Monday, August 08, 2016

What I Saw at the Trump Rally

Especially if you follow me on twitter, it should be fairly obvious that I’m not a Trump supporter. That didn’t stop me recently from taking the eldest Wee Salamander and heading out to a Trump rally.

Why? It wasn’t because I like crowds – I don’t and neither does my daughter. It isn’t because she is a Trump supporter, she isn’t. We went because I believe in primary sources. Way too many people I know are self-selecting their information and are caught up in a self-feeding human centipede of emotion based politics. There is no better primary source than yourself, so I took the opportunity to teach something to my daughter again and we went to the Trump rally.

We went there because when the chance presents itself, you should listen to candidates in person. If HRC was in town, I’d go as well. I wasn’t so much interested in the candidate as I was wanting to get a flavor for his supporters.

It has gotten personal not just against the candidate, as against his supporters. This is well beyond the anti-Trump version of my occasional tongue-in-cheek “ObamaVoter” snicker against Moonbats – this has moved on to violence against citizens who just happen to support someone.

There is a lot of violence related to the Trump campaign, but it isn’t by Trump supporters – it is by anti-Trump types who go in to Orwellian 2-minute hates against anyone showing support of Cheeto McEgo. That is not healthy in a republic, so time to find out for myself who these people are who are drawing out violent opponents.

Gathering my Human Terrain Team of two, the Wee Salamander and I put on our weekend casual Trumpist mufti and headed on down to the show.

The Line: Yes, the famous line outside Trump events. We walked from the front of the line to the back. If the front was 6-o’clock, the end of the line went counter-clockwise to the 11-o-clock position. In the walk up the line, beside how orderly it was, what caught me a little off guard was how young it was. It was also easily 50-50 male female, at the most 60-40 male to female. There were a lot of 20-35-yr old people and young couples in the crowd. Most dressed in weekend sub-tropical casual except for those who came directly from work. There were four guys still in their AC Repair company uniforms right behind us, talking to two trial lawyers who walked down from their office. By the time we got in through security and moved in, 90% of the seats were already taken and there were a few thousand people behind us.

The Vendors: The vendors selling T-shirts, hats, buttons, etc, were the same ones I see at baseball and football games. 90% of the ones walking around were black, and 85% of the people in their target audience were by appearances white. So, no big change there. Up near the front were the “tent” vendors. They were all about 90% white if you include the Lebanese/Palestinians as white, which I do. It was there that you saw the only possible “alt-right” presence in one goober who was selling Confederate battle flags with “Trump 2016” on them. He wasn’t doing all that much business – so bully to my hometown for that. “Hillary for Prison 2016” and standard issue Trump t-shirts and buttons were the most popular, as where the ubiquitous “Make America Great Again” hats. As you passed by the vendors, you got closer to the door and the fun stuff; the protestors.

The Protestors: Besides one guy how looked like a meth-addict screaming in front of a TV camera like an over-caffeinated MSNBC guest, the protestors were mostly well behaved. Almost as if they were a setup by a performance artist, the first one you came to was some guy with a bullhorn who was dressed like a member of the New Black Panther Party with a couple of guys “tough-guy” posing to either side of him. I could only understand him the few seconds I walked by him, but at that time he was yelling about how black people need to take control of their own destiny blah, blah, blah. Next to him were the mostly spoiled white rich kid bunch dressed in black with their faces covered waving around red-banner flags. Of course, they were doing that in exactly the space the police were telling them. They seemed mostly to direct their venom not at those in the line, but at the press cameras. Nice to see those guys haven’t changed much since the 1980s. After them were the honest protestors with the actually hand made signs quoting John Lennon, calling all the people in line rascists, or in a roundabout way asking what’s so wrong about peace love and understanding. They looked bored, and slightly embarrassed by having to share space with the New Black Panther Party and Trust Fund COSPLAY brigade. I actually took a little video I may post later. Sorry, but both the Wee Salamander and myself had to laugh while walking by.

The Politicians: What I didn’t expect was the Star Wars bar scene before you got to security where you had a bunch of candidates for local office there to shake hands. Trump may have scared away everyone from Mayor on up, but down ballot, there are plenty who are willing to associate with Trump. Not sure what to make of that, as those weren’t fringe locals.

The Crowd: So, through the metal detector rather efficiently to the packed arena. 16,000 admitted, with a few thousand left outside. Impressive. There was more room on the floor, but it looked to me like security wouldn’t let them pack it in. As is our introverted nature, we went up to the rafters to the very back so we had easy access to the exits and no one at our back. A dislike of large crowds is a family trait. This also gave us a great view of the crowd. Like I mentioned, it was a younger crowd than I thought it would be. The most common demographic if I had to pick one? Young, middle class working white couples and groups of male co-workers. It was not a white out by any measure. If you consider that 80-90% of blacks in this area are Democrats, no shock that the audience was not representative of the ~30% of the population here that is black. I would say probably 5% was black. Those around me included and extended family of three generation and then a real funny guy two rows down who was there with his cute as a button blonde haired and blue eyed girlfriend. Trump voters being a bunch of racists? No. You can put that to bed right away. Also in this area, Asians are about 5% and “Hispanics” 9%. As such, I would say Asians and Hispanics were over represented as Trump supporters. It also seemed that 5% of the crowd was Albanian, Bosnian, Russian, Ukrainian or Russian. I can’t tell those languages apart, but I heard it as often as I heard Spanish, and we have a significant population of each here. There were two cases of protestors in the crowd being taken out that I saw. They were both your standard issue hippie wannabes – one straight out of central casting with beads and floppy hats. Of course, they both threw their hissy fits in front of the press gallery. The crowd response was to chant, “USA USA” as pro forma.

Flynn & Trump: The introductory speaker was Flynn, who is about as good as one can get given that the local Republican party is full of Bush and Rubio loyalists still needing to wash their hair that day. As for Trump himself? Standard issue stump speech, but he took extra time to address the Khan issue, not to him directly, but about his meetings with Gold Star families locally. A lot of press bashing.

The Bailout: We did not stay for the full length of time. As mentioned before, we don’t like crowds and we had seen enough. What was nice for me as a father was to hear my very independent and opinionated daughter come to the same conclusion that I came to; there is nothing wrong with Trump people. There is plenty of things to go after the candidate for, but we should stop with the smears, depersonalization, and invective towards his supporters.

One big surprise on the way home, Dash-1 even said something to the effect, “Trump was not as bad as I thought he would be.” After two years at a liberal arts university, she still has her critical thinking skills.

Neither one of us was swayed one way or another about Trump himself by going to the rally, but it did firm up one conviction that has built up for the last few months; the anti-Trump movement is even more anti-democratic than Trump himself. Nothing is more dangerous to a democratic system of governance than political violence, and the vilification to the point of instilling fear in to your political opponents that is a hallmark of the anti-Trump forces should give everyone pause.

If you don’t like Trump, then go after Trump. If you find yourself ignoring or making excuses for those who promote violence against Trump, or fall in to the trap of painting Trumpists with the usual leftist smears of racists, sexist, homophobes etc – you should take a deep breath and then go find out for yourself.

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