At lively rally, Trump supporters foreshadow their party’s bleak future

G. Elliott Morris

I went to a Trump rally. It was safe, focused, and loud — I mean really, really loud. Not only were the speakers about 20 decibels too loud, but the audience was deafening. When my head wasn’t rattling from the shouts of “USA! USA!” and “Lock her up!”, I was able to get a handle on what, and who, exactly a Donald Trump rally is meant for. 

I had the pleasure of attending Trump’s Aug. 23 rally in Austin as a credentialed member of the press. This provided me with a unique perspective on the event, mostly through the rails of the pen in which they contain all of us media. The pen is a quiet, relatively peaceful area where journalists type and tweet away while cable news crews record the entire event. Outside of the press pen, though, is an entirely different world. 

There were few protesters — 3 or 4, if I missed one — in the sea of about 5,000 Trump supporters. These supporters aren’t your casual, Thanksgiving uncle-level Republicans, either; they are hat-wearing, flag-bearing, card-carrying members of the Trump Club. I repeatedly heard shouts of profanity directed at Hillary Clinton come from a man behind me. A younger woman added to this with calls to worship and reason, repeatedly saying “Pray for Peace! Vote for Trump!”

Yet, beyond the 150 dB volume speakers, the deafeningly patriotic and often crude crowd and beyond the cheers Rudy Giuliani and Mark Burns enjoyed, the most memorable takeaway from my visit to Trump’s Clubhouse was the perpetually renewed arraignment, indictment and prosecution of Hillary Clinton. 

Put simply: Republicans, mostly the Trump supporters, continue to reaffirm my fear that GOP voters are more anti-Hillary than they are pro-Trump.

When I asked a young, college-aged woman from Arlington, Texas, this question — whether she is more anti-Hillary than pro-Trump — she denied it fervently. Her friend, though, said “I wasn’t too sure about Trump before today. Now I know that he’s the alternative to Hillary, and that’s why I’m voting for him.”

This exchange happened, of course, while vendors not 200 yards away were shouting “Get your ‘Hillary for Prison’ shirts here!”

Of course, this could be an isolated incident, right? It is absolutely true that this one woman is not representative of the entire Trump base. To this criticism, though, I offer a recollection of various speakers from last night. 

Mark Burns had a few choice words to say about the former Secretary of State. He explained “We will never let Clintons take power again!” to which the entire arena responded by exclaiming in unison “Never! Never! Never!”

Rick Figueroa also enjoyed enormous hollers of support for stating “Not to vote is a vote for Hillary.”

The response from the crowd was no less enthusiastic when Trump gave remarks along similar lines. Which raises a singular question to me: Where does GOP support go when their one unifying issue is resolved, either by election or loss? Republicans may just find themselves with a George Wallace situation on their hands next time around, where lack of unifying issues and commonality breeds dissent among the Party’s base. 

Trump and his supporters’ continual indictment of Hillary Clinton may leave impassioned voters, like those behind me at Trump’s Austin rally, with no direction and with aimless ballots in 2020. Even if they can muster together 40 million like-minded Americans, the next iteration of Trumpers will have to address real issues like crushing student loan debt, affordable housing and maternity/paternity leave (which Trump did not mention at his rally) in order to elect another elephant to the White House. Until then, I suspect conservative Americans will continue their mistake of mainly rallying against the Clinton political dynasty.

Morris is a government and computer science junior from Port Aransas. He is a senior columnist. Find him on Twitter @gelliottmorris.