In Oregon, Partying Like Trump Is Already President

When I saw a convoy of City of Salem SWAT vehicles and canine units headed down Interstate 5, I knew I was headed for trouble. Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump was scheduled to appear at the Lane County Convention Center in Eugene, Oregon, at 7:00 p.m. The fantasy scenario I’d written up months ago was becoming reality, though with a slight adjustment. Trump would visit the home of the University of Oregon Ducks, not Portland.

When I arrived at the venue with my press credentials, I was waved through to parking, and after the last Secret Service sweep of the building, the press lined up for body searches. Equipment-laden reporters and photographers were given a good sniff test by bomb-sniffing dogs, but I sailed through. When you’re mostly doing think-pieces, you travel light.

The nice thing about a press credential is that you’re cordoned off and have more personal space than you would among the general admission crowd. I even found a chair, and a perfect view of the podium. The bad thing about a press credential at a Trump rally is that you have to wear the badge, and I knew he was going to call out the press corps as dishonest, horrible people. It’s become an integral part of Trump's live show -- a riff about the deeply embedded distrust conservative and traditionalist citizens have for the news media. It’s enough to engender doubts about whether the unabashedly leftist media bias is going to be effective this cycle.

As the convention hall filled up, a serious-sounding voice came over the public address system, asking Trump fans not to touch any protester who manages to infiltrate the event. Rather they should point at them and chant “Trump!” until security can eject them.

One thing that struck me while waiting was the heavy rotation of Rolling Stones songs on the campaign soundtrack. “Let’s Spend the Night Together,” “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” “Heart of Stone.” Earlier in the week, the Stones told Trump to stop using their songs. He may owe the Glimmer Twins some royalty payments.

There was a crush towards the front as the moment of arrival drew near. A woman came out of the scrum covered in sweat. Leaning on the press barrier, she told me she’d given up her place at the edge of the stage because she felt she was going to faint from the heat. Moments later, a young man staggered out of the crowd -- and literally collapsed at my feet.

He was quickly tended to by other patrons, who put damp napkins on his head and got him off the floor.