On a Saturday morning in Waikiki last month, tourists strolling along Kalakaua Avenue were startled by a convoy of about 15 vehicles. Drivers honked their horns and passengers, some riding in the beds of pickups, roared deliriously.

The purpose was clear, judging by the campaign signs secured to the vehicles and what the passengers themselves were shouting about: passionate support for Donald J. Trump, the Republican nominee for president of the United States.

Ahead of the convoy, a man in a Toyota Prius eyed the mini-parade in his rear-view mirror. He reached for a boombox and pressed “play.”

A Trump sign-waving millennial waves the American flag from the flatbed of a truck driving through Waikiki, Oct. 22.

A Trump supporter makes her sentiments known from the flatbed of a truck driving through Waikiki late last month.

Anthony Quintano/Civil Beat

It was a rap song from YG & Nipsey Hussle titled “FDT (Fuck Donald Trump).” The driver cranked up the volume before turning left on Kaiulani Avenue to ditch the Trump train.

It’s not clear whether any Trump fan heard the protest song.

But the contrast between rabid Trump supporters and one obvious opponent — as well as the reaction of passersby offering shakas in support or gestures indicating otherwise — made clear that the most surreal, contentious presidential election in recent memory is very much in play in the 50th state.

Hawaii Elections Guide 2016

Representatives of both campaigns say they are aggressively in get-out-the-vote mode in the Aloha State.

This includes traditional efforts (sign-waving, debate and convention parties, phone banks, canvassing door to door) and less conventional, like the spontaneous parade down Kalakaua.

The boisterous demonstration for Trump in Waikiki reflects what his Hawaii supporters say is a growing enthusiasm for the campaign.

“Get out and vote,” said Kimo Sutton, co-chair of Team Trump Hawaii. “I don’t care what side you’re on. There is a saying in Hawaii: ‘No vote, no grumble.'”

Dylan Beesley, the coordinated campaign director for the Democratic Party of Hawaii, said his party’s members are showing up early to do their duty.

Democratic Party of Hawaii headquarters during the third and final presidential debate in late October.

Democratic Party of Hawaii headquarters during the third and final presidential debate in late October.

“Six days out, people are fired up,” said Beesley, who is also the Hillary for America state director in the islands. “Twenty-eight million have already voted across this country, and I am confident that we will see strong numbers here.”

Hawaii is a reliably Democratic state, but it did favor Ronald Reagan in 1984 and Richard Nixon in 1972.

“I don’t care what side you’re on. There is a saying in Hawaii: ‘No vote, no grumble’.” —Trump supporter Kimo Sutton

In 2004, Vice President Dick Cheney spoke at a rally at the Hawaii Convention Center in the waning days of the campaign. The re-election campaign of George W. Bush thought Hawaii might be in play. (It wasn’t. Democrat John Kerry won the state.)

But interest in the 2016 election drove Hawaii voters to turn out in sizable numbers for the GOP presidential caucus and Democratic presidential preference poll, both held in March.

While establishment Republicans had favored Jeb Bush (who dropped out long before the Hawaii caucus) or Sen. Marco Rubio, Trump won handily. And, while establishment Democrats favored Clinton, Sen. Bernie Sanders crushed her in the Dems’ poll.

Dozens of Trump supporters rallied for a sign-waving event near Iolani Palace last month.

Dozens of Trump supporters rallied for a sign-waving event in front of Aliiolani Hale last month.

Anthony Quintano/Civil Beat

Now, with some national polls showing the race tightening, Hawaii supporters of both candidates are stepping up their efforts.

Beesley, who coordinated the re-election campaign of the late Mark Takai, has been flying between islands a lot. Earlier this week, he helped organize a get-out-the-vote rally in Wailuku, Maui, that featured top Democrats such as Gov. David Ige, U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz and U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

“I am confident that we will see strong numbers here.” —Clinton supporter Dylan Beesley

“We have been organizing since June to fill the capacity, to talk to the voters that we need to talk to, to build up our volunteer supporters, and that’s a long process,” he said. “We certainly believe that when Democrats turn out, Democrats win, particularly in Hawaii. So, we work hard at that.”

The party attracted good crowds at debate parties, events that help register voters and ask them to volunteer.

Republicans also held debate parties.

A Hillary Clinton sign outside the Democratic Party of Hawaii headquarters in the Ward Centre area of Honolulu.

A Hillary Clinton sign outside the Democratic Party of Hawaii headquarters in the Ward Center area of Honolulu.

Anthony Quintano/Civil Beat

But sometimes the best way to get attention is to make a little noise.

Team Trump Hawaii hadn’t planned to zip down the tourist strip.

But, after attracting 60 or 70 people to a sign-waving rally near the King Kamehameha statute in front of Aliiolani Hale the morning of Oct. 22, some of the supporters decided to jump in their cars and trucks and head to Waikiki.

In addition to the Trump signs and banners that day, there was a depiction of Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party nominee, in an orange prison jumpsuit.

A screenshot from the Team Donald Trump 2016 Hawaii Facebook page.

A screenshot from the Team Donald Trump 2016 Hawaii Facebook page.

Marissa Kerns has led get-out-the-vote efforts for Trump in Kapolei, Honokai Hale, Ewa Beach, Mililani and Kailua.

“We have been sign-waving for two months three times a week,” said Kerns. “A lot of Democrats tell us they are not going to vote for Hillary. They could not stomach her, they do not like her, so they are going to stay home.”

Kerns, who like Kimo Sutton has run for office before (unsuccessfully), is not troubled by media reports of Trump’s alleged misbehavior toward women, immigrants and minorities, even though Kerns is female and originally from the Philippines.

“I have no trouble,” she said. “I am 105 percent for Trump. Rick Hamada (the KHVK radio host) asked me the same questions, and I said, ‘Even women talk like that.’ It’s a non-issue, a personal attack. Democrats will do everything they can to win an election, and that is sad.”

Screenshot from the Hawaii for Hillary Campaign Honolulu Headquarters Facebook page.

A screenshot from the Hawaii for Hillary Campaign Honolulu Headquarters Facebook page.

Beesley was asked about the rough week for Clinton that included big increases in Obamacare premiums, more WikiLeaks of emails from her campaign staff and the FBI’s announcement that it was taking another look at her emails when she was secretary of state. He stuck to campaign-speak.

“I think we see Secretary Clinton making her case to the American people, that this election is truly a choice about the country we want and for our kids,” he said. “I think the secretary is confident in her vision, where we build an economy for everyone and not just those at the top. We are coming together to solve the challenges we face.”

Beesley added, “We are not going to take anything for granted. We will work until the polls close on Nov. 8.”

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