I attended the latest Trump 2020 rally Tuesday evening in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This state is, of course, a key battleground for the November election.
By way of quick background, I am an economist currently doing some freelance work from this my hometown of Milwaukee. I will try to give readers who haven’t been to one of these very special events a bit of feeling for what it is like to experience a Trump rally.
I have previously seen the President speak at CPAC in 2016, but being at one of his rallies is on another level. Both, in magnitude and energy.
I unwisely left my place only a couple hours before the main event was scheduled to start. I wrongly figured the Bucks game in the arena next door would thin out a political crowd.
The line to get into the rally contained thousands and went for what seemed like miles. That was the case much earlier, when a friend of mine joined up, and, much later, when I did.
The lining-up experience was actually quite fun. The people were boisterous, yet polite. There was a “yuge” video screen as well as a great sound system to keep us all entertained. And I have never seen so, so, so many vendors, official and unofficial, selling every type of Trump merchandise imaginable – a few of which were a tad on the R-rated side.
After nearly two hours in a constantly moving line, I was literally one of the last dozen people to be allowed in to the arena. There were still many thousands behind me, who missed out.
The UW–Milwaukee Panther Arena, which is home to the American Hockey League’s Milwaukee Admirals, was packed. And packed, may I add, with plenty of non-white, non-male and non-middle-aged Trump enthusiasts.
The music was pumping even more so inside the arena than it was outside. It was an eclectic mix of songs: 60s, 70s and 80s; rock, pop and opera; and, of course, lots of Rolling Stones. There were some other speakers, like VP Pence and Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, to warm up the crowd, but they really couldn’t prepare one for the electricity that was about to be unleashed by the arrival of the president.
Trump slowly walked and waved his way to the podium. When he waved my way, up in one of the “nose bleed” sections, but it weirdly felt like he was waving just at me.
President Trump’s speech, which went for well over an hour, started out at a high-energy level and managed to grow as the night progressed. There were only three minor protest incidents.
The main theme, unsurprisingly, was: He did what he said he would do on the courts, economy, military, regulations, tax, trade and the wall … but that there is still much more to do. A supporting theme, refreshingly, was how he, unlike any Republican since Ike, is and will be bringing African-Americans “back home” to the GOP. That would be nearly 150 years earlier than LBJ cynically predicted by saying: “I’ll have [them] voting Democratic for the next 200 years.”
On a final and personal note, I loved his references during the course of the night to Churchill and Reagan, as well as Pelosi’s (soon to lose) 49ers, and my home suburb of West Allis.