It’s a rare day when a reader doesn’t send me a video of a raucous Trump event or rally. Then they ask me, “Why don’t you cover this?!”
Well, I respond, I do cover them when they are news, i.e.- when they are different from the other Trump rallies I’ve written about. But I also admittedly shy away from those stories because I think they can give a wrong impression of a political campaign.
Yes, we Republicans and conservatives love to see the wide shots of a Biden event, as the whole picture of most of those soirees shows about a dozen bemasked idiots sitting around looking bored while Joe tells them about a dental appointment he had in 1955. By the same token vivacious jam-packed Trump rallies are fun to watch because the president is a natural entertainer and the enthusiasm of the crowd is electric. I would say it’s contagious, but perhaps not the term to use today.
But one thing you must remember about both types of shindigs, neither is a big indicator about an election result or the state of a campaign. Biden is stronger than his events let on and if rallies were any indication Trump would be president for life. Combined with a healthy dose of confirmation bias, people see these events and rallies and posit, “If this many people who are this committed to the president are going to these things then Trump is going to win big.” My response to that is, “If everybody at every Trump rally you’ve ever seen, and their family and neighbors, would constitute the majority of the votes for the president he’d lose the popular vote in November by at least 10 million and wouldn’t crack 100 in the Electoral College.” I mean c’mon guys, do the math.
And even if we take numbers out of it, where are those people from? If they are from a big or small battleground state the rally number can be indicative in a small sense, not dispositive, of enthusiasm for a campaign. But, if Trump goes to California or Biden goes to Oklahoma, who cares? They have no shot there.
What you can ascertain from a rally is message. Both campaigns, most campaigns, use rallies as summer stock in Hartford before the big Broadway show comes to the debates and end game messages. They want to know what works best with the base and that’s the kind of thing you can find out at a rally.
You can also use rallies as shakedown cruises for other campaign operations and, of course, for the free publicity. Also, using the press as a convenient, and physically present, target, as the president does is amusing and drives the leftist lapdog media nuts. Which makes them all the more anti-Trump rabid and thus less credible. Advantage Trump. So yup, lots of interesting things to glean from a rally. One of them is not how many people are going to vote for your candidate on Election Day.