A liberal goes to a Trump rally to see what people are like.
What do you think he discovered?
If you’re a conservative you, of course, know the answer.
But Samuel Donner, who does the “100 New Friends” video series on TikTok, didn’t know the answer, according to Fox News.
As a self-professed Los Angeles liberal, he admitted he was nervous about going to a Trump event in flyover country.
And he was pleasantly surprised. “Going in I was expecting aggression,” Donner said in a video played on “Fox and Friends” with Steve Doocy, “but I actually experienced a lot of kindness.”
Donner’s videos feature him wandering about and approaching strangers to ask, “Want to be friends?”
He decided to stretch himself by taking his gimmick to a Trump rally in Memphis.
To Donner’s surprise, the Trump rally “was much more friendly than what I was expecting,” he told Doocy.
Do you think Trump supporters are more friendly than Biden supporters?
Yes: 100% (153 Votes)
No: 0% (0 Votes)
“Growing up in L.A., you think these events are going to be like very aggressive and also I was just kind of saying that I was a liberal, but I was absolutely like baffled that people wanted to talk and would actually be friends with me when I asked — ‘Want to be friends?’ And they said ‘Yes.’”
Donner said his project seeks to find common ground among people. “At the end of the day, humans have a lot more common ground than we’re led to believe.”
Responding to Doocy’s question about the reactions of Donner’s friends to his Trump rally video, Donner said, “They’re like ‘You’re going to like Memphis, one of like the homicide capitals of the world and of the country. And there’s a lot of gun violence over there and then you’re going to a Trump rally on top of that?’
“It seemed fairly scary and I think that’s honestly what I wanted to test — like can I go into what I thought was the most hostile environment that I could?” Donner said.
“But when I went,” he continued, “I told [my friends], it was actually fairly friendly and I think, again, it’s just about starting those conversations.”
Doocy speculated that when Donner sought a hundred friends on his Memphis, Trump trip there probably would be, perhaps, two who would be his friend.
In reality, 45 out of 100 people Donner asked said they would be his friend.
“Yeah,” Donner said, “I was so nervous going in, like I had a pit in my stomach the whole time. The Trump rally was the last day I was there, and I was just kind of talking to people around Memphis before that.
“And so before the Trump rally I’m like no one’s going to want to talk to me. And there were a couple people who did not want to talk to me.
“But overall everyone was super-friendly.”
So welcoming and friendly did Donner find people that a young woman named Holly invited him to church so Donner’s video shows him and Malik attending a women’s Bible study.
Interestingly, TikTok comments responding to Donner’s video raised the question of what would happen if a conservative ventured into the land of liberals. The response probably would not be as welcoming.
@100newfriends Replying to @100newfriends ♬ original sound – Wanna Be Friends?
Donner is not the first liberal to venture into the wilds of Red State America.
In 2017, former NPR CEO Ken Stern left his Democrat bubble to “engage Republicans where they live, work and pray,” as reported by The New York Post.
“For an entire year, I embedded myself with the other side, standing in pit row at a NASCAR race, hanging out at Tea Party meetings and sitting in on Steve Bannon’s radio show,” Stern said.
He went pig hunting in Texas and saw young evangelicals passionate about “spreading the good news of Jesus.”
Unlike stereotypes he had learned, the only anger he saw was in himself — at his ineptness at hunting. Also, he learned the realities of defensive gun use.
Stern concluded, “I did that and I love it, though I regret waiting until well after I left NPR to do so.”
Likewise, Arlie Hochschild, a sociology professor at the University of California at Berkeley, spent five years around Tea Party types in Louisiana.
Though irritated by talk radio and Fox News playing in the background, Hochschild, in a 2016 KQED Radio interview, refers to her research subjects as “friends” and speaks with genuine affection in her voice.
The media — and now the president of the United States — denigrate the people of flyover country.
But like Donner and with Stern and Hochschild before him, they need to get out more.
If they come to the heartland they may discover more in common with the Americans they meet there.
As folks in the South, where I live, say –“Don’t be a stranger, now.”