US presidential race in spotlight as 17 Republican Party candidates prepare for a Fox News-sponsored debate.
They could be called the Trumpeteers, the growing ranks across the US who are enthusiastically backing Donald Trump, the real estate mogul and reality-TV star now running for president.
People like Steve Bishop, 58, who would vote for the Republican candidate if the election were held tomorrow.
“He just seems the most logical in terms of electability and someone who gives the impression that he means what he says,” said Bishop, a construction worker from Torrance, California.
Like hundreds of others, Bishop was at the USS Iowa, a retired battleship in San Pedro, California, where Trump delivered a speech on national security and foreign policy on Tuesday.
“There aren’t that many guys that come along that, when they talk, at the end they actually mean what they’re talking about,” added Bishop.
It’s a common theme among his supporters. Many of them are tired of talking points, grand platforms, fancy-talking, Ivy League intellectuals and politically correct politicians who are too afraid to speak their minds. Trump says what he wants and doesn’t care who he offends.
He has no prepared speeches, does no internal polling on what he should say and doesn’t use a teleprompter, a refreshing change for many people here.
“No more Harvard or Yale attorneys for president,” said Gus West, a retired army veteran, referring to current US President Barack Obama and former US President Bill Clinton.
But it’s not just Democrats they dislike. The other Republican candidates don’t represent them either: “They don’t have any gonads,” added West. “I want a guy with big ones.”
Just off the deck of the USS Iowa, Chad Towe, 46, is selling buttons and T-shirts emblazoned with Trump’s face and the candidate’s slogan, “Make America Great Again”.
He’s a small-business owner from Sacramento with no ties to the campaign but he thinks Trump would be all in favour of his business venture.
“America is in a bad situation economically right now and we need somebody who knows how to create jobs,” he said.
Like many here, he’s particularly drawn to Trump’s promise to build a wall along the border with Mexico to keep migrant workers from entering the country illegally.
“I used to be in the construction business and we lost a lot of jobs to illegals coming up,” said Towe.
Trump’s criticisms of illegal immigrants have been his most controversial.
About 150 people showed up on Tuesday to protest, many of them criticising Trump’s views on migrant workers and immigration. But those remarks have also brought many people here to support him in his bid for the White House.
During his presidential announcement speech in June, he referred to Mexican immigrants as “rapists”. The Republican candidate revisited that theme on Tuesday.
“We have illegal immigrants who are treated better, by far, than veterans,” he told the energetic crowd.
Even some Hispanic supporters agree. “We are bringing criminals over,” said Marissa Hernandez, 21. “The majority of them are.”
Still, his remarks aboard the USS Iowa didn’t go beyond general platitudes of “making America great again”.
Although billed as a major policy speech, he kept it broad with Trumpisms like: “We’re gonna make our military so big and so strong and so great and it will be so powerful that no one’s going to ever have to use it.”
That was just what people aboard the USS Iowa wanted to hear.
“The guy didn’t become a multi-billionaire by doing everything wrong,” said Fred Christlieb, 73, a retired air force veteran.