LAFAYETTE (KPIX) – The Bay Area has been a Democratic Party stronghold for a long time now, and that hasn’t changed with this election. But the presidency of Donald Trump has emboldened Republicans to speak out like never before.
It has never been very easy to be red in such a blue part of the country.
“For many, many years growing up in the Bay Area, it’s always been a situation where if you’re found out to be a conservative Republican you’re kind of demonized, you’re shamed, forced to go into a corner and not say anything,” said Concord Republican Matthew Tarantino.
“They’re hateful, saying things like, you old lady…ten years from now you’re going to be dead and we’re going to be happy…really mean, mean things!” said Esther Wiens, a Republican living in Danville.
But Monday morning, on an overpass on Hwy 24 in Lafayette, those campaigning for Donald Trump were greeted with honks of support. Clearly, something has changed.
“I’m not intimidated anymore,” said David Gaskell. “I feel very strongly about my beliefs. I’ve got patriots out here. I feel really comfortable expressing my opinions.”
Republicans say the thing Bay Area Democrats hate the most about President Trump, is that his caustic, unapologetic rhetoric has inspired many to stop worrying what others may think of them.
“We shouldn’t be ashamed for what we believe in,” said Tarantino, “even if we’re outnumbered, even in the Bay Area. That’s okay because we can say, ‘look, this is what we stand for.’”
Meanwhile, there’s a Biden/Harris sign hanging on David McGrath’s Danville home, even if the long time Democrat doesn’t exactly feel the same level of passion.
“People have concerns about Biden, and I think correctly, but he was the best candidate to beat Trump,” said McGrath.
So is this whole election really about Donald Trump, one way or the other?
“I guess you could say that, yes,” McGrath said. “It’s either for or against.”
Back at the overpass, those who are “for” Donald Trump were reveling in their newfound confidence.
“When they give me the finger, I just give ‘em a kiss and say, we love you anyway!” said Esther Wiens, “They don’t understand that, because they expect us to be mean back.”
As for what they’ll do if President Trump should lose, none of the Republicans KPIX spoke with would address whether they would accept that outcome, saying only that they expect him to win.