He waits in a bank parking lot, eyes fixed ahead on a dark blue sign across the
street, which bears the name of a Republican presidential candidate. He fiddles
with a video camera, intent this time on catching the vandals that have
been tearing down his message.
About a week ago, he and a woman named Robyn caught a man on hidden camera knocking down their sign. But you can't really make out a face in that video.
"I hope they're scared," he says. "For too long we've allowed ourselves to be
trampled on by these heathens."
Election Day polls would open in less than 12 hours.
John Block IV, a 19-year-old Hispanic student at Santa Fe Community College, may be the most active Donald Trump supporter in town. He paid for the signs at the corner of Governor Miles and Cerrillos Road, along with four other Trump ads. We're not talking flimsy yard signs. Block shelled out $500 of his cash for near-billboards.
"I wish they weren't so dang expensive," he tells SFR. "But I'm willing to do anything if it's for Donald. He's a great guy."
Block, a millennial in an overwhelmingly blue county, knows he doesn't fit our expectations for a Trump supporter. His father, John Block III, works for the state on the Developmental Disability Council and holds liberal views. His grandfather, John Block II, was a Democratic mayor of Española.
The politicization started in high school. "I always had arguments in history class," Block says. "I didn't know I was defending right-wing opinions, but I was." Not long after, he became vice chair of the Santa Fe County Republican Party.
Block says his age group, which largely supported Bernie Sanders in the primaries, probably vote the way they do because of promises for free college. “Bernie Sanders has this message of this idealistic world. But he doesn’t take into account how he’ll pay for everything.”
The student pays his way through business school with a hotel job, working the front desk. Before that, he worked at Red Lobster and Ecco, a downtown coffee shop.
Trump made some comments he disagrees with, like criticizing Sen. John McCain for getting captured during the Vietnam War. But with regard to other controversial statements, Block doesn’t have a problem.
When Trump mocked a disabled reporter, the media took it out of context. "He's not mocking him. He's just being theatrical," Block says. Trump made a logical conclusion when he suggested a gold star mother's religious beliefs kept her from speaking during the Democratic National Convention. "Sharia law is just that. The oppression of women," he argues.
Block believes the local Republican party needs a jolt. "The leadership is very tired," he explains. He started planting Trump signs around town when he realized no one else would do it. "I don't see us door knocking. I don't see us putting up signs."
Standing guard the night before the election, Block says he wouldn't be here if he didn't think Trump will win.
"There's a few hours to go. We need that sign up as long as possible," he says.
At around 10:30 pm, Block left the lot and went to work.
Santa Fe Reporter