Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Make America Great Again: Trump in Austin (8/23/16)

Trump rally at Austin's Expo Center Tuesday night:

Press reports (Austin American-Statesman and Texas Tribune) Wednesday said line outside was "one-third of a mile" long and that estimated crowd inside was 5,000. Completely underestimated. The first daylight photo below (which I took) shows about 1/3 of a mile of people; what my photo doesn't show: at the end of the line of people that you can see, the line (which I'd just been in for an hour) stretches to the left for another quarter mile, then to the left again (in a U-shape in its entirety) for another 1/3 of a mile. As for inside the arena: The Expo Center website says that their seating in the stands holds 6,500 and the floor another 3,000. The third photo below (from Trump's Twitter feed) shows the crowd accurately--- the place was jam-packed. The Houston Chronicle estimated the crowd at 8,000. I'd say around 9,000.

I was also anticipating more protesters. Ahead of time, I checked out various anti-Trump meet-up groups on Facebook, where hundreds of people were pledging to show up. While waiting to get in (around 5:30pm), however, I didn't see a single protester. Once inside, 3 single protesters were kicked out. Afterwards, at 10pm in the car heading out, I saw a group of about 7 people with pro-Bernie signs on the street across from the Expo Center.

I mention the crowd estimates because Trump has constantly claimed for the past year that "The Media" has consistently vastly underestimated the sizes of his crowds and refused to actually SHOW the crowds. I didn't know if he was just being paranoid or mouthy... Now that I've been there in person and read the media accounts the next day: I know that he was telling the truth. Reporting a crowd as more than 40% smaller than it actually was isn't just making a simple mathematical mistake --- that's intentionally trying to sway readers into thinking that Trump doesn't have the actual support that he clearly does. Giving equal air-time to a dozen protesters when supporters of the candidate numbered in the thousands --- that's intentionally trying to sway readers into thinking that Trump doesn't have the actual support that he clearly does. Psychology is heavily involved in these campaigns. I'm glad to have been able to see the actual scene for myself.

The crowd was a vast mixture of people. Rednecks and bikers and frat boys, sure. But then plenty of couples (aged 20s to 70s) and gay guys (look up "Twinks for Trump" -- it's a thing) and middle-aged women like me and dads with their teenaged sons. Oh yeah, and blacks and Hispanics and Indians and Asians of all ages.

I went with a friend from work (last picture below; I'm very grateful to her for driving us both out there and dealing with the traffic and parking); she opted to go sit down during the rally, while I stayed down on the floor, as close as I could get, where I was surrounded by a sea of mainly TALL men in their red "Make America Great Again" caps. I was about 30 feet away from the stage, but it was hard to see with all of the big guys around me! At 51, I now wish I'd taken a seat instead --- I was TIRED (and sweaty--see last picture below) at the end of the night from standing for over 4 hours in such close quarters. I love Trump, but by the time he came on to speak, I must confess that I was too weary to feel any sort of thrill.


ew said...

Hi! I came across your blog as I researched Assia Wevill but was pleasantly surprised as I continued through rest of your writing. I respect your unbiased (dare I say based?) telling of facts and your dry + humorous observations on life as it is. Thank you for being bold enough to support Trump publicly; Austin has long flirted with becoming a quagmire of regressive-left group-think and any act against that is a step in the right direction. :)

Beth Austin said...

Thanks, ew, for reading! RE Austin: I went to grad school in San Francisco in '94-'95, was horrified by the irrational leftist PC-ness there at that time, couldn't wait to get back to Austin... Now, though, what I'd thought was only peculiar to SF seems to have spread nationwide, including to Austin... Logically and intellectually intolerable to me! I do think Trump is a decided "poke in the eye" to that type of "safe space" culture.