The reality is, that brash and outrageous message is resonating with voters—millions of them. And that's what makes it so fascinating. Whether it's his billionaire populism, or the fact that its fun to have a reality TV star in an otherwise dull presidential race, there's something about Trump that's firing up voters in a way the Jeb Bushes and Scott Walkers of the world are not.In an effort to get to figure out just what it is that makes people want to vote for Donald Trump, I headed out to a high school in Hampton, New Hampshire, a small beach town where the real-estate mogul was holding a rally Friday night.By the time I got there, a long line is already saking down the driveway. I find a couple of ladies near the end, chatting cheerfully while they wait for The Donald to arrive, and asked what brought them out to the event. The women—Massachusetts real-estate agent Kathryn O'Brien, a real estate agent who owns a horse farm, and her friend Elise Graves, a retiree who described herself as a "chauffeur for grandchildren"— said they've been big fans of Trump, and drove up to New Hampshire to hear him speak. Both said they consider themselves conservatives.
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I hear variations of this again and again Friday night. Behind almost every policy issue is another sign of America's decline: Bridges and roads are crumbling because the US is spending too much money on foreign aid; American jobs are disappearing because Washington negotiated bad trade deals that benefit China and Mexico while America struggles; terrorism remains a threat because the US doesn't do enough to look after its own. And all of this is a result of US leaders who are just too nice—to politically correct. Trump, or at least the campaign caricature of himself that he's presented to voters, is the opposite: a tough guy who, as his campaign slogan promises, can "Make America Great Again."Trump's signature issue, illegal immigration, falls squarely into this framework. If America was strong, it would have a strong border wall to protect them; if it was smart, it wouldn't have been outsmarted by the Mexican government, tricked into accepting anyone who manages to sneak across the border."I've had friends who came over here from other countries and went through legal means and went through all the right processes," said Tracy Bliss, a nurse in a Harley Davidson shirt who's come down from Maine to attend the rally. "And it's not right that they have to be threatened with deportation because a period wasn't in the right box on a piece of paper, and these people [undocumented immigrants]can just go walking right through and come right in."