Sunday , May 19 2024

Deconstructing the spectacle & stagecraft of a Trump rally


GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN: By the time Donald Trump took to the stage for his rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin, some of his most ardent supporters had spent the night in their cars amid frigid temperatures to see the man they hope to once again elect as president.

As Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA” pumped from the speakers inside the convention center, the Republican former president-turned-candidate waved, swayed, clapped and blew kisses.

“Trump, Trump, Trump,” some in the crowd of 3,200 people chanted. A young couple held their baby aloft. A few people got teary.

Trump’s rallies are a defining feature of his presidential campaigns; all-day spectacles blending evangelical revivalist meeting and carnival, designed to deliver an emotional experience to his base and bring new backers into the fold, a campaign aide said.

In Trump’s third presidential campaign, a general election rematch against Democratic President Joe Biden on Nov. 5, the meticulously planned marathons have re-emerged as a central part of Trump’s bid to re-enter the White House.

The former reality TV star is involved in the “look, feel and tone” of the rallies including the music, selected from the personal playlist that Trump listens to during down time at his Mar-a-Lago Florida estate, said Justin Caporale, deputy campaign manager for operations.

“We are essentially producing rock concerts inside of a week, and we’re doing it multiple times a month,” Caporale said.

Trump has held 21 campaign rallies so far in 2024, including 11 in Iowa and New Hampshire during the Republican nominating race, according to Election Central, a non-partisan group that tracks public appearances by presidential candidates.

That compares to 13 by mid-April in 2020, when he was president, according media analysis.

Biden’s re-election campaign has largely bypassed big rallies for smaller meetings with voters at venues such as churches and union halls.

Trump’s rally schedule this cycle has had to compete with his court appearances on criminal and civil charges. He spent this past week in a New York courtroom for the start of his hush money criminal trial, before heading to swing state North Carolina for a rally on Saturday.

A media outlet attended Trump’s Green Bay rally on April 2 and interviewed four dozen attendees who collectively liked going to the rallies, they said, because it felt like a community and they didn’t have to worry about being politically correct. They said they came because they love Trump and his rallies are fun.

The said media outlet also spoke to two campaign officials, including Caporale, who described the strategy and stagecraft that go into creating an experience designed to excite the base and imbue a sense of belonging that bonds supporters to Trump and his populist message, with the aim of propelling him to a second term.

“These are people that are activists in our movement. They want the same thing we want to get President Trump elected for the next four years,” said Brian Hughes, a senior campaign adviser.

This was Boatman’s 85th rally and Anderson’s 51st. In North Carolina in March 2020, Trump’s son Eric pulled Anderson on stage so she could tell the crowd of 20,000 why she loved the then-president.

“This is like family,” Anderson, a retired high school attendance clerk, said before the Green Bay rally. “You make new friends from all over the country. At every Trump rally you leave with hope for our future.” (Int’l Monitoring Desk)

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