Judith Family, Darlynn Fellman, Alan Fletcher, Jessica Fullerton, Ephraim Gildor, Michael Goldberg, Jeffrey Grinspoon, Carolyn Hamlet, Sally Hansen, Steve Hansen, Nikos Hecht, Bush Helzberg, Jamie Helzberg, Dale Hollinger, Kurt Hollinger, Sue Hostetler, Robert Hurst, Soledad Hurst, Sandy Israel, Debbie Jelinek, Richard Jelinek, Pamela Joseph, William Joy, Leonard Lansburgh, Mariann Lansburgh, Leonard Lauder, Adam Lewis, Melony Lewis, Pamela Joseph, Laura Kaplan, Rachel Malloy, Valerie Montgomery, Gina Murdock, Jerry Murdock, Pamela Paresky, Anthony Rizzuto, Rudi Scheidt, Maryhugh Scott, Victoria Smith, Jan Soderberg, Kiara Heng Soderberg, Erika Souki, Karim Souki, Lina Souki, Judith Steinberg, Donald Stone, Alison Teal, Christopher Tudge, Anne Uhlfelder, Mark Uhlfedler, Lenny Weinglass.
Source: Federal Election Commission
Take a gander at the front lawn of Maurice Emmer’s home, and his political loyalties leave nothing in doubt.
Three Trump-Pence signs line the yard, along with posters supporting the re-election bids of Rep. Scott Tipton and Colorado State Board of Education member Joyce Rankin.
“I don’t see this as a presidential election between individuals,” Emmer said. “I view it as a choice between what a lot of people call establishment politics and something different than Hillary.”
The number of Trump supporters in Aspen is dwarfed by the number of those pledging their allegiance to Hillary Clinton, at least based on campaign fundraising records, which show the Democrat nominee has raised nearly $713,000 here, while Trump has brought in nearly $148,000, according to OpenSecrets.org.
As of Thursday, 2,615 Republicans accounted for the 15,160 registered voters in Pitkin County, with 5,590 registered Democrats, 6,708 unaffiliated and 247 members of other parties, according to Clerk and Recorder Janice Vos Caudill.
Trump has been a serious contender for the Oval Office despite his verbal blunders and many Republican party faithful distancing themselves from the real estate mogul.
But Friday, a bombshell report broken by The Washington Post exposed Trump’s comments in 2005 about his attempts to have an affair with a married woman, while making lewd comments to Billy Bush, then the host of “Access Hollywood.”
Emmer’s response? More hypocrisy from the left and the media.
“It’s unfortunate for Trump that a recording of his locker room talk was released (gee, do you think the timing was planned?),” he wrote in an email to The Aspen Times after the news surfaced. “I’m sure glad none of my locker room talk has (yet) been publicized. Nor that of Brian Williams, Lester Holt, Anderson Cooper or William Jefferson Clinton. It’s just really rich that this is supposed to be such a BFD, while Hillary’s unprosecuted but well-documented crimes (violations of FOIA, violations of her agreements signed under penalty of perjury to keep government information on government systems, destruction of evidence and obstruction of justice, pay for play) and the Obama administration’s collaboration in these crimes is just fine.”
Trump squares off tonight against Clinton for a second debate leading up to Election Day. It starts at 7 p.m. and will be broadcast from Washington University in St. Louis.
Tired of Beltway politics
Even in liberal-minded Aspen — the seat of a county in which 68 percent of voters picked Barack Obama for president in 2012, and whose mayor is often giving global-warming talks in faraway countries — Trump has his supporters. And they don’t necessarily fit the uneducated-and-ignorant bill that Clinton’s campaign portends them to be.
Emmer is a retired tax attorney. Longtime Aspen resident Terry Butler owns the Residence Hotel in Aspen. Andrew Sandler owns Bootsy Bellows nightclub. One person who paid $2,700 to attend Clinton’s fundraiser in Aspen this summer said privately he actually is supporting Trump. There’s also Aspen resident Debbie Jelinek, who gave the maximum individual contribution of $2,700 to both campaigns. She declined to comment for this story. Butler and Sandler were contacted for this story before Friday’s revelations over Trump’s lewd comments caught by “Access Hollywood” microphones in 2005.
Sandler often finds himself having to explain and justify his support for Trump. He doesn’t back down.
“It’s not hard for me because I’m a principled person,” he said. “I find in Aspen, like you find in a lot of large cities, a lot of liberals. Liberalism is a projection of one’s own insecurities onto the masses. It’s what you think the world should be like. You want your emotions to become reality.”
By supporting Trump, Sandler said he hears the usual questions.
“People say, ‘How can you vote for that racist? How can you vote for that homophobe?’”
But whether they are Clinton supporters or Trump haters, those making such comments get too wrapped up in the emotional side of politics, Sandler argued, instead of digging for substance.
“The only thing people are hearing are the adjectives that hurt their feelings,” he said. “And it’s an epidemic throughout the educational system, all the way through the court system. People say, ‘Well, this person called me this name.’ There’s no backbone anymore.”
Sandler also is frustrated with the Republican Party, which he said left him “many years ago. And the Democratic Party left JFK 20 years ago. You’re dealing with a socialistic movement, and I’d say the Republicans are back where the Democrats were in the late ’80s.”
Frustrated with both parties, Butler said she supports Trump because, “It’s real simple. I want someone who’s not from the Beltway, not someone who’s a professional politician and honestly, I would vote for a ham sandwich if he didn’t live in Washington, D.C.”
Butler called Trump a “very flawed candidate,” but it could be worse with Clinton, she said.
“A lot of people think he’ll be able to make huge changes,” she said. “I think he’ll be able to make some changes, and hopefully take away some of the regulations on small businesses. Being a small-business owner, it seems you can hardly make a living these days without being taxed on this and taxed on that.”
New York and Aspen resident Elaine Sandler, who gave $2,700 to Trump’s warchest, blogged about the presidential contest earlier this month. Getting lost in Trump’s campaign, she wrote, are critical issues overshadowed by red-herring matters, she offered.
“Let’s talk economy or Muslims or border security or the threat of nuclear weapons,” she wrote. “Or let’s delve into how untrustworthy Hillary is. Do Alicia Machado’s weight issues have any significance in this election? Machado was one of Hillary’s shakedown debate picks. Why is Trump still trying to discredit her? He looks weak doing it. This is deception dredged up by Hillary that Trump doesn’t resist, but should. Apparently he likes the fight while frustrating his handlers, who cannot control their candidate when they need to.”
There’s no denying Trump’s mouth has gotten him trouble, Emmer said. But at the same time, he argues that there’s something to be said about a candidate who doesn’t mince words.
Emmer also liked Ted Cruz as a Republican hopeful, a person Andrew Sandler called a “strict Constitutionalist, and I found that fantastic.”
“My ideal candidate,” Emmer said, “would be to have someone like Ted Cruz with Donald’s balls. But we don’t have that.”
Emmer does have his political signs in his yards though, despite the Trump one getting pulled down a few times. His response: He put up not one, but three.
“What I like about Trump is that he has no fear of any interests,” Emmer said.
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It’s campaign season in Basalt. The three candidates for mayor met Monday night in the first forum leading to the April 7 election.