In interviews with dozens of voters in both parties, the driving motivation across the state is anger and uprising.
They’re fed up with lawmakers in Washington, who seem to work two or three days a week and get little done aside from raising money to stay in office. They’re mad about stagnant wages, companies sending jobs overseas and terrorists sneaking in across the border.
The rage is driving the campaigns of the “outsiders.” For Republicans, that’s the bombastic Trump and his chief rival, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, with verbal assaults against his own Republican colleagues.
Trump rallies can be boisterous affairs, with the audience turning on hecklers as Trump urges security to “get ’em the hell out of here.” News cameras captured several white men in November apparently kicking and punching a Black Lives Matter protester at a Trump event. In Vermont in January, he called on his security guards to “confiscate” a protester’s coat. “You know it’s about 10 degrees below zero outside,” he said from the stage. “You can keep his coat. Tell him we’ll send it to him in a couple of weeks.”
On the Democratic side, the discontent fuels the insurgent campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont who vows a political revolution to fix what he says is a system skewed to favor the rich.