Inside Trump’s Connecticut rally, where even the kids hate Hillary
‘She’s evil and she did a lot of bad things in Benghazi’
“Why do you like Donald Trump?” I ask nine-year-old Liam, who’s waiting to see his idol speak.
He’s one of several hundred supporters lining up to see Trump’s rally in Fairfield, Connecticut: a big Saturday night out.
Liam’s response is long-winded: “Because he’s gonna build a wall, he’s gonna Make America Great Again, because Hillary is just not the one ‘cause she’s evil and she did a lot of bad things in Benghazi, because she killed four lives and her excuse for that is ‘What difference does it make?’ Yeah.”
His spiel is a congealed mass of Trump slogans and FOX News headlines, which leads me to wonder whether he has organically developed his beliefs, or if his parents have programmed him for days to produce the above response.
The temperature outside is 97 degrees Fahrenheit, but it feels more like 108 in the sun. My feet are VERY sunburnt, save for the areas protected by the dual horizontal straps of my Birkenstocks. After a few hours of waiting I finally make it into the Pitt Center, and in a wicked turn of events, I find myself in a structure whose inner climate is akin to that of the Florida Keys: warm and moist.
The crowd’s scent is a mix of sweat, Marlboro Red cigarettes, and Chanel No 5. There are families with multiple young children, groups of NRA members, men in suits, many of whom are wearing the classic red Make America Great Again hats.
During the rally, cheers of “Trump Trump Trump” or “ Lock her up!” emerge from a small group of people, only to be amplified for minutes by the entire crowd.
The crowd is viewed by law enforcement and security from afar via the above “Control Room”. Dissent is handled simply, if enough people point at you and disagree with what you were saying, you are swiftly escorted out by security while the crowd yelled “Fuck you communist”, as was exactly the case with popular Trump protester Kiernan Majerus-Collins.
I begin to talk to the supporters around me. The woman I’m standing in front of is quite social, at one point even requesting some advice on how to “Tweet Trump and tell him it is too damn hot in here for us to be waiting for him.”
Matt (pictured above) is skeptical of me and the media in general, but after some some interrogation he deems me “fit” to speak with.
“It’s provocative,” he says with a grin and a wink, referring to his All Lives Matter t-shirt. “Make sure you get the ‘except ISIS’ part!”
Everyone is sweating, together, as one large mob in front of the main stage. A few local politicians speak before Trump takes the stage, including Fairfield Selectman Laurie McArdle, who responds to the common media narrative that “there is no hope” for Donald Trump with: “just because it is on TV, doesn’t make it true.” This seems rather pitiful, as almost every major poll has Clinton ahead of Trump, some by four points (LA Times, USC), some by six points (Bloomberg), and even by 10 points (NBC News). If the Trump supporters had a problem with the methodology of these polls, I might understand: but attacking the character of every press organization is suspect to say the least.
The crowd is told at around 6:30 PM that Donald Trump is only 10 minutes away from Fairfield. This turns into an hour-long wait in this sauna of a room, with the same four songs looping over and over. In a way, it is the lite-version of Hell. I start to wonder why these people trust this man to build a border wall with Mexico, destroy ISIS, and “fix our economy” when he can’t even arrive to his own rally on time.
When Trump finally arrives, the crowd goes berserk. Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless The USA” plays, the crowd chants “USA USA USA”; nationalism is in the air.
A Make-A-Wisher named Giacomo gets to meet Donald Trump, and for a moment, I start to see why the audience loves the Republican nominee so much.
That was, until he screws up, horribly. In the middle of introducing Giacomo on stage, he points toward the tripod-supported TV cameras. “Look at those cameras, they’re the worst human beings in the world,” he says. The crowd responds in tow with profanity, middle fingers, and loud shouts toward the fenced-off media area. This happens several times over the course of the night.
Trump rallies are perplexing as a social phenomenon. The supporters I speak to outside of rally were mostly average conservatives, but once the mob mentality sets in, everyone becomes anti-media, anti-Hillary, and anti-China: the anger is unleashed.
A Trump rally is pure theater; followers go there, united in their cause, to be loud and stand up for what they believe in, regardless of what the rest of society thinks.
Ultimately, the best way to sum up a Donald Trump rally is as an anti-establishment, far-right echo chamber. And regardless of how the election turns out, America will have to deal with their ignorance.