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Cockburn Donald Trump US Politics

Welcome to Boater Boy Summer

It’s not just Trump who ‘loves our boaters’

July 27, 2020

3:57 PM

27 July 2020

3:57 PM

When your opponent is pasting you in every poll of swing-state landlubbers, what’s the best course of action? Take to the waves.

‘More than a hundred boaters gathered in Florida for a boat parade to show support for President @realDonaldTrump,’ reads a recent tweet from the Trump campaign’s War Room account. ‘Did you know there has NEVER been a Biden boat parade? How sad! There is no enthusiasm for Sleepy Joe.’

Apologies to Cockburns female Instagram followers, but Hot Girl Summer is so last year: 2020 has given us Boater Boy Summer.

Cockburn has long been obsessed with the ‘boaters’: good, honest coast-dwelling folk who demonstrate their political loyalties by proudly flying the flag of their chosen candidate from the stern of their vessels.

There has been the odd sighting of a Biden boater such as this one in DC, but Americas waterways are overwhelmingly Trump territory. ‘Hey. Proud boaters AND Biden voters. We exist,’ one wrote on Twitter in response to the Lincoln Project. ‘(But admit it’s gotten uncomfortable on the docks/ramps…the Trump cult runs strong out there these days)’

The ocean has long been a populist stronghold where men can be men — think Blackbeard, or Kevin Costner in Waterworld — so Trump is the natural choice for many boat-owners. The President has been eager to promote this particular strand of his base. ‘Thank you very much to our beautiful “boaters.” I will never let you down!’, he tweeted on May 3, a date marked in Cockburn’s calendar as the first day of Boater Boy Summer.


Trump gave the boaters another shout-out in his speech in North Carolina on Monday: When you look at Florida, as an example, and you have thousands of boat out on-boats out on the ocean, out on the Intercoastal, you look at other states, where likewise, you have thousands of boats and they’re all…waving the Trump sign, Trump-Pence sign and they’re so proud, thousands and thousands, you’ve seen it…I think there’s more spirit now than there’s ever been for my campaign, and that includes 2016, where obviously there was great enthusiasm, great spirit.’

If you can’t win the voters, might as well please the boaters. That’s why the President’s campaign fixates on maritime displays of Trump support. As Asawin Subsaeng writes in the Daily Beast:

‘According to two people who’ve been in the room when Trump has fixated on the issue, the President has repeatedly stressed that “boaters”…are a shining exemplar of the enthusiasm gap he enjoys over Biden.

‘“I think we have really good poll numbers,” Trump declared at a press conference Tuesday when asked about his position in the election. “They’re not suppression polls; they’re real polls. You look at the Intracoastal in Florida. You look at the lakes. You see thousands of boats with Trump signs.”

‘At one point last month, the President privately asked in a meeting if his people could organize more boater events and even inquired, “Are we polling the boaters yet?” as one of the sources recounted.

To Cockburn’s knowledge, no one at Quinnipiac or Marist is ‘polling the boaters’ yet. So Philip Bump at the Washington Post crunched the numbers, graphs and all:

‘As you’d expect, it’s coastal states that have the most boating enthusiasts, both because they have more people and because, well, they’re on the coast. As it turns out, Great Lakes states have a lot of boaters, too. And across the board, those who are identified as boating enthusiasts are usually a lot more likely to be Republican than are voters overall in a given state.

‘On average, the boating enthusiast community in a state is 13 percentage points more likely to be Republican than voters in the state overall.’

Some cruel Trump critics in the media have suggested that his campaign are presenting him with images of boaters in order to flatter his fragile ego. But perhaps the President is right not to obsess over polling over three months from Election Day — and perhaps he has a point about the Biden campaign lacking passionate support.

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‘It follows then as certain as that night succeeds the day, that without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious,’ George Washington once wrote to Lafayette. Might the Trump campaign be onto something?

Cockburn wants to know more about the boater way of life. If you’re a boater — Trump or Biden — email cockburn@spectator.us to invite him aboard.


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