I had the opportunity to spend two hours with Doug on his exceptional program and lunch afterwards as well. When Doug asked what I thought would happen in the next sixty days I offered a metaphor from real life. In March 1971, my friends from grad school and I drove from Purdue to Gary, Indiana to watch a large screen presentation of the first Ali-Frazier fight. We were among the only few white people in the joint. Many times, before and since, I have found myself in venues with comparable ratios, but never one in which the racial tension was so raw and palpable.
In Gary and beyond, no fight had so racially polarized America in decades. This, I thought, is what Ali had wrought. He had the crowd not so much pulling for him as against the imagined race traitor, Joe Frazier, and anyone, black or white, who dared cheer for him. Gary, that night, was a cauldron of hate, a harrowing, volatile place to be. Still, the fight proved to be worth the risk. It was both brutal and brilliant as only great fights can be. Going into the fifteenth, it seemed to all of us too close to call. “OK,” I said to my friends between rounds, “we’re out of here.” They resisted. I explained patiently that if Ali lost a fight that the crowd expected him to win, there would be hell to pay, and we’d likely do the paying. I talked them into standing at the top of the aisle. In the fifteenth round, Frazier knocked Ali clean off his feet. The crowd anger turned from us to Ali. One angry black man stormed by us at the exit. “Muhammad Ali, my ass,” he growled. “That’s Cassius Clay.” My point: expect a knock out punch from Trump in the fifteenth round, and the mobs to leave deflated.
Nearly 200 boats took to the choppy waters of western New York’s Lake Chautauqua on Sunday in in a show of support for President Donald Trump. Although Ronald Reagan won the state in 1984, it is highly unlikely that Trump will repeat that performance. He has, however, taken over Chautauqua County and virtually all of the state’s counties beyond metropolitan New York.
In 2008, Barack Obama won the majority of Chautauqua County’s votes. In 2016, Trump won the county by a 20 point margin, a margin he may expand in 2020. The energy level on Sunday was reminiscent of the energy Obama engendered in 2008.