'Trump Train' Led By Military-Style Truck Visited San Antonio Polling Sites On Election Day
On Election Day 2020, the Hispanic Conservatives of San Antonio continued a prominent trend of this election season — “Trump trains.”
About half a dozen vehicles assembled just outside the polling location at the Southside ISD administration building. Polls had been open for about four hours.
After waiting around while a Danish television crew wrapped up a live hit with the convoy as the backdrop, the group prepared to head out. Jacinto Martinez climbed into a large, military-style truck at the front of the Trump train.
Many voter advocates in Central Texas were on edge after a huge Trump train organized in San Antonio and followed a Biden-Harris bus on I-35. However Martinez said his military-style truck was intended to get attention, not to intimidate.
“I think anything is intimidating to the Democrat. They have a whole bunch of excuses on why Trump supporters are intimidating to them,” he said. “It doesn't make a difference if I were to come out here on a bike. They would have acted the same way if I was waving a Trump flag.”
On the way to a polling site, several passing cars honked in support of the Trump train. But others had a different reaction, according to Sheryl Meade.
“(Another driver) started honking her horn really loud to get my attention,” she said. “I looked at her, and she was shooting me the finger.”
Meade said the other driver threw a drink at her car. Fortunately, she had her window rolled up.
The group did get in a bit of trouble at the Mission Branch Library polling location. A sheriff deputy gave the convoy a warning for honking as it pulled into the parking lot.
Martinez quickly told the group to stop honking. But he also pushed back, telling the deputy, “I know we have a very strong Democrat sheriff. I’d hate for him to run us out.”
The deputy allowed the group to stay at the site. Some Trump supporters handed out flyers to voters outside the 100-foot restricted zone, and others waved flags along the street.
The loud, dramatic entrance did bother some people, like Janet Bush, who stood near the entrance as the group arrived.
“It was a little bit loud. It was a little disturbing. I think it was a little disrespectful,” she said. “Because everybody's been pretty pleasant and accommodating to each other regardless of what side you're voting for. And so it felt a little aggressive when they all came in, and I think that's how it's supposed to feel.”
She said the tactics toed the line between free expression and intimidation.
The group stopped honking near voting sites after the incident, and Bexar County elections officials said there weren’t any serious concerns about voter intimidation on Election Day.
The morning after Election Day, Jacinto Martinez said he felt hopeful.
“I'm feeling pretty good,” he said. “I mean, it hasn't ended yet.”
He said he feels hopeful that more Latino and Hispanic voters will choose Republicans in the future, especially after Biden dramatically underperformed in the Rio Grande Valley.
“There is plenty of support from Latinos for Donald Trump,” he said.
According to him, Trump’s ideology matches up with the Martinez family’s.
“We want capitalism, not socialism,” he said. “We want to be able to depend on what we do for ourselves and not expect the government to do for us and control us.”
He also said every legally cast vote should be counted, and despite Trump’s false claims to the contrary, Martinez acknowledged that there was no clear winner just yet.
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