As Donald Trump arrived to vote for Donald Trump his hair was definitely less orange than when he reported for jury duty back in August.
Maybe he added a little powdered-wig white to the bottled blonde, a hint of George Washington to the Marilyn Monroe.
The result was a slightly more presidential effect as he strode on Primary Day into New York County polling site 110980, located in the tony Central Synagogue Pavilion near his signature tower. A sample ballot taped to the wall read:
PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
VOTE FOR ONE
1. DONALD J. TRUMP2. JOHN R. KASICH3. BEN CARSON4. TED CRUZ
Trump strode smiling up to the front desk with a Secret Service contingent to augment the same bodyguard who had accompanied him to jury duty last summer. His wife, Melania, was not with him.
He called out the same greeting as he had when he entered the juror assembly room at Manhattan Supreme Court.
“How are you?”
The slight change in hair hue made him no less recognizable as The Donald, but procedure was still procedure.
“A photo I.D.?” he asked the woman at the desk.
The woman answered in the affirmative. Trump pulled out his wallet, and officially confirmed that Trump was Trump. He proceeded on to the table for the 46th electoral district of the 73rd assembly district.
“Who are you voting for?” somebody called out from the media mob.
“Easy decision,” Trump said.
In attendance to ensure that all went smoothly as Trump exercised his right to vote before the news cameras was Michael Ryan, executive director of the New York City Board of Elections. Ryan would soon discover that voting had turned disastrously chaotic in too many other places in the city.
But everything here was just as it was supposed to be as Trump started over to one of a row of what are called “privacy booths,” which are small, chest high tables equipped with shields to guard against prying eyes. The agents kept the media mob following him at bay.
“Secret vote,” Trump said. “Secret vote.”
He had been unfamiliar with the jury duty routine, having failed to answer five previous summonses to report. But he is a regular voter and was quickly done without a hitch. He gave a thumbs up.
“It was a great honor really,” he said. “Who would have thought?”
Back in his oranger days, even Trump did not seem to believe he could be a serious contender. He hesitated before writing simply “Real Estate” in the space for occupation in the juror questionnaire, but he did not have the air of someone who imagined he might someday put “President.”
Now here he was, not just on the ballot, but the frontrunner for the Republican nomination. He gave another thumb’s up as he returned with his security contingent to a sparkling morning and climbed into a waiting SUV for the two-minute ride home.
Upon arriving back at Trump Tower, he said as he has often before that the only reason he was running was to realize the goal that he has made his mantra, having lifted it from Ronald Reagan as if it were his own.
“Make America great again!”
One bit of America’s true and continuing greatness had been standing not six feet from Trump back at the polling place in the person of 47-year-old Dean Evans.
Evans was there as a one-day hire, an accessibility clerk for the Board of Elections. He remarked to a reporter that the peaceful progress of the voting here was in marked contrast with the violence of the elections in his native Jamaica during his youth. The talk of his homeland caused him to realize that Primary Day also happened to be the 20th anniversary of when he arrived in America.
“April 19, 1996!” he announced.
By January 1997, he had enlisted in the Navy, serving four and a half years. He was on the amphibious assault ship USS Saipan in October 2000, when the destroyer USS Cole asked to go ahead of it for refueling in Yemen. The USS Cole was bombed and 17 sailors were killed in the berth where Evans’s ship would have been.
“Who knows what would have happened,” Evans said on Tuesday.
Evans reported that he had gone from the Navy to Lehman College, where he graduated with a double major in business and philosophy.
He has written two books, one a thriller, the other a comic novel about a man who buys a picture of a pug that then comes to life.
“And he lives in an apartment where the landlady has a strict no-pet policy,” he elaborated.
But Evans had expected that being a vet and a college grad would have led to a better employment than his present regular job as a security guard.
“I thought I would have become a professional,” he sighed.
His temporary second job as a kind of polling place greeter precluded him from making comments about candidates, but he no doubt would have been cheered to see a candidate arrive who promised to help those who have done everything right but still find the dream beyond their grasp.
The only candidate who appeared at polling site 110980 was Trump, and Evans did not exactly seem to glow with hope. The Donald is still The Donald, however less orange. Even if he let his hair go altogether natural, his bullying xenophobia would still make him seem a foe of immigrants and the children of immigrants, which is to say most of his home city.
One elegant looking immigrant who unquestionably supports Trump did arrive to vote around 2:30 pm.
“Hello, how are you doing?” Evans asked, his standard welcome.
A bodyguard type coming behind her gave Evans a look. Evans heard somebody say, “Melania” and he realized that this was Trump’s wife.
Melania Trump is from Slovenia and she arrived in New York in 1996, the same year as Evans. She registered to vote as a Republican in 2006 and voted in the last presidential election. Her 20th year here saw her check in at the desk with a photo ID, receive a ballot and vote for her husband as president.
“A very exciting day, yes…Very proud…Get to see his name and to vote for him,” she told a diminished media mob afterwards.
Her outsized sunglasses added to her manifest glamour, but she came across as surprisingly pleasant.
“She did wow the crowd,” Evans reported.
Back at the beginning of the day, Evans had stopped into the deli across the street, where he chanced to see TV news coverage of Hillary Clinton voting with Bill Clinton at a polling place in suburban Chappaqua.
Here in the city, Donald Trump’s big mistake on Primary Day was not to vote with Melania Trump. He would have seemed less like a guy who is perpetually voting for himself his every waking hour as well as in his dreams.
At least he is less orange.