ELKO, Nev. – Heck, why not. It was 12:30; I had some down time; I headed to the Red Lion Casino here to watch Donald Trump endorse Mitt Romney. My goal was to see how normal humans, not reporters, reacted to the sight of Trump, in front of a helpful and gold-colored TRUMP logo, speaking up for the odds-on Nevada caucuses winner.
Maybe I chose the wrong setting. At 12:20 I settled in to a bar, each seat in front of a Poker/Keno/Slot/Black Jack machine, and convinced a bartender to flip the TV to cable. Of my four companions, three had their eyes trained on the machines, and the last, a 26-year-old contractor named Brad McGill, was more interested in where I’d come from.
“You’re from D.C.?” he asked. “Have you ever ridden a horse?” I actually hadn’t; on his Shoshone-Piute reservation, he had.
We watched the Trump announcement with very faint audio. McGill couldn’t have cared less. “I’ve been reading about all the people he’s kicked off land after he’s bought,” he said. “How many lives has he ruined?” Trump wrapped quickly, and so did Romney, but McGill had moved on. “The government’s gonna do what the government wants to do. It doesn’t matter how we vote.”