It felt like I was walking into a rock concert. Lights were flashing, the crowd was jumping, and a “U-S-A” chant echoed through the ballroom. There were drinks flowing and I swear I saw an infant doing jaeger-bombs. By the time the main act came on stage the place was absolutely electric.
Enter Donald Trump.
The sole reason I went. I don’t support him, but I love him.
This was the first rally I’ve ever been to and it won’t be the last, but I’m already concerned that nothing will live up to it. Donald had such a command of the crowd. They hung on every word, cheered at every line, and booed at every mention of Hillary. For those 90 minutes we were a family — a right wing, surprisingly diverse family. That was partly due to the rally being held in Doral, just 30 minutes outside of Miami, at the hotel that Trump himself owns. But, if you told me that after Trump’s comments on immigration I’d see such a vibrantly Hispanic crowd I’d have called you loco and you’d have called me a gringo just for saying that. Even Trump remarked at how pleased he was at the turn out.
“In this group, I wasn’t so sure I should be talking about walls. Let me tell you, you know who wants to stop illegal immigration more than anybody? The Hispanics that are legally in this country.”
And the crowd goes wild! “Build that wall!” boomed again and again. Trump had captured the hearts of everyone in attendance. Well, all but twelve. There were three instances of protestors popping up to support immigration and each resulted in them being forcibly thrown out of the ballroom. But as Trump put it, “Sometimes you have to kick people out.”
The first group popped up holding shoddy paper letters spelling “RESPECT” and the people around them immediately began ripping the letters out of their hands. People booed, and security mobilized. Within moments a group of five or so were being dragged out of the Donald J. Trump Grand Ballroom to a symphony reminiscent of “Move B*tch Get Out Da Way”. Check your Instagrams, I’m sure you’ll find a video of it. Trump turned back to the mic and begged the guards not to hurt them. Such a sweetie, right?
The second group emerged not even 5 minutes later. The same shtick. Signs went up and were quickly torn down. Security swooped in and, in an oddly predictable manner, the crowd split like the red sea to allow the precession to pass. Then, the most amazing thing happened. One of the protestors behaved like you would if you ran into a black bear in the middle of the forest – he played dead. His body went limp, he fell to the floor, and before you knew it, the bear attacked. In this case the bear was a bald Trump supporter dressed in a pink collared shirt who must’ve weighed 230 pounds. Definitely not part of the security team. He pounced on the young protestor and dragged him by his hands right out the door. Note to readers: playing dead works against bears, not middle aged conservatives. Then the Donald showed his teeth. “Two groups is fine, but with the third group we’ll start using violence, and with the fourth group I’ll say, ‘Get the hell outta here!’” You tell ’em, Donny.
I couldn’t wait for the third group to pop up and luckily it didn’t take long. Unfortunately by this point the entire protesting thing was a bit played out. R-E-S-P-E-C-T up. Protestors down. Crowd goes wild. Trump delivers a one-liner. Crowd goes wilder. You get the gist.
The thing about this rally was that it wasn’t really a rally. Sure, he mentioned the problem with super PACs funding other campaigns because of course, Trump can fully support his own. He talked about other candidates and, naturally, took shots at Jeb Bush, calling him “low energy” which led to a “super-low-energy” cheap shot at Ben Carson. But the fact is all of these politically charged ideas came in the middle of anecdotes about Trump himself. The low energy comment appeared in a part that, from what I could tell, was a “I have a black friend, so I’m ‘with it’” story, in which he recalls his unnamed famous black friend calling him, “the greatest trash talker ever.” I’d buy it. He even started his speech with a 20-minute narrative depicting the time he shaved $20 million off of the contract that landed him Trump Doral. He plugged his book The Art of The Deal and regardless of all of his self-promotion I found myself clapping.
I honestly learned more about business from this rally than I did about politics. But that’s what you get when you watch Trump speak. He’s a businessman and an entertainer. He knows how to work a crowd, and maybe that’s how he got to where he is in the polls.
South Park got it right in their episode, “Where My Country Gone?” To summarize, Canada elects a Canadian Trump who builds a wall to keep Americans out. Canada becomes a desolate wasteland and a Canadian family moves to America. The father of said family delivers this golden speech:
“There were several candidates during the Canadian elections. One of them was this brash asshole who just spoke his mind. He didn’t really offer any solutions. He just said outrageous things. We thought it was funny. Nobody really thought he’d ever be president. It was a joke. But we just let the joke go on for too long. He kept gaining momentum, and by the time we were all ready to say, ‘OK, let’s get serious now. Who should really be president?’ He was already being sworn into office. We weren’t paying attention!”
Pay attention, people. This was a rock concert, not a presidential rally. Now, I’ve been to Ultra. I’ve camped at Firefly. I’ve been around the proverbial block and I have to say the Donald Trump rally at Doral competes as one of the most hyped events I’ve ever witnessed. This man is so much more than a presidential candidate. While he may not be what America needs in the Oval Office, I now know I need more Donald in my life.