So, I went to a Trump rally

ALEXIS PRICE | OPINION EDITOR | adprice1@butler.edu

If you would have told me almost three years ago, when I took my first political science class,  I would attend a political rally, I would have scoffed, rolled my eyes and probably said something about not believing in party affiliation.

And if you told me the rally would be for Donald Trump, I would say, “The crude, TV show guy? He’s not even a politician, right?”

I was never very politically involved. Around the time I turned 18, the gay marriage debate was escalating, and I had always been a supporter of loving whoever you love. A couple of important people in my life who are gay were directly affected, and this sparked my initial interest in politics.

Once I entered college, I explored more issues—issues I always had some sort of opinion on but did not necessarily connect with politics. I advocated for LGBT+ rights, explained why I am pro-choice and how I disliked the general idea of gun control. Rumors of 2016 presidential candidates were circling the web, so I investigated.

And now—as I recall the debates and rally coverage I have seen—I have no idea who I want to vote for. I do not look at the party. I choose to support the person, not the corrupt, concocted party someone represents.

I have no clue who I want. I just know that I do not want Donald Trump.

I am that family member who brings up politics at family gatherings and makes the rest of the dinner extremely awkward. I have lectured my 11-year-old brother on the dangers of Donald Trump on a few occasions.

So, why would I even go to a Trump rally? Great question.

Answer? Curiosity.

When my roommate proposed we go—and later texted me she applied for media passes—I was unsure if I even wanted to attend. I knew how I felt about Trump. I knew what he was about. I knew what his supporters were about.

But I didn’t know why his supporters backed him. I didn’t understand. So, out of curiosity we jumped into the car and headed to the rally at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

We were a little over an hour early and as we approached the Indiana State Fairgrounds, I started to feel nervous. I had never been to a rally before and I was not sure what to expect. I was anxious because, as my roommate put it, “Wow. Trump supporters are actually real.”

Of course, I have seen the polls and news coverage and various posts scouring the internet in support of Trump. But seeing all of the cars filing in and people selling the infamous red cap on the streets, it hit me just how large the phenomenon really was. I probably pass by countless Trump supporters every day.

We continued through the gate 6, past the supporters and even some protesters with clever signs. We walked into media check-in—not before getting lost and talking to someone who I am convinced was from the FBI. We took our place in the media center, just in front of the platform of cameras, and we began to observe.

Trump was not coming out until 3 p.m.—which actually ended up being 3:30—so, we took notes on the people and interactions. We listened to the speakers who came out to talk Trump up.

And with the start of 2 Unlimited’s “Get Ready for This”—an intro/exit music choice I will say I was a fan of—Trump approached the podium. Arms and signs flew up. Chants encompassed the room.

He started talking about “Lying Ted” and “Crooked Hillary.” We tried to tally how many times he mentioned China and the wall, but we lost count.

Price (left) with columnist Jenna Voris at the rally just before Donald Trump told the audience, "People in the media are some of the most dishonest people you will ever meet." Photo courtesy of Alexis Price

Price (left) with columnist Jenna Voris at the rally just before Donald Trump told the audience, “People in the media are some of the most dishonest people you will ever meet.”
Photo courtesy of Alexis Price

As I took a break from scrawling quotes in my notepad, I looked up to see the people—still chanting, still pumping signs up and down. See, I had been looking at this campaign all wrong. I spent the majority of the time shooting down the belief that so many people genuinely supported him; and for those who did, I automatically assumed they were all ignorant, racist or full of bigotry.

But in reality, people are just afraid.

He taps into some of our nation’s biggest fears. He addresses how we need to change things like the Trans-Pacific Partnership and illegal immigrants. While he does not pose many possible solutions to those things—other than building a $10 million wall—he uses emotionally charged fears to pull in his audience.

He is somehow personable, and I think that comes with not being a politician—another reason he appeals to the average citizen.

By the 2008 election, America was in great turmoil after George W. Bush’s presidency. People sought a change of pace; and that is when the majority elected Barack Obama—someone the polar opposite, someone affiliated with a different political party. And I think that is largely what we see now.

There are many people who want something different. And which candidate is the opposite of Democrat Barack Obama? Republican candidate Donald Trump.

People are angry about Obamacare. So, at his rally Trump adds to his conclusion, “I want to take Obamacare and replace it with something so much better!” And in the midst of all of the shouting and clapping and sign waving, I think some people forgot to ask what this thing that was “so much better” would be.

I didn’t come away from this with any sort of new feelings about Trump.

There were times I laughed. There were times a rolled my eyes—13 times, according to my eye roll tally I kept in the back of my notebook. There were times when the crowd started chanting things like “build that wall” and my insides curdled. But as I stood there with just my media pass, tiny notepad and my  partner-in-politics, listening to his kind of cool exit song, I couldn’t have been more satisfied with my decision to go.

Seventeen-year-old Alexis would have said this was crazy; that there was no point to attend a rally of someone I could barely stomach.

But the point was not to understand Trump anymore. It was to see whether or not the real Trump was the one we see in the media. It was to explore things unfamiliar or uncomfortable. It was to keep an open mind.

It was to understand the people—even if you have highly differing opinions.

And with Indiana primaries right around the corner on May 3, it might be best that we all start trying to understand each other.

Y’all ready for this?

Authors

4 Comments

  1. gary2278 said:

    If you think Trump is a racist who sees any color other than green, you might be a gullible fool subject to exploiter-funded media influence. Take a look at his life and career; he has always hired, worked with, and supported people of all walks of life. Furthermore, Illegal immigrants and Muslims are not races. Muslims are great people; unfortunately, the terrorists we are at war with are a small sect within that group, so while the idea of being extra vigilant about vetting new immigrants from that group is regrettable, it would also be prudent for our own safety. The big exploiters love having their puppets use labels of racism to tear down people they don’t control (Ross Perot, Ron Paul, Trump, etc); don’t fall for it!

    If you think Megyn Kelly isn’t an exploiter (establishment) tool who tried to take down Trump, and you think Trump is a misogynist because of the bloodlust comments he made regarding her (while making bloodlust comments about Chris Wallace at the same time) then you might be a gullible fool subject to exploiter-funded media influence. Trump states “I’m just oblivious to a person’s gender” when dealing with people, and it is obvious that he takes on opponents of any shape, size, color, and gender in a similar fashion.

    If you think Trump is an isolationist because he wants fair trade, you might be a gullible fool subject to exploiter-funded media influence. “Free-trade” comes at a huge cost to workers in developed countries! The end result is that America will produce nothing and will provide no services outside our borders because services and products will always be cheaper from poorer countries. Anyone who says anything else concerning free-trade is either lying, or is completely clueless. American middle class workers can only survive and thrive with “FAIR-trade.”

    90% of the cocaine in America comes through our southern border; 80% of the meth and heroin in America also comes through our southern border! If you think Trump, who continually says “I love Mexican people,” is a xenophobe because he wants to secure our southern border, you might be a gullible fool subject to exploiter-funded media influence. Trump’s negative comments were targeted at a subset of illegal immigrants (which he has clarified many times); NOT Mexicans! Illegal immigration is destroying our society (illegal immigrant children are almost always below grade level so teachers have to spend most of their time teaching at that level, which hurts our children; illegal immigration keeps wages low; and the drugs from south of our border are ruining our children’s lives).

    If you think Trump wants to punish women for having abortions, you might be a gullible fool subject to exploiter-funded media influence. Trump said he made a gaffe during a convoluted conversation involving a hypothetical situation. He has clarified that in the real world he would like to see abortion regulations left up to each state. Making gaffes is human, and having a politician willing to engage in “off the cuff” conversations without consulting an army of advisers beforehand is refreshing.

    If you think Trump is ignorant because he thinks it might be more pragmatic for Japan to have a nuke rather than having 54,000 U.S. troops stationed there at our expense, you might be a gullible fool subject to exploiter-funded media influence. The simple fact is that nothing ensures sovereignty like having a nuke. No country with a nuke has been or ever will be invaded. We would have never invaded Iraq if they had a nuke; in fact, the best evidence that we knew they didn’t really have any WMDs was the fact we invaded them. The 54,000 troops we have in Japan are absolutely no deterrent for North Korea, China, or anyone else; what deters them is the fact we have nukes. Furthermore, what would happen to Japan if they can’t defend themselves and we go bankrupt over the next decade or so?

  2. gary2278 said:

    Trump has benefited from a corrupt system and understands what must be done to fix it. It would be far easier for him to just continue buying politicians if he wanted to keep taking advantage rather than running for POTUS. As such, I have to believe he actually wants to help America more than he wants to continue taking advantage. He made his riches and now I think he wants to focus on his legacy, and wants to be remembered for righting America’s ship (who cares if that’s ego driven; I would happily help build him a statue if he succeeds). Consequently, those who want to continue exploiting are scared and doing everything they can to stop him; they are even hiring clueless tools through craigslist to go to his rallies and hold up a “Trump is a racist” sign while yelling at his supporters for $16 per hour.

  3. gary2278 said:

    Super-PACs MUST be banned! They give a few wealthy exploiters the ability to shape our entire political system; they allow for absurdly unequal representation! The people and corporations funding these PACs have acquired their wealth from selling out America through political favors, endless wars, unfair trade deals, exploiting foreign labor, exploiting illegal labor within our borders, creating insurmountable debt for our children, and maintaining a rigged election process that ensures nothing will change. Super-PACs are a direct conflict of interest and an absolute corrupting force!

    In my opinion, any candidate who doesn’t demand their super-PACs disband in the name of democracy and the people is a flat out TRAITOR to America! Exploiter puppets Clinton and Cruz will never do this like Trump and Sanders have; instead, they will continue feigning powerlessness and ignorance regarding super-PACs. Anyone who votes for these two-faced lawyers is voting to continue selling out America!

    If someone with Trump’s resources can’t run without being shredded by exploiter-funded super-PACs and media pundits, how does someone like me or you have a chance? The answer is that, unless we are lackeys like Clinton and Cruz, whom those same exploiters also fund, we don’t! The process is rigged; you can watch a great example of how the media takes things out of context and falsely demonizes non-controlled candidates like Trump by searching for and viewing “The Untruth about Donald Trump” video.

  4. gary2278 said:

    One of the reasons I support both Trump and Sanders is in the hopes that Americans become more privy to the corruption we have. When party activists in Colorado can choose delegates without any input from the voters, and those activists are establishment supporters, there is nothing that will persuade those activists to pick any delegates who support an insurgent candidate. The entire process is designed to stop insurgent candidates (which is what Trump is).

    Of course, the exploiter-funded pundits who call Trump a “whiner” and a “loser” because he didn’t get any of the Colorado delegates fail to mention that Trump never had a chance to get any of them in the first place as an insurgent. The rigged process helps to ensure America’s exploiters maintain power. The exploiter-funded media puppets are saying that what happened was perfectly fine because the committee rules enabled them to cancel their election from the outset and then give the delegates to whomever they wanted (RIP democracy).

    If Kasich had been the viable anti-insurgent candidate rather than Cruz, they would have given Kasich all of the Colorado delegates instead of Cruz. Despite that, Cruz is trying to convince people that it was his “superior organization” that deprived Trump and Kasich of getting even a single delegate…LOL. Three cheers for America, our exploiter-controlled media, our rigged election process, our two-faced politicians, and the ignorant people who don’t question any of it!

    Here’s a video from a Colorado delegate ejected from the process because he supported Trump:
    https://www.facebook.com/larry.lindseyphd/videos/10206019645066642/

    And another video of more Colorado delegates explaining how they were kicked to the curb because they supported Trump:

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