#1 Notes on a Phenomenon [Steyn on Trump Rally] by algernonpj 10.01.2016 18:36

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Notes on a Phenomenon
by Mark Steyn
January 9, 2016

On Tuesday night, my daughter and her friends went down to Claremont, New Hampshire to see Donald Trump in action. She and her chums range from the not terribly political to those with the usual enthusiasms of youth, so they went mainly because Trump's a hot ticket, and we don't get a lot of those in the Granite State. Her only other candidate encounter this season was at the North Haverhill Fair last summer when Lindsey Graham pounced outside the 4-H barn, no doubt with an eye to recruiting her for one of his "rotating first ladies".

At any rate, after hearing my daughter's account of the night, my sons said they wanted to see Trump, too. I wasn't particularly enthusiastic, having wasted far too much of my time in New Hampshire on campaign events, going all the way back to the oxymoronic "Dole rallies" of 1996. But they persisted. So we checked out the schedule and discovered that he was due to be in Bernie Sanders' socialist fortress of Vermont on Thursday. Which is how we wound up crossing the Connecticut River and traversing the Green Mountain State, and eventually found ourselves in an unusually lively Burlington. Herewith, a few notes on what I saw:

~THE VENUE: When was the last time a GOP presidential candidate held (in the frantic run-up to Iowa and New Hampshire) an event in Vermont? Every fourth January, Republican campaigns are focused on the first caucus and the first primary states, as Bush, Rubio, Christie, Kasich, Huckabee, Fiorina et al are right now. But in fact the Green Mountain primary is on March 1st, and its delegates count as much as any other state's. In recent cycles, the American electoral system has diminished and degraded itself by retreating into turnout-model reductionism and seriously competing only over a handful of purple states. Even if he's only doing it as a massive head-fake, Trump understands the importance of symbolism: By going into Berniestan, he's saying he's going for every voter and he's happy to play down the other guy's half of the field.

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And then the announcement: "Ladies and gentlemen, the next President of the United States, Donald J Trump..."

~THE SHOW: He's very good at this. Very good. On the same day as Trump's speech, Peter Shumlin, the colorless dullard serving as Vermont's governor, came to the State House in Montpelier to deliver his "State of the State" address. He required two prompters so he could do the Obama swivel-head like a guy with good seats at Wimbledon following the world's slowest centre-court rally. Two prompters! In the Vermont legislature! And for the same old generic boilerplate you forget as soon as you've heard it.

Trump has no prompters. He walks out, pulls a couple of pieces of folded paper from his pocket, and then starts talking. Somewhere in there is the germ of a stump speech, but it would bore him to do the same poll-tested focus-grouped thing night after night, so he basically riffs on whatever's on his mind. This can lead to some odd juxtapositions: One minute he's talking about the Iran deal, the next he detours into how Macy's stock is in the toilet since they dumped Trump ties. But in a strange way it all hangs together: It's both a political speech, and a simultaneous running commentary on his own campaign.

It's also hilarious.
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To be sure, some of the gags can be a little - what's the word? - mean-spirited. The performance was interrupted by knots of protesters. "Throw 'em out!" barked Trump, after the first chants broke out. The second time it happened, he watched one of the security guys carefully picking up the heckler's coat. "Confiscate their coats," deadpanned Trump. "It's ten below zero outside." Third time it happened, he extended his coat riff: "We'll mail them back to them in a couple of weeks." On MSNBC, they apparently had a discussion on how Trump could be so outrageous as to demand the confiscation of private property. But in showbusiness this is what is known as a "joke". And in the theatre it lands: everyone's laughing and having a ball.

That's the point. I think it would help if every member of the pundit class had to attend a Trump rally before cranking out the usual shtick about how he's tapping into what Jeb called "angst and anger". Yes, Trump supporters are indignant (and right to be) about the bipartisan cartel's erasure of the southern border and their preference for unskilled Third World labor over their own citizenry, but "anger" is not the defining quality of a Trump night out. The candidate is clearly having the time of his life, and that's infectious, which is why his supporters are having a good time, too. Had Mitt campaigned like this, he'd be president. But he had no ability to connect with voters. Nor does Jeb ("I've been endorsed by another 27 has-beens") Bush.

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So, for all the post-2012 talk about outreach to Hispanics and gays, in the end the GOP would rather have the old, safe, depressed-turnout model than a bunch of first-time Republican voters coming in and monkeying about with their racket.

The headline in Friday's local paper read: "BURLINGTON TRUMPED". That's what his fans liked. In the liberal heart of a liberal state, the supporters streaming out of the Flynn Theatre, waving genially to the social-justice doofuses across the way, couldn't recall a night like it. Not in Vermont. In New Hampshire, sure. In South Carolina. But not in Vermont. It felt good to be taking it to the other side's turf. And they'd like a lot more of it between now and November.

http://www.steynonline.com/7408/notes-on-a-phenomenon

#2 RE: Notes on a Phenomenon [Steyn on Trump Rally] by ThirstyMan 10.01.2016 20:37

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I posted this one on my Facbook. I've attended two Trump rallies here in MA and found his description of these events to be "dead on, balls accurate" [it's an industry term]

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