A Trump Rally Revival

It starts a few days out. These things pop up quickly. Someone in the office says they heard an announcement on the radio or a newsflash online. “He’s coming to the arena.” That morning some coworkers stop by and ask if you are going. Some say they saw him the last time he swung through the area, and others say they will avoid the circus.

“Trump is coming.”

As you drive to the stadium or arena, you see the vendors on the roads hawking Trump merchandise. The shirts and signs with “Make America Great Again” on them. You crack a smile. If you are with friends, the debate turns to who will he make fun of the most, how many times will he mention “the wall,” or if he is going to drop a gaffe that you know is not a gaffe but a deliberate leak of truth.

Did you get there an hour, two hours, or four hours early?

I showed up four hours early and saw a line of 500 people waiting for the doors to open in an hour. A friend had showed up as gates opened for parking and let me and my son cut in line. What is the mood, the vibe, and the crowd like? There is a buzz. It is all smiles. Those conversations from the car are repeated with others in line. Everyone is happy because the night before Trump swept five primaries. “He keeps winning… We keep winning… Landslides… They can’t stop him… They can’t stop us.” This is a nation of instant gratification and impatience, yet 500 people showed up four hours early to see The Donald. Nothing helps Americans tolerate discomfort like success, and Trump keeps winning.

The line stretches out further behind you, and as the doors open, you glance back just to take it all in. Our line was 1,000 people long at minimum, and the rally was still three hours away. This crowd does not care. It is a diverse crowd. Not diverse in the Angelina Jolie adopted kids manner but in age, style, and fashion. Young and old. Farmers, gun guys, blue collar men, dudebros and their girls, veterans, old ladies, young cuties, and parents holding their kids. The red hats stick out.

The recurring image is the red hat. The first one makes you smile. That stops, though, because once you see the first, you notice how many more are out there. Once you get into your seat and the crowd fills in, the hats pop up everywhere. Like looking at a New England foliage panorama and the dark green conifers stick out against the smattering of orange, yellow, and red–the red hats stick out. How has no progressive writer called the red hats the new Brownshirts? It will happen. It is not just the frequency of hats, but the men wearing them.

The men in the red hats are younger and look fit. These are the millennial and young Gen-X men who troll triggered millennials, or express their unabashed support for Trump. These red hats start the “Trump” chants, and if you are lucky, the “Build the Wall” chant. It starts to become a type and almost mold of strong man drawn to a leader framing himself as strong and fighting for them. This is a right-wing image that does not conform to the chubby Christians voting for Jesus image peddled by the media.

The reaction to these rallies penned by journalists can almost be pinned entirely on those young men. A strong masculine energy that has been exorcised from the left flows among the crowd. These are the men who either deal with protesters or inspire the older attendees to sock a protester.

Everyone is buzzing, and the cheeseball ’70s and ’80s rock staples blare over the loudspeakers. Maybe you hate Elton John, but you’re singing along to Tiny Dancer by the time the lights flicker. There is an opening prayer. Did you know Trump flew Michael Jackson to Indiana to be with Ryan White’s family when he died of AIDS? I did not not, but I found out then, and Trump never took credit for it. They sing the national anthem. They lead you through the pledge of allegiance. A good performer has an opening act, and one of Trump’s advisers gets the crowd revved up. We will need the: No one cares about you! They ship your jobs to China and Mexico! They are corrupt! Who fights for you? Who is not bought and paid for? Who cares about you? Who loves you? Trump! Trump! Trump!

At this point, everyone wants to see the man. Even the elderly look like a kid waiting to open Christmas gifts. The emcee gets up and everyone rises, everyone looks at the tunnel and “Ladies and gentlemen the next president of the United States…”, and you don’t even hear his name because of the crowd.

All are on their feet, even the people who look like they need insulin or an oxygen tank. All are clapping and shouting. Trump eats it up. He waves. He points. He smiles. You get a rush seeing him pump his fist and saunter to the podium. A Trump chant starts. He waves but gets right into it.

Are you feeling good? You should because we just won, and won yuge, we’re winning and winning, it’s nevah been done before, we’re gonna win no matter how much they say we can’t win, and then we’re gonna win some more.” I do not recall what Trump started with, but that paraphrases it. Trump cannot even mention Hillary Clinton or Ted Cruz without the crowd shouting Trump’s nicknames for them. You are feeling good, because he mentions repeatedly how much he needs you. He needs your help, and usually the deal is closed by the time you get to vote, but you have power now. Trump needs you. He is a winner, but he can only win with you. A cynical attendee hears echoes of Richard Dawson’s character “Killian” from The Running Man saying, “Who loves you and who do you love?”

Trump brings on a speaker–in our rally’s case, legendary winner Bobby Knight, with a personal story of how they met, how Coach Knight told him to run, and how winners stick together and win. It does not matter what the other speaker says because you just want Trump to get back onstage. The crowd needs it, though, because they need to hear someone else echo Trump’s message. It is not about the party; it is about America.

Trump gets back onstage, and you might notice he is not looking at the teleprompters. Is he allowed to ramble free form? Is it so scripted he can memorize it? Is he offbook? It does not matter because he does not need a speechwriter. He is simply telling you what you want to hear someone with money and status say. Making fun of his speeches is a pastime for reporters now. How much more ridiculous can Trump be than Obama saying in June of 2008 that this would be the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow?

Pundits mock them because Trump is not speaking the approved talking points. He is speaking to you. All the third rails of politics that you want discussed are out in the open. Trump uses his long right arm as a conductor would and exaggerates points, snaps or slows down the pace of delivery. Focus. He mentions the wall, and when he asks who will pay for it, thousands scream “Mexico”. By now in the campaign, the crowd knows the chant “Build the Wall,” which gives Trump a moment to walk off and point to people behind him. Even when Trump mocks himself, he is still the most amazing man with the most beautiful, wonderful plans waiting for you next year.

Trump’s touch for pacing is immaculate. Trump is building you up, making you laugh and pointing out those wicked media members. Look at those dishonest people in the media section. Trump uses the chant points to break from the podium and let the energy flow, and my God does it flow. You barely sit down for the speech. You do not want to sit for him because Trump is going to suck you into his battle against the rigged system. This is about a movement, this is about you, this is about winning and this is about greatness. You need to help him make America not just as great as she once was but even bettah!

It is easy to get lost in the moment. A lady gets teary-eyed because the emotion is there. Someone hugs their kid. There is the oceanic feeling of togetherness. You feel you would lay the bricks and mortar for that wall not just for Trump, or for your kids, but for that crowd. Then it hits you. The media is wrong to call the Trump show a circus or a crazy carnival. This is not even a rock concert, despite the opening act.

This is a big tent revival for the Church of America. Trump is your preacher. The details are flimsy, but he keeps winning, you keep winning, and together we can keep winning. The bad guys are lying reporters, sleazy politicians, nebulous but corrupt special interests and law-breaking illegals. For all that voting and winning, Trump is going to fight, defend, and protect you and that great abstract image of America in your heart… because it is in his heart, too.

An old tent revival is out of Americana. Rallies pop up, the preacher speaks, the lame may walk and the faith is confirmed and shouted. Trump rallies pop up quickly. Those who hear the calling and feel that love for old America show up. Faith and love of America is exclaimed by all. It is worth fighting for and worth saving. We have betrayed the faith by letting in others and destroying our manufacturing through free trade negotiated for the benefit of others. The lame do not walk again, but all go home with an extra pep in their step. My son is five and stayed up until ten o’clock, too excited to fall asleep because of the energy in that building, talking to his mother about “The Donald”.

Another realization hits you. This is why the media is so scared. It’s ten o’clock, and you want to patrol the border. This is a cult of personality that the media has not allowed to form. It is not the fake cowboy from the most politically connected family in America. It is not the fake black guy who was raised by whites in foreign lands and Hawaii, attending prestigious schools. It is not the fake Hispanics who need Spanish tutors. This is not a figure who encourages you to dislike your fellow true Americans, but each mention of the corrupt, rigged system has you itching to get at its caretakers. Each rally has more people thinking the day is coming.

The political gatekeepers are scared because this is the reaction to just a casino magnate tip-toeing towards the idea that this is your land, and it is time to end the lies and purge the wicked. Trump is no Charlemagne but if, or when, a Charlemagne returns, Trump’s rallies indicate that there may be no limit to the unleashed energy.

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  1. It all feels like Hope & Change ’08 repackaged for a growing segment of disillusioned whites tax slaves.

    Obama was the perfect black face to oversee a fall in median black income.

    1. Falling incomes fell to all except the oligarchs, not just black faces. This feels, as noted in the essay, like an old-time tent revival. Will the lame be healed? Perhaps not, however, if there is no change with Trump- as noted, Charlemagne or a later version will indeed come. Or Mad Max- whatever, this nation as it exists today will return to K-selected, one way or the other.

  2. Laguna Beach Fogey May 1, 2016 at 9:51 am

    Awesome! Some great writing there. I sense your excitement.

    I went to the Costa Mesa rally the other night, but was turned back because they said it was full. I parked nearby and hung out for a while, observing the growing crowd of Mexican schoolkids, Marxist agitators, and Chicano activists. Most of them seemed to be students from the nearby high school and community college, with a large group of Indio-looking boys waving Mexican flags.

    There was also a healthy-looking crowd of Trump supporters, including a lot of young White people, holding a counter-demonstration.

    I left just as things were getting interesting. Which was a good thing, I suppose, because I could easily picture myself hurting those third world protesters.

    It’s scenes like this that have convinced me we’re heading towards full-blown ethnic conflict, race war, or civil war–whatever you want to call it.

    1. Great writing indeed! There will be some conflict in the LaRaza dominated areas, certainly. Difficult to know how it will shake out in soCal eventually, but I would not bet on a lengthy race war if the Donald takes the reins. Still not certain if that will happen; if he does not, then – . Glad I don’t live near Laguna Beach no more.

  3. This seems too much like ‘muh activism’ although I can understand Trump’s appeal, and I hope he wins.

  4. Random Dude on the Internet May 1, 2016 at 12:56 pm

    I attended Trump rallies in the wintertime and the lines were just as long then. People were willing to stand out in 10 degree weather to see him.

    Ridicule has given way to hatred which has given way to fear with the media. Given how media savvy Donald Trump is, I believe that he is friends with or friendly with many senior executives in media outlets. So why is it 100% negative all the time against their supposed friend?

    I think the real reason is that the kingmaker aspect of the media is slipping through their hands. Media outlets are struggling to keep their doors open and this is the first time in a long time when they lost track of the narrative. A lot of careers are on the line here. An example is someone like Nate Silver: for eight years he was known as the guy when it comes to political predictions based on big data. Yet he has been consistently and constantly wrong about Donald Trump and sometimes Bernie Sanders. Do you think that anyone is going to listen to him moving forward after this election? Will anyone take The Blaze seriously once people see that the GOP voter base is leaving them behind?

    I don’t expect the NY Times to just dissipate in 2017 when Trump steps into the White House but it will be considered a relic of an era people are quickly willing to forget, with tens of thousands of journalists struggling to make ends meet as they now have to find new jobs. Which makes them laughing at out of work blue collar whites all the more ironic.

  5. When I went to the rally in Harrisburg, I was in front of some retard schooling this old man behind us about how free market conservatism has failed us because haven’t used enough common sense conservatism. Which is Trump talking point of course, nearly everything this kid was saying was a trump talking point, my buddy and I were thoroughly annoyed we had to sit there for an hour and listen to him vomit for the entire duration. And despite that, I got into the grounds and I had a strong sense of mild patriotism wash over me. We stood and said the pledge, and I said every word. I would think twice serving my entire country, but for those people in that rally I would surely bleed.

  6. This is excellent. Dovetails with my experiences at the Trump rallies in Chicago and Albany.

    Too bad there weren’t any “protesters” i.e. agitators in Indiana, those guys are a whole other topic for discussion.

    Some people seem to be under the impression that there was a black riot in Chicago and a Mexican riot in Costa Mesa. In fact, the riot in Chicago was 1/3 black, 1/3 Mexican and 1/3 literal burka-wearing Muslims with a smattering of old Jewish communists and young Bernie SJWs of white extraction.

    Of course, the Trump supporters are the constituents of traditional white America.

    1. Just the other day I persuaded pro-Israel liberal / leftist Jews to convert to the pro-border direction with a comment. The Jewish conversationalists were debating the following article:


      I said:

      “It will not happen. In leftist victim hierarchy Jews have the same victim capital as Europeans; none or very close to none. Muslims have a lot of victim capital. So if Muslims attack you, you are guilty and responsible, and the left and liberals will do their utmost to explain Muslim attacks away, as if it is either not important (more Jewish people die because of heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems than Muslim attacks against Jews, or something like that) or it happened solely because of outside factors, because of Jewish discrimination, Israeli border wall, Jewish settlements, Jewish prevention of Muslim economic activity and free movement, etc. These are false explanations, but leftist view is inside the leftist worldview internally consistent.
      Only thing the Jews can and perhaps should blame themselves for is that when they have been in the Western countries, they have mostly supported the left / liberals, and thus contributed disproportionately to the left / liberal madness. This strategy, support liberalism / leftism in the outside world, and in most cases, be more conservative inside own communities, is from the times when Jews were in the Muslim world, and it worked better there. It made here and there Muslims more peaceful towards outsiders, including Jews. Many other minorities in hostile Muslim world has used this same strategy. It didnt prevent all attacks or negative measures against the Jews, but it was much better than nothing. However in European countries this same strategy has fed extremism directly, like communism, socialism, stalinism, trotskyism, ‘politically correct’ leftism / liberalism, etc. (note that many of these political strands were anti-Jewish from the beginning or became such as time passed), or indirectly as a reaction, like national socialism, neo-nazism, general anti-Jewish attitudes, etc.
      As much as I hate to say it, we Europeans are political, societal and cultural extremists. Why? Because we are competitive individualists, often atomized individualists. Competitive individualists want to be better than the next guy, and they dont have communities which moderate their views (notice that many Jews became extremists, e.g. communist radicals, too when they left Jewish communities and became atomized individuals). When competitive individualists compete against other competitive individualists in e.g. political parties and groups, they want to be more liberal than the other guys, more leftist than the other guys, more communist than the other guys, etc., more, more, more, and eventually you have extremism in your hands. These can varying and fluctuate wildly; they can be extremely aggressive, tyrannical and conquering, like communism and national socialism; they can be extremely submissive and pacifist, like some forms of anti-war leftism and liberalism; they can be extreme cultural forms like late renaissance art or post modern philosophy; they can be extreme religious forms, like the European religious wars of 16th and 17th century; they can be extreme societal experiments, like the French revolution and Soviet Union; etc. Competitive individualists form often large and loose alliances, collective groups, to further their goals (group competition), and to create a background hierarchy inside the group, which allows climbing the status ladder there.
      What links all these extreme forms, like communism, national socialism and liberalism? They all want to abolish all or most of the borders between countries and/or inside countries, just their explanations for it differs. The most extreme form of extremism is borderless world, which some collective and its ideology has conquered and transformed to its image.
      You may say, “But we Jews have been victims many times and we have been persecuted many times, we have a lot of victim capital!”. Well, so have we Europeans, 50 million died in second world war, 20 million was murdered in Soviet Union (including two of my relatives), 20 million died in first world war, etc. on and on. Although western liberal elites are “our” elites, and they have some tenuous ties to us, it doesnt matter, they might as well be psychopaths in their relations with us. You matter even less to them, if it is humanly possible. You see, victim hierarchies are not really about victims, they are tools of the liberal elites, which are used against advanced high culture target peoples, so that they would surrender and capitulate, so that they would abolish all their inner and outer borders, their countries and communities borders. They are also tools to entice the less developed people to come and be part of the liberal power structure, to get recognition, social benefits, liberal “justice”, lenient and forgiving attitudes, etc. from the liberal elites.
      If the Jews would be stupid enough, and they would do as the Western liberal elites pressure them to do, they would abolish Israels borders, and Jewish communities borders, and let all the Muslims in. The Jews would then be slaughtered, who knows, maybe to the last remaining Jew in Israel. How would Western liberal elites react to this? Like always, they would say it is unacceptable, then they would use all their methods to explain it away and minimize it in everybodys minds, including their own. They would “prove” that Muslims are innocent victims in all that happened, except perhaps 2-3 Muslims leaders. Then they would regard it as one more good stepping stone towards borderless liberal world, the price “we” must pay to get there.
      So what to do? Support every group, which strive to uphold borders between countries and communities, and amicable enough relations between advanced high culture peoples. Resist all extremists who want to abolish borders with whatever subterfuges. Every people want to see their own people through rosy and positive glasses, and this is generally a good attitude, but at this moment when there is a need for change in our communities, it is important that we see our people more realistically, so that we can make the necessary modifications and influence the necessary alterations among our peoples.”

  7. Here in Finland, liberal media opposed Trump in the beginning, but now when it seems that only dirty GOP political play can prevent his candidacy, they have been almost silent about him. One of their main talking points was that Trump didnt know or didnt know properly this or that thing, and hence he is unsuitable to be president of the ‘Untied’ States of America. That is a false premise. First of all, all candidates have gaps in their knowledge. The purpose of the president is not to be walking encyclopedia. President is meant to have certain values, attitudes, character / personality, predispositions, views, etc. which makes it likely that he makes certain kind of decisions to certain kinds of directions. President is surrounded by vast information gathering and information processing organizations + advisers and experts, which produce all the necessary information for the president in distilled and condensed form, and from that foundation president then makes his decisions. Trump is intelligent, fast learner, and he has good understanding about how societies function in practice in political and economic realms, so these make him an excellent presidential candidate from the politically neutral point of view too.

  8. The Dissenting Sociologist May 2, 2016 at 8:48 am

    Trump is no Charlemagne; he is no Frederick; and he’s no Hitler, for those men were the embodiment of the spirit of their respective time and place. Trump is rather *our* Charlemagne, *our Frederick, and *our* Hitler; as *our* Great Man, he is come to tell *our* time what it wills and embody its spirit.

    But that’s no guarantee that he’ll restore the nation to greatness and lead the people back to virtue. He is made of the same stuff as his time, and will reflect the nation’s essence back at it. That essence is famously Janus-faced; it has proven itself able, and at once, to cause its bearers to rise to dazzling heights of virtue and sink to truly abysmal depths of viciousness and depravity. If he turns out to be an empty blowhard and a fraud, he will nonetheless authentically and faithfully embody the American national soul in doing it.

    In any case, Great Men can’t be conjured up by Madison Avenue MBAs and spreadsheets and they only come around once in a lifetime or so. Even if you’re totally cynical about politics, pay attention to what’s happening here; you’ll be telling your grandkids about it one day.

    1. As someone who built his career in cutthroat real estate development, Donald Trump has a bit more going for him in the Great Man department (with regards to historical comparisons) than a tech mogul or financial kingpin. Donald Trump literally owns towers, castles and land, in fact, a lot more towers, castles and land than a lot of historical aristocrats. He is tied to the land he lives on, if only because it’s how he earned his fame and fortune in the first place. The same cannot be said of Zuckerberg or Soros.

      Donald Trump’s grandfather (not great-grandfather, just regular old grandpa) was born in the Electorate of the Palatinate in the Kingdom of Bavaria. Just a fun fact, impart your own sense of significance to it, I’ve already imparted mine — but it won’t be shared publicly.

    2. Hey! I’m a Madison Avenue MBA (well at least I was) and I’m trying my damnedest to conjure a Charlemagne for our times!

      Actually, Charlemagne was a progenitor of my line. Given this chance to remember him, his blood, and that of his grandfather Martel, flows through our veins still.

  9. I am witnessing a preference cascade in Indiana.

    We did not typically see any federal-level election signs around here for the past few weeks, as the Indiana primary is usually 1) too late to matter and 2) pretty predicable.

    However, last week, with the arrival of the Donald, “Trump 2016” signs are popping up everywhere like to so many spring dandelions.

    And not merely official campaign yard signs — very large homemade signs which show a great deal of time and effort involved appeared over the weekend.

    I have not seen any signs for any other presidential candidate (the Bernie stickers in Bloomington notwithstanding).

    My office will be a polling place tomorrow. I look forward to the turnout. I think it will be an absolute route.

    1. Sterling Waldorf May 4, 2016 at 2:38 pm

      An interesting thing to consider is that without Trump, the energy to this election would be significantly lower. The potential Bush-Clinton match up would reflect the lackluster crowds Clinton is getting, and who knows what Jeb would have had for a following once he hypothetically wrapped things up by March 15th.

      Looking back at the schedule, it is pretty obvious that the GOP planned for Jeb to end this all on March 15th for Jeb. Sanders was simply to push issues from the Left, I doubt the Democrat establishment expected Clinton to run so weak. This was all most likely set up to end mid-March allowing Clinton and Bush to spends 7 months boring America to death as the blob of managerialism suffocated the nation.

  10. I showed up 2 hrs early for the one down the road in shitty-haute. I figured that it’s a much smaller town so it couldn’t be that bad.

    WRONG. Line was 6 blocks long and the venue filled up. So I just milled around on the street listening to the speaker setup outside. But the crown was fun: good looking girls and young bros shouting insults at every protestor that drove by.

    Wish I could have camped out the night before with a blanket, a cooler full of beer and the same people I was in line with.

    1. First: check your e-mail.

      Second: 6 blocks sounds about right. I showed up several hours before doors even opened (let alone before the event started) in both Chicago and Albany, and discovered that I had to wind around several blocks before I even saw the end of the line.

      The people want Trump — the American people, at least. Too bad about all the other folks living on the territory of the USA.

  11. It occurred to me the other day about one thing that may drive Trump. On 9/11 muslim terrorists knocked down two of the greatest skyscrapers in the world. Trump the skyscraper builder takes it as a personal affront. Something to keep in mind as we ponder whether Trump is just gaming the American People.

    1. On the other hand, Muslims killed 3000 people down Trump’s street and it still took him 15 years to reach the conclusion that we have to physically remove these people. That’s not very heartening — although better late than never.

  12. LOL, WashPo actually points fingers at Christians for electing Trump? Jesus Christ.

  13. Especially poignant piece now that we know what happened after the IN primary! Really captures the Zeitgeist in this corner of the American mind-space.

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