No, Mr. Glassner, Trump’s Amazing Rallies Are Not a Measure of His SuccessJef Costello
Michael Glassner, Chief Operating Officer of Donald J. Trump for President, has written an op-ed for The Minnesota Sun in which he attempts to explain the amazing turnout at Trump’s rallies. Trouble is, he gets it all wrong.
The Trump rally phenomenon demands a serious sociological study. It’s too bad there are no longer any serious sociologists. For the most part, Trump’s enemies have ignored the rallies, since the size and enthusiasm of the crowds worries them. When the rallies are discussed at all, they are inevitably compared to mass meetings organized by – you guessed it – Hitler. “The Nazis called them ‘rallies’ too,” recently declared one liberal genius. Really, all one need say in response to this dumbass is that, no, the Nazis spoke German. They called them Reichsparteitage, “Reich party days.” And what parties they were!
Trump holds his party days inside sports arenas, and he has been doing a much better job of filling those arenas than the NFL. Not long ago, Trump’s 2020 campaign kickoff rally was held in Orlando’s Amway Center. Supporters and the curious completely filled the stadium’s twenty thousand seats, and thousands more had to be turned away. And this regularly happens whenever Trump holds a rally. The rallies, moreover, just keep getting bigger and bigger. They were large in 2016, when Trump was running for office, and have grown substantially since his election.
Trump likes to joke that when he hears that a facility has been lined up for one of his appearances, he tells the organizers to get something even bigger. Other presidents and politicians (Hillary Clinton, for example) have had trouble filling high school basketball courts. Trump easily fills mammoth sports arenas. This is remarkable. And it’s remarkable that almost no one is saying so. There has not been this much enthusiasm for an American President since . . . . Well, come to think of it, has any previous President drawn crowds like this? We are looking at something new here, and it needs to be understood.
Enter the ominously-named Mr. Glassner. He writes:
Trump rallies are often compared to rock concerts. That’s a pretty good analogy, but it doesn’t quite capture the full extent of the festival-like atmosphere at these events. They’re actually the embodiment of a vast political and cultural movement, the likes of which our country has never seen before and may never see again after January of 2025.
Glassner also mentions something I had never heard before: The rallies are attracting Democrats as well, and not just as hecklers. When Trump held a rally in El Paso, Texas earlier this year, fifty percent of the approximately thirty thousand people who showed up were registered Democrats. The rest were split “more or less evenly between Republicans and independent voters” – again, according to Glassner. He also mentions the extraordinary sense of community and good will exhibited by the attendees, who often camp out (literally) for days outside the arenas to make sure they get a seat. One can almost smell the sausage and sauerkraut boiling, and hear the raucous calls of fresh-scrubbed, blond youth bouncing on trampolines and parading around with enormous papier-mâché pretzels. But I digress.
So what is Herr Glassner’s explanation? Why, it’s that Trump keeps his promises:
It’s not difficult to understand what’s driving the surge in turnout at Trump rallies. The fundamental difference between now and 2016 is that the last time around, candidate Trump could only make promises about what he would do once elected. This time around, President Trump can boast that he has spent the past two and a half years fulfilling those promises for the American people.
Which promises might these be? Glassner states that “[Trump’s] most important promise was to restore the U.S. economy to health after eight disastrous years of Democrat control.” But this is so blazingly inaccurate it amounts to an outright lie. Of course this wasn’t Trump’s “most important promise.” I would wager very few of those who voted for Trump did so purely for economic reasons. No, Trump’s most important promise was to end illegal immigration. I submit that there is no way Glassner cannot know this. He goes on to gas about “tax cuts,” “de-regulation,” “thousands of new jobs every month,” “the labor market,” protecting “American workers from the unfair trade practices of our economic and geopolitical adversaries,” and “finally holding Beijing to account.”
Now, I don’t doubt that all of this means something to the overwhelming white middle- and working-class Trump base. But it doesn’t mean nearly as much to them as the prospect of taking back their country. In other words: sending back the illegals and stopping new ones from coming in; rolling back the “diversity” that has all but completely destroyed community in our towns and cities; and reversing trends that would make whites a minority in the nation they founded in, say, another twenty-five years.
After devoting two robust and vivid paragraphs to the economy, Glassner devotes a mere forty vague words to immigration:
Despite an all-out obstruction campaign, Donald Trump has led the fight to assemble the necessary funding for border security while successfully negotiating immigration deals with Mexico and Guatemala – key elements of his broader plan to combat the illegal immigration crisis.
That’s it. Why so little on the issue that got Donald Trump elected, and why so much on the economy? Well, for his own personal reasons, Mr. Glassner may be less than enthusiastic about a reduction in American diversity. But the larger reason is that Trump has mostly been a complete failure on immigration. Despite making “build the wall” the centerpiece of his campaign, Trump spent two years with Republicans in control of both houses of Congress – and still no wall. It’s easy to blame Congressional Republicans for this; nevertheless, one has the feeling that, to say the least, Trump let a golden opportunity slip through his fingers. He has now successfully redirected several billion dollars from military construction projects to the building of the border wall – all without Congressional action. So why hadn’t he thought of this earlier? In the two and a half years during which Trump seemingly dithered on the issue, there has been a rise in illegal border crossings and in “asylum seekers.” We saw, for example, the appearance of great “caravans” headed toward our southern border. This was an effort obviously organized and funded by forces intent on testing Trump’s will on immigration, and on getting many more illegals into the country as fast as possible.
In addition, we shouldn’t get too excited about the new reallocation of funds to border wall construction. In September, the US Border Patrol announced that 65 miles of new wall had been built, with a projected 450 more miles by the end of 2020. To put this into perspective, the US-Mexico border is 1,933 miles long. Just one day after this announcement, the US Border Patrol followed up with the report that multiple border wall projects had been stopped because funds had run out. More reallocated military money is on the way. But it’s not clear that there will be enough. And if it takes around 14 months to build 450 miles of wall, then it will take around 5 years to do the entire job (if it is even doable). I will leave it to you to speculate how many more illegal aliens could sneak in during that time. Of course, the wall is by no means a complete and total solution. Trump has also failed to be decisive on deportation: Obama deported more illegals per month than Trump has. Meanwhile, he calls for more “legal immigration” (which we don’t need either), and continues to resettle Somali refugees in American towns.
Thus, it is with good reason that Mr. Glassner – who, again, oversees Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign- deemphasizes immigration, and places the economy front and center. But it was Trump’s immigration promises that were the centerpiece of his 2016 campaign. Trump also promised not to involve the US in more foreign conflicts, especially in the Middle East. He has kept that promise, only in the sense that we have not yet involved ourselves in a new war. But with each passing day it seems more and more likely that war with Iran is inevitable – a war which would probably be far worse for the US than our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. As Pat Buchanan likes to point out, war with Iran would be the defining event of Trump’s presidency.
Trump seems to be especially ill-equipped in foreign affairs. His choice of John Bolton as National Security Advisor was inexplicable, given Bolton’s reputation as a warmonger. And though Bolton is now gone, we are closer to war with Iran than we have ever been. If there are further attacks on Saudi Arabia (and God only knows if those really came from Iran), it will be difficult for Trump to avoid being pushed into a full-scale conflict. He seems very vulnerable to being “played” where foreign affairs are concerned, especially by Israel.
So, Mr. Glassner is just dead wrong: Those throngs of people who keep showing up at Trump rallies are not there because he’s kept his promises. They keep showing up because they are hoping against hope that he will – maybe, in the fullness of time, at the appropriate juncture, when the moment is ripe, or whatever. Because, of course, Trump is the only game in town. He is still the one, lone person in American politics who might at least try to do something about immigration, and our endless wars with Eurasia and Eastasia. And maybe he will. Who knows? Trump is maddeningly unpredictable. It’s easy to both underestimate him, and overestimate him. He is the second most unknowable power in the universe, next to the Almighty. So, the crowds keep showing up, because Trump is still their only hope. Sort of like why people keep showing up to church – even though, unlike Trump, God is never there to greet them. It’s a choice between Trump on the one hand, and on the other, lying, do-nothing establishment Republican cucks and certifiably insane, malevolent Leftists.
But there is more. As has been noted, especially by Trump’s enemies, the crowds at these rallies are overwhelmingly white. At his recent rally in New Mexico (which he hopes to tip in 2020), Trump’s team strategically placed a number of Hispanics behind him, bearing signs that read “Latinos for Trump.” Trump probably is more popular with non-whites than any Republican President in the last several decades, but that’s not saying much. Trump rallies are still “implicitly white” events. And that is the more significant, and interesting, reason why white people keep filling those arenas. Glassner and others have referred to the terrific sense of community and camaraderie of the crowds at these rallies. What they are witnessing is the pleasure white people take in being with each other, and standing up for themselves and the man they believe is their supporter.
Of course, no one is allowed to actually say this. No one is allowed to say that they support Trump because they think he is good for white interests. But it is just beneath the surface. And perhaps only a minority of the whites in these crowds are consciously aware of it. It is, of course, absurd to call Trump a “White Nationalist.” All signs indicate that he really believes the civic nationalist platitudes he regularly utters. But Leftists have been quite correct to see in Trump’s supporters a White Nationalist impulse, even if it is only subconscious. To be clear, I mean that at some level of their awareness, white American Trump supporters are acting based on what they perceive is in their interests as whites. They still see Donald Trump as their best hope. They flock to these events seeking a renewed sense of optimism. And they want the experience, if only for a few hours, of what it feels like to live in a homogeneous society, in which people trust one another and share the same values. They want to feel hope again, for the future of their country and their people.
The best analogy for understanding the Trump rallies and what they represent is the “megachurch” phenomenon, especially in the South. Housed in huge buildings, with “chapels” that seat thousands (sometimes tens of thousands), the megachurches are entire communities unto themselves – mostly white – offering not just Sunday religious services, but classes, daycare, counseling, sports, food courts, valet parking, and much else. Megachurches are a form of “white flight.” Their towns having been destroyed, taken from them by Walmart and “diversity,” whites have built new implicitly white communities within the walls of the megachurch. So it is with the Trump rallies: They are a temporary, implicitly white community that exists for a few hours, so long as Trump is in town.
It remains to be seen whether this enthusiasm will continue into 2020. If Trump gets us involved in another war in the Middle East, all bets are off. We may see those crowds begin to dwindle. And it remains to be seen whether there has not already been such demographic change since 2016 (as some of my friends believe) that Trump has no chance of being reelected. If that is the case, then the enthusiasm of those huge white crowds will transform into rage, as they realize that their country is irretrievably lost to them, and that there is no longer any hope of some politician getting it back. From such situations, revolutions are made.