The timeline of attending a Donald Trump rally

San Diego Trumpchella 2016


Calm before the storm. A sea of red hats engulf the sidewalk parallel to the San Diego convention center. I quickly pick up my pace as the crowds increase. Unfolding my printed confirmation ticket, the police direct me to the end of the line stretching far out from the entrance. Spirits are high, patriotism is beyond the 4th of July, and to my surprise everything seemed calm. A bit too calm.

Where are the obnoxious hicks yelling racial slurs to the skies? Maybe my prejudice judgment is getting ahead of me. However, my friend and I waste no time and quickly pulled out an iPhone and a notepad to start decoding what a “Trump rally” really is.

Already a few interviews in, I felt like I was at a concert. Moreover, a music festival. Coachella but for Trump: Trumpchella. Coming from all over the US, supporters were ready for anything. We meet a man named Dan from Connecticut, who has been on the road since the beginning, following Trump’s every move. If that’s not a #1 fan, then I’m not sure what is.

With foldable chairs, cases of water to stay hydrated, and outfits that could have easily been mistaken for USA vs. MEX soccer game, faces are beaming with excitement. The passion to see Trump himself is beyond any celebrity band reuniting for a final world tour.

With time still to spare, we decide to leave the Trump loving fans and greet the first wave of the complete opposite mindsets. The Trump haters. Again, wanting things to heat up and get rowdy, my friend and I are amazed of the peacefulness of the protesters. Once more, a bit too peaceful. They are placed in a very strategic spot, far-far away from the giddy Trump crowds. It’s evident San Diego learned from the recent Trump clashes: the city seemed prepared for anything. I mean, Mexico is literally only a 30 minute drive away…

Now fast forward a couple of hours, it’s finally time to go in. It’s getting hot. People have been on their feet for hours and water resources have been running low. There seems to be a change in mood, an uneasy shift towards discomfort as the staff start filing us in like sheep. Passing through the airport-like security line we find ourselves in the middle of it all.


I am sardined in between a sweaty man with a black eye and a handsome young boy wearing a suit. Crowds are chanting, “Build that Wall,” as I can’t feel my feet. I’m too far from the stage to see what’s going on. Grasping for air, I turn to my friend as she says, “this wait is as bad as Coachella.” Finally, to everyone’s surprise, our very own Sarah Palin takes the stage. Unable to see her all at once, her eerie voice was enough satisfaction. For a quick second I think I’m on SNL.


An interesting selection of music is playing and still a no show for Mr Donald J Trump. Spirits are tense as people started to feel exhaustion. However, in unison, the crowd yells “USA, USA, USA,” louder and stronger as if their lives depend on it.


The GOP nominee takes the podium. Trump supporters go wild. Jumping up and up down with hands up in the air, I lost count on the amount of times my foot has been stepped on. A complete Trumpchella moment. Right off the bat, he pleases the crowd with his infamous “We’re going win, win, win.” I will admit, it was exciting seeing him in person and he’s not as orange as CNN would like him to be. Mr. Trump continues with his predictable phrases being a complete crowd pleaser.


Outside, on Harbor Dr and Fifth Street about 50 riot cops circulate the protesting crowd which has multiplied about 10 times, along with more grotesque signs and Donald Trump piñatas being thrown around while “Fuck Donald Trump” was heavily being chanted. Numerous Mexican flags were waving high as the rest of the trump supporters left the venue. Nonetheless, It was still the calm before the storm…


All hell breaks loose. The police break form as the protestors run with their hands clenched in fists towards trump supporters. And of course Norma and I are right in the middle of it all. It was absolute chaos, disorientation, a moment of terror. For hours we witness both crowds provoking each other, swinging punches, throwing water bottles, ripping signs and even an American flag being burned. The tension was high, my adrenaline was pumping through my veins, enticing me to jump in. the police were pushing us into to barricade. It was madness.

Trumpchella was definitely one for the books.