SMITHVILLE – In the old days, it was shirts versus skins.
In this apocalyptic version of America, it’s the masked versus the maskless.
The earlier game was played in the street. This game is played on either side of the street.
“The Democrats want to take our guns away,” said one man draped in patriotic grandeur. “It’s too much.”
“Trump… is not any kind of leader for my children and my grandchildren to follow,” said a woman on the other side of the divide.
The salt and pepper bearded presence of Donald Trump, Jr. at a fundraiser this evening prompted the backers of his incumbent Republican father and the allies of Democrat Joe Biden to straddle turf outside the event and trade insults, sometimes viciously and pointedly and other times simply peaceably animatedly, with 42 days to go before the Nov. 3rd presidential election.
The little picturesque old fashioned, salt-water stained town sits not far from Reeds Bay and the Great Bay in the heart of the 2nd Congressional District, where U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-2) changed parties earlier this year in order to affix himself to Trump (who beat Hillary Clinton in 2016 in what is now a 163,821 to 144,188 D-advantage district), prompting a challenge from educator Amy Kennedy.
Kennedy signs dot the landscape in this, her home county not far from her home town of Brigantine.
“We’ve got to show people that we’re going to fight for what we believe in,’ Atlantic County Democratic
Committee Chairman Mike Suleiman told InsiderNJ as he roamed among the 136 protesters he mustered for his cause. “Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are going to do that. I’m really happy about what’s happening with the congressional race. Amy Kennedy’s killing it. And here locally it’s a big deal; you’ve got two Republicans running this event for a shady super PAC… Don Purdy, a corrupt former mayor of Galloway, and [former Assemblyman] Vince Polistina, who hasn’t been relevant in ten years.
“We’ve got to show them if they want to play in Atlantic County, we have a lot of enthusiastic Biden and Harris supporters to fight back,” added the chairman, who brandished a bullhorn.
The Trump backers on the other side of Route 9 – and they looked more numerours than Biden’s allies, or maybe the mass of flags gave their side more bouyancy – waved American flags and Make America Great Again signs.
“Why don’t you have any American flags over there?” one Trump supporter yelled amid a blizzard of red, white and blue at the Biden backers, whose heraldry included at least two American flags tossed among other cause colors.
Francine Starr, who identified herself as a New Jersey resident, occcupied a visible corner of the Trump
protest while brandishing a Make America Great Again flag. “I’m supporting Donald Trump because he’s the only sane person who’s running,” Starr told InsiderNJ. “He’s the only person running who doesn’t support full-term, rip them apart with no anesthesia abortions. I also like his style. I think he’s a maverick. You can’t buy Donald Trump.”
InsiderNJ asked her if she approved of his response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Given the circumstances, he wanted to close our border, and the Democratic congress wouldn’t let him do it,” said Starr, swathed in a American Flag mask and ski goggles, unlike most of her compadres, who roamed the line without masks. “We’re focused on turning New Jersey at least purple again. …We somehow turned blue and that’s why our state is not working.”
A heavy police presence circulated between the two vocally clashing sides and behind police tape in the vicinity of the event, where local and county GOP heavyweights lingered outside in the lead-up to Trump, Jr., observing the street theater with expressions that hovered between amused and bemused.
InsiderNJ attempted to engage a pair of Trump backers and one stuck around and talked while the other, noting a media credential, walked away proclaiming, “It’s all fixed.” Profanity pockmarked comments delivered by the Trump backers, and at least one backer shouted to the Biden partians that they had all flunked gym class.