Tuesday, January 05, 2016
Donald Trump's rallies are true political phenomenons, drawing the kind of crowds normally reserved for rock stars. But the reason why 10,000-20,000 people wait in line to see him isn't because they're hungry for a detailed policy speech by one of America's great thinkers.
Nor are they coming to see him, contrary to much speculation among the punditry, because they're so "angry." MSNBC's Jacob Soboroff interviewed Trump supporters at a recent rally but these 'great American patriots' couldn't even intelligently articulate why they're so enraged. One exasperated woman sighed, saying she's "Tired of all the lies we've been told...and I believe everything Donald Trump says..." I guess she missed the Politifact study illustrating that Trump tells the truth just 1% of the time.
So what is it then that's driving this unprecedented attendance? It's simple: Trump's rallies are as hot a commodity as Jerry Springer tickets. His "fans" are there for the spectacle not the substance. They want the hockey fight, not the game itself. The game bores them. They just come for the brawls and bloodshed. And Trump gives 'em plenty of both. "Don-ald, Don-ald, Don-ald!"
It's the same reason why MSNBC, CNN and the rest of the mainstream media lavishes so much free airtime on Trump, hanging on his every word and covering his rallies live like they're U2 concerts. Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson and all the other GOP hopefuls are lucky if they get a 20-second clip, while Trump's on the tube 24/7. He's a ratings bonanza, guaranteed to do or say something so outrageous and offensive that it would make even a train wreck wince. Racism? Sexism? Xenophobia? Bullying? It's all part of the daily Donald Trump Road Show.
To be sure, the media can't get enough of Trump. And neither can the simple-minded citizens of Smalltown, USA, for whom Trump is likely the biggest celebrity they'll ever see up close. Let's face it, when you're in Ames, IA, Hampton, NH or Hilton Head, SC, going to a Trump rally just might be the most exciting thing you can possibly do.
But bracing the November weather to vote, however, is an entirely different commitment. History and statistics show that come election day these fired-up Trumpites will likely stay home, click the remote and simply switch to another salacious reality show.