MANCHSTER, N.H. — I came to town to join the pack of reporters chronicling the last 72 hours of the Democratic presidential primary.

Over the previous months, an unruly field of 21 candidates had been whittled to nine, with Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, and Joe Biden being the plausible contenders.

New Hampshire voters are notoriously independent — or fickle, depending on your point of view. As the polls open, two scenarios are in play:

1. In the contest for first and second place: Will Sanders' rock-solid support survive the assault by Buttigieg’s momentum?
2. Who will finish third? Biden and Warren need that slot to convincingly claim they are still viable. Klobuchar, however, would receive the mother of all bumps were she to make the bottom of the top of the ticket.

All of this is interesting, in a theoretical sort of way. The first chance the nation will have to get a reasonably comprehensive picture of who stands where among the Democrats will be the day after March 3, Super Tuesday on which 11 states will cast ballots including Massachusetts, Texas and California. If billionaire candidate Mike Bloomberg has electoral muscle to flex, it will be evident then.

Meanwhile, we all know that President Donald Trump will be the Republican standard bearer. What we don’t realize — and by “we” I mean those of us who breathe the intensely progressive air of the universities, hospitals, media outlets, and businesses that operate on a national or international scale — is how rock solid Trump's support is. His support may bounce around in a range defined by pollsters of around 40 to 49 percent. But that support is locked in Trump’s vault. It’s his today. And baring a stock market crash or the start of a real shooting war, it’ll be his in November.

When I got here Sunday morning, I wondered how hard would it be to find Trump voters. In retrospect, it was a dumb concern. The first non-media type or non-political operative I encountered was a solid Trump supporter. She was the waitress who served me breakfast. Trump, she said, understood people like her. He wasn’t perfect. The tweets are too much. The call to the Ukraine was a mistake. But ever since she voted for him in November of 2016, her life, and her family’s life has gotten better. She makes more money. Her kids have jobs. The future seems bright. Not all of the Democrats are a menace. She said she could live with “Mayor Pete or Joe Biden.” Because Buttigieg “wore the uniform,” he was trustworthy. And Biden, she said, wouldn’t do anything to hurt “people like me.”

In two days, I’ve interviewed about 20 people in a casual conversational style while they were at work and on the job. All five of my Uber drivers have turned out to be Trump voters.

On Monday, just before noon, I walked the line of the thousands who were waiting to gain admission to Trump’s mega event.

It was raw. A gentle rain was falling. But spirits were as high as at a Grateful Dead concert.

Four years ago, when I went to Trump rallies wearing my press credentials around my neck, I had several unpleasant encounters — nothing physical, but I would call those encounters real psychic violence. Goes with the job. And I had endured far worse closer to home when I covered the first three years of Boston School desegregation with its accompanying forced busing that triggered rioting in some neighborhoods.

By contrast. The Trump crowd was mellow, spirited but saving their energy for the main event later that night. Of Trump, the refrain was: “He gets me,” “He’s got my family’s back,” “He’s smarter than his enemies,” and “I love the way he pisses off the Democrats.”

As the son of a Dorchester working class family, I can sense a blue collar from two blocks away. Here was a crowd of former Democrats, blue collar all, or blue collar who had the wit to start their own family-style business. In France, it’s people like this who take to the streets most weekends to battle the French riot police, who make American police seem almost cuddly.

After I was done talking to the Trumpers on the line, I walked up to Shaskeen Pub to meet my old friend and colleague Chris Faraone for lunch. Chris is a muckraking leftist journalist of the Claude Cockburn mode, and is the driving force behind the Boston Institute of Nonprofit Journalism, which had set up headquarters in the pub, out of which their small army of reporters — foreign as well as American — worked.

I took a seat at the Shaskeen’s well worn but handsome bar and was soon joined by five construction workers — big guys right out of central casting — who were heading for the Trump rally. They had come up from Connecticut and Boston, and they were pumped. Pumped, not just because they liked Trump. Pumped because Trump was President of the United States.

“We won,” the biggest guy said, after he bought me a beer. “And we are going to win again. We come to help Trump out, to show the world that real people really support the president. And we come to have a good time. It’s like a carnival —the music is great, the vibe is great. And Trump is a great entertainer. But most important of all, Trump is a great president. And he is our president.”