Ever since Donald Trump began running around the country selling his MAGA hats and other junk at big rallies, I have been hearing and reading about something called the Trump ‘base.’ This is an alleged national upsurge of neo-populist sentiment which has supposedly remade the national electoral map.
It’s no longer Republicans versus Democrats, conservatives versus liberals, red states versus blue states. The country is now supposedly divided between people who adore Donald Trump and people who don’t. And no matter what happens between now and January 20, 2021 – you can already buy tickets for the inauguration event online – it is assumed that Trump will find some way to continue leading this merry band of supporters into and beyond the Promised Land.
Will Trump run again in 2024? Will he start a new media empire to compete with Fox? These are just two of the possible options available to a guy who can count on a seemingly endless tidal wave of support from millions, if not gazillions of adoring fans.
So in the interests of full disclosure and at least a bit of honesty from the so-called mainstream, ‘fake news’ media, I’m going to try and figure out exactly how large the Trump ‘base’ really happens to be. Because the truth is that the liberal, mainstream media has been just as complicit in promoting the idea of a Trumpian political movement as what we have been hearing from the so-called media on the alt-right.
Let’s start with the rallies that Trump continued to hold after his inauguration in 2017. He held 10 big rallies between February 18 and December 8, 2017. Four of these events were held in states that are more or less owned by the GOP: Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Alabama. Two rallies were held in Florida, the remaining four rallies were held in other swing states: Iowa, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Arizona. Trump lost Pennsylvania and Arizona last week.
In 2018 Trump did 46 rallies, most connected to various state-level campaigns, an election where the Democrats flipped the House. He went to Montana 4 times to showcase the GOP Congressman Matt Rosendale who lost his campaign to unseat Senator John Tester. He also went into Indiana 4 times and helped the GOP flip a Senate seat. He also did 3 rallies in Missouri and helped another GOP candidate, Josh Hawley, flip a Senate seat. Other than 2 rallies each in Nevada, Minnesota, Florida, and Pennsylvania, all the other events were held in reliably, red states.
Now let’s look at this last campaign, beginning with rallies in 2019. From February 11, 2019 until last week, Trump held 73 rallies, including 25 rallies in Michigan, Wisconsin, and PA – fat lot of good those rallies did for him, right? He also made 8 appearances in Florida before adoring fans. In other words, half his campaign appearances were held in 4 states that he needed to get re-elected and only one of those states remained red. Still wondering how come Trump’s not going to be making speech on January 20, 2021 unless he holds a private inaugural event for himself?
According to one of the media venues that has never (repeat: never) published a single article about Trump which isn’t first blessed by the White House staff, these events have typically drawn somewhere between 10,000 and 14,000 hardy souls. So let’s say that the total number that have shown up over the last four years to see the Great Man has been somewhere around a million and a half supporters of the MAGA creed.
Incidentally, a research team at Stanford estimates that more than 30,000 people contracted the corona virus at 18 of Trump’s events between June 20 and September 22 of this year. That’s an infection rate of roughly 14%, which is three times the national infection rate, but anything out of an elitist academic institution like Stanford must be fake news.
Next week I’m going to continue my analysis of the size of MAGA-USA by looking at the number of people who watch or listen to media venues which promote Trump’s new brand.