Trump supporters reveal who they think would be toughest Democratic challenger to president

President holds rally on eve of Nevada caucus

Andrew Buncombe
Las Vegas
Friday 21 February 2020 22:34 GMT
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On one issue there was unanimity: Donald Trump would be re-elected in 2020, most likely by a landslide.

But for supporters of the president attending a typically high-energy rally in Las Vegas, on the question of who would be the toughest opponent to Mr Trump in November, there was some disagreement.

Stephanie Isquiero, a professor of psychology, said there were similarities between the “movement” of Bernie Sanders, and the campaign of the president.

“One is a red wave, the other a blue tsunami. I suppose independents represent the shore where those waves will crash.” Having voted for Mr Trump in 2016, she planned to do the same again. She liked the way he was handling the economy, she said.

Mike Teague, 65, a retired oil worker, said he had come to support the president because the nation was at a pivotal moment.

“The only one among the Democrats who has the intelligence to do it is Amy Klobuchar,” he said. “She is the most moderate.”

Matthew Castrillo, a 28-year-old coffee shop worker who had flown in from California to see Mr Trump, said he supported the president because he had strongly backed Israel, and recognised Jerusalem as the capital, something his mother had told him was important when he was a child.

As to the Democrats? “The only one is [Michael] Bloomberg, and that is just because of his money.”

Mr Trump has been similarly dismissive of the various candidates, claiming he would beat any of them. Yet some political commentators have suggested the recent Twitter attacks leveled at Mr Bloomberg by the president and his eldest son, might indicate he is somewhat wary of the former New York’s mayor war chest.

Mr Bloomberg has already spent around $400m (£311.6m) of his own money to self-fund his non-traditional campaign and has said he will spend billions to try and defeat the president.

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Lou Ann Buss, a farmer of soy, wheat and cattle farmer, said she had travelled from Wichita, Kansas, to see the president. She said Mr Trump’s trade war with China and the resulting tariffs had hurt people such as her, yet she said she supported the president’s actions.

“In the long run, we will be better off,” she said. “He stood up.”

She also felt none of the Democrats competing to take on the president could beat him. She added: “Maybe [the strongest challenger] is Bernie Sanders. But Trump would blow him away.”

Eddie Sosa, originally from Mexico, said he supported the president because of the strong economy. He said he also supported his hardline immigration policy. “If you are coming into the country you have to come here legally,” said the 54-year-old father of three.

He also suggested Mr Sanders, the 78-year-old Vermont senator, might be the strongest challenger.

Vilate Barlow, from Utah, was wearing a large red, white and blue cowboy hat, bearing the president’s name, said she supported him because of his support for pro-life policies. She said she believed the president has repented his sins, and deserved a chance at redemption.

She laughed at the question of who might challenge the president most strongly in November.

In the end she settled for Mr Sanders, who was named by four of the 10 Trump supporters asked the question, with Mr Bloomberg being mentioned by three people, with one each for Ms Klobuchar, one for Elizabeth Warren and one for Tulsi Gabbard.

The person who named the congresswoman from Hawaii did not do so with much enthusiasm. Martin Molinero, 31, an autoworker from Las Vegas, said Ms Gabbard had military experience.

Also, he said: “She is the one who seems most independent of the Democratic Party.”

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