Presidential candidates are normally experienced politicians who’ve repeatedly won elections to state and local offices, and thus can count on a certain measure of popularity in the neighborhood where they live and vote. Barack Obama’s numbers in Chicago, for example, are through the roof.
Donald Trump, however, is not a normal candidate, and he’s not popular at all in his hometown of New York City. So here he is walking into his polling place on East 56th Street and getting booed loudly:
And here he is getting booed even louder on the way out:
Part of this, obviously, is that New York City is generally a liberal place and a Democratic town. But more specifically, it’s also a place whose local political culture and identity are heavily influenced by embrace of immigration. Take a guy like Rudy Giuliani, who now styles himself as a major Trump fan. His two terms as mayor of New York certainly involved some Trumpish themes. But he sounded very different from Trump on immigration, directing local law enforcement to turn a blind eye to immigration violations.
And he was quite proud and open about it.
"Some of the hardest-working and most productive people in this city are undocumented aliens," Giuliani said in June 1994. "If you come here and you work hard and you happen to be in an undocumented status, you're one of the people who we want in this city. You're somebody that we want to protect, and we want you to get out from under what is often a life of being like a fugitive, which is really unfair."
That’s the kind of conservative politics that can thrive in New York, and it’s antithetical to the kind of politics that Trump used to thrill the Republican base and capture the GOP nomination. The fact that Trump himself is a lifelong New Yorker and that his name festoons a bunch of buildings in the city only makes his thoroughgoing rejection of New York values more striking.
And the city rejects him back.