|His biggest selling point|
Linda Luccesse is a handsome woman in her 60s, soft-spoken and calm, tastefully accessorized in some very smart silver jersey that matched the silver hair she pulled back in a ponytail. We sat down outside a Starbucks in Park Ridge, where she lives and used to own a dance studio, and she asked me about the publication I was working for:
“This is a Republican paper?”
“No, the New Republic.”
“So are you national?”
Lucchese is not what you’d call a political insider. She’s never been involved before in a campaign, she said, “Because I’ve never been gung-ho about politicians. But when I heard that Trump was going to be running, I found his website and saw that I was, you know, in favor.” She signed up, and received an email from a Trump campaign coordinator. “You know, ‘Does anyone want to be a delegate?’ So I said I was interested,” and the Trump campaign guy replied, “‘Get these papers in to me.’
“So I sent in, you know, the few papers he needed, and, you know, lo and behold, I was picked as one. And then my name was on the ballot.”
She signed up on the website, and received an email from a Trump campaign coordinator. “You know, ‘Does anyone want to be a delegate?’”
She has no idea why she was one of three potential delegates chosen by the Trump campaign; she suspects it might have been her punctuality. “Because I know most people drag their feet on a lot of things. I pay my bills a month in advance, so there are never any late fees or anything.” She also has no idea why she ended up as the only Trump-pledged candidate to win election for one of the three delegate spots for the ninth district; she never heard back from the Trump campaign with any guidance, nor did she ever campaign. “Though I did go to one Republican club meeting around here. They wanted candidates for different things to voice their opinion, so I went for the heck of it, and, um, voiced my opinion as everyone else did at that time, because everyone was running. So that was about it.” It was her first political speech.
One way or another, she ended up winning, bound for Cleveland. There was a congratulatory email; maybe a few others; she doesn’t really recall. “I didn’t keep the emails, or anything like that. But, um, it was virtually that simplistic.” Sic.
I asked Luchesse what attracted her to Trump.
“Well, I was impressed with—he’s been in the public eye for so long. And there hasn’t really been anything negative about him. Yes, he did have his girlfriend Marla on the side, but he married her, had a kid, whatever. But his television show, I was impressed how he handled it, that he had two advisers,” whose advice he weighed. “And all those celebrities that he went through: You never heard anything negative about him. They seemed to sit there—and there was quite a variety of celebrities on that show—they seemed to sit there, and they showed him respect. They didn’t have to be there. They could have done charity work. In so many other venues. But I was impressed at how he handled it: You know, he listened to those two advisers he had, and then he came up with some rationalization between the two suggestions. And he moved on it. You know, right or wrong, he moved on it. You know: ‘You’re fired. Because you didn’t do this or this.’”
That quality of decisiveness, she said, is “why a lot of congressman are scared of him: ‘He’s going to point the finger at me if he finds what I do. Trump is going to call me out.’”
Lucchese’s voice lowered conspiratorially when she observed that Park Ridge, where she’s lived for 36 years, is Hillary Rodham Clinton’s hometown. “You know, they don’t even know what I know about this town. I’ve had a business here. So I know the town.” (I asked her for details. They were underwhelming.)
I asked if she’d seen Hillary’s latest commercial.
I said, “It involves the man of the hour.”
“Of course. She’s gotta attack him.”
I showed her the new ad, which it turned out she had seen. It’s the one that features little children staring at TV screens as Trump says awful, offensive things. Luchesse’s eyes darkened as she watched. “You know, they could do the same on Hillary.”
She explained her theory that Senator Clinton must have had something awful on Barack Obama, which was how she blackmailed him into becoming Secretary of State Clinton—and that she, in turn, must have had something awful on Obama, or else why would he have forced her out of that job? I noted that Clinton left to run for president, with the president’s support, an interpretation that left her unimpressed: George H.W. Bush didn’t stop being vice president when he ran for president, did he?
I asked Luchesse what she thought of the media coverage of Trump. She was not impressed. “They have to report something sensational,” she said, “so they can get the Nobel Prize or whatever.”