If you asked me what my experience would be at a presidential candidate’s campaign event, I would have believed that the candidate would voice his or her opinion concerning political issues facing America. However, my experience attending the Donald Trump rally on April 11 at the Times Union Center in Albany proved otherwise.
Within the first ten minutes of his speech, he stated, “is there anything more fun than a Trump rally…this was said to me by one of the great musical geniuses, I won’t tell you his name, I don’t want to get in trouble, but he said ‘Donald you’re the greatest in the world and you’re the only one who can fill an arena without a guitar,’ meaning without music.”
This opening line encapsulates my experience attending a rally devoid of political substance, and full of entertainment value and anger. As the event unfolded, Trump discussed issues such as immigration and foreign policy.
Trump’s speech centered on barring all illegal Mexicans from entering the United States by building a wall, and making Mexico pay for it. This issue was extremely prevalent because on multiple occasions, the audience chanted “build a wall, make them pay.”
Though this slightly illuminates his stance on immigration, he did not include the tactics which he would use in order to build the wall, and believes that illegals are a monolith sucking our government’s coffers dry. He generalizes that all immigrants as one nationality, crossing the border by foot, becoming more entitled than our veterans.
I was expecting him to mention political issues that are important and relevant to me as a first time voter in a presidential primary, however Trump did not raise any issues that are meaningful to me, such as environmental laws, criminal justice reform, women’s issues, and student debt.
Throughout the hour-long event, the majority of the audience was screaming and cheering, enticing each other to identify and kick out non-supporters. Trump even went as far as asserting, “go home to mommy,” resulting in the crowd repeating this statement.
I watched as two middle school aged students were dragged by police officers out of the arena with thousands of people cheering in accordance, underscoring Trump’s entertainment value.
What is entertainment without excitement?
Expletives such as attendees raising their middle fingers and yelling “f*** Obama” were frequenct occurences at this rally.
The removal of non-Trump supporters acted as grounds for anger, animating Trump’s devotees.
By participating in a political rally, I thought I would become more educated about Trump’s policies and more persuaded to vote for him, as his number of delegates earned steadily increases, yet my experience was akin to a WWE match.