At the Trump rally

No that’s not a cardboard cutout! Trump state Chairmen, Former Governor Dave Heineman and State Senator Beau McCoy with Donald Trump at the Omaha rally.

[embedit snippet=”nebraska-ppp”]Were you there for Friday’s Donald Trump rally at the airport hangar?
Did you figure out the parking?
Did you yell, “Mexico!

Well, here are a few thoughts from my time with the other 3,500 or so partisans…



Trump walked in he yelled, “Hey! ten thousand people here!”

Which was Trump being very Trumpian on his estimates of the greatest and best of everything. The general estimate of around 3,000 was probably correct enough. Though, all in all the area was pretty full.

But in general the time and location were not optimal if your goal was lots of people. It was a Friday afternoon, and not everyone can get off at 3 in the afternoon to attend.

And then there was site itself. I was told by many advance peeps and law enforcement that it was the best they could do on short notice. Baxter Arena was being used for graduation. There was a concert at Ralston. Everything at the Link was full. TDAmerica had a ball game.

My wife mentioned she went to a Dan Quayle event at the hangar (1988, I believe). And the site wouldn’t have been too bad…if there was ANY parking. People were warned about no parking and long, long walks and that likely kept many away.

Your’s truly?



The crowd was very…bro-centric. If you were hoping to see some dudes you know there from the gym sporting their USA tank-tops, the odds were pretty good. Though the balance was your average political crowd. At least for the early arrivers. After the initial rush there was zero line to get in, and there was plenty of elbow room, cool breeze, etc.

Here are a few views.

Here is a shot from the inside, a few hours before the start:

Trump Hangar 06

Here is a shot from the back corner, outside…

Trump Hangar 01

And here was the crowd once Trump got going:

Trump Hangar 03

Governor Ricketts (whom I would have sworn got intro-ed as “Senator Ricketts”) then warmed up the crowd with some Republican red meat before Trump took the stage.

I won’t bother summarizing the 40 minute speech, except to say that it was…Trump-Lite. If you were hoping for the full-calorie version of The Donald, you instead got a more tepid, less filling brew.

Gone were the recitations of poll after poll after poll that Trump gave, for instance, back in December in Council Bluffs. And many of the stories of the great deals and dumb opposition were (more or less) gone as well.

Any Nebraska-centric commentary consisted almost entirely of a few quips about tariffs on Nebraska beef to Japan. It was as if he walked past Governor Ricketts on the way to the stage, said, “Hey, fantastic! Beautiful! Hey Governor, what are the issues? Tariffs on beef? Terrible. Horrible! Gotta get rid of that! OK, let’s go!”

He seemed sort of about to address the Sarah Root death, but held back. (Thogh met with her mother later.)

But that was pretty much it for local points.


The gangs all there

And then he ended, and spent a solid half-hour taking pictures and signing autographs. (My boy wrenched his arm in there, and got this one:)

Trump signature

A few others hung out and got additional pics. A couple included State Senators Jim Smith and Tommy Garrett, both Trump supporters:

Smith and Garrett

Chip Maxwell was there (I could tell it was Chip because he was sporting a “Chip Maxwell for Congress” shirt…) passing out stickers.

Don and Angie Bacon were there too:

Don and Angie Bacon


Are you not entertained?

Any fans you talk to will tell you they had a great day — well, unless you had to walk a mile. Even those hikers will likely tell you it was all worth it.

And THIS is what people really wanted, right? A visit from the national candidate. Of course, people want their votes to count and make a difference. But in the long run, that would have only made the difference if it had gone to an open convention.

So Republicans got a visit from one of the candidates. People focused on Omaha for the day. National news showed Trump speaking with an “Omaha” up in the corner.

State Senator John Murante’s plan to have an earlier Primary is probably a good idea — though I would add that it would be better if a national plan for the primaries was worked out instead.

This is a random year, and the next one won’t likely be the same. But would earlier be better? Yup.


Best buds

Governor Ricketts stepping up and introducing Trump was…surprising, yeah? His Dad is the top funder for the #NeverTrump movement. When referred to, they say, “The Ricketts Family” as in, ALL of them are in the #NeverTrump camp.

Well, apparently minus one, now.
That may make for an awkward Thanksgiving.
What’s next? Pete showing up in a White Sox jacket?

And Trump didn’t let it go — suggesting that he might even become a Cubs fan now.

But Ricketts is doing what some others in the party aren’t doing: stepping up as a member of the Republican party. Because it is difficult to say that you are a leader at this point, if you don’t support the candidate.

As a rank and file member, if you can not support Trump. But if you are a leader in the organization, it is difficult to keep that gig. That is why so many are having a beef with Speaker Paul Ryan. While likely Trump and Ryan are just posturing, if Ryan backed off in the end, there is an argument that his standing as a party leader changes.

And if you’re supporting a Third Party?
Well, that puts you out, right?


The Scott Vorhees Show!

Unless there are changes (and you never know how these work) I will be on KFAB with Scott Vorhees at 10:30am this Monday morning.

You can tune in at 1110AM or at

And follow @LeavenworthSt on the Twitter and Like Leavenworth St. on The Facebook to get updated with all new posts — including another this afternoon!


  1. TexasAnnie says:

    Well if Sasse runs a third party candidacy as a Libertarian, in the future, the Libertarians can be the default party.

    • Bob Loblaw says:

      Gerard, the problem with the Republicans getting behind in lockstep with Donald Trump is that they can only think about themselves and how they position themselves to retain positions of power if by some miracle Trump is elected. People like Paul Ryan and Ben Sasse, hell even Old Man Ricketts know that a Trump presidency spells doom for conservatism and the GOP as a viable party. They’re the real leaders, trying to save our party from a blowhard liberal who talks before he thinks, says nothing of substance, and contradicts himself every single speech. They’re smart enough to realize that when Hilary is elected that we need a party that actually stands for something and is the opposition to a liberal president. The way things are going now I see no reason to support the GOP, and I definitely don’t see any reason to support any ‘conservative’ who endorses Trump.

      • The Eye Ball says:

        Oh, and don’t be surprised if Trump appoints Hillary Clinton or Obama for Supreme Court justice.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I’m trying not to over-think this but if Sasse throws his lot in with 3rd Party didn’t he effectively just use NEGOP and Republican votes to gain a Senate seat so he could then be the Libertarian or 3rd Party’s dream candidate for President? In 2016 (spoiler to try to throw Prez election to the House). In 2020, with more name recognition, to try to actually make the Libertartians or 3rd Party Conservatives or whatever the winning party. His Senate seat isn’t up until 2020 so he can make a couple stabs at national office and then run off with a well-paying gig, never to grace our doorsteps again asking for Republicans to send him back to the U.S. Senate. Does this take massive scheming on his part and on the part of Red State, Club for Growth, etc. or is it all just a serendipitious fling? He surely knows he’s toast running as a Republican in Nebraska if he takes the 3rd Party candidacy all the way. At this point I don’t even know how he stumbles into this weekend’s NEGOP State Convention.

    • Sparkles says:

      “He surely knows he’s toast running as a Republican in Nebraska if he takes the 3rd Party candidacy all the way.”


      This is an NEGOP that elected Heineman – twice, and followed up on that remarkable foolishness by electing Pete Ricketts.
      We’re talking about a Republican party, including the NEGOP, that is enamored by.. Donald J. Trump.

      I refuse to believe that the a large swath of the Republican party can look look at that lineup – Heineman, Ricketts and Trump – and not understand that the party is seriously f’ed up.

      In a party that considers Heineman, Ricketts and Trump to be leadership material, what makes you think Ben Sasse couldn’t continue to build his personal brand by dumping all over the party for half a decade and then, if necessary, salvage his Senate seat with a few weeks of tweeting out his marginally coherent brand of Palinesque ‘constitutionalizing’?
      Tack on a quick RV tour down the Cowboy Trail, accompanied by (paid) appearances from the Snowbilly Grifter and Toxic Ted, and voila’, Senator Sasse!

      • Hilarious to see a psedonymous internet troll describing Ben Sasse, Ph. D. Yale, 2004, History as ‘marginally coherent’. Too many polysyllables for Sparkles’ taste in that award-winning thesis.

        But probably consistent with believing Charlie Pierce to be a good writer.

      • By the way, has anyone mentioned we could really use an edit function?

        I recommend for Sparkles the Ben Folds/Nick Hornby song “Working Day” (actually, I recommend the whole album). I find this refrain puts all of us in our place:

        Some guy on the net thinks I suck and he should know
        He’s got his own blog

  3. Bob Loblaw says:

    “Because it is difficult to say that you are a leader at this point, if you don’t support the candidate.”

    Excuse me?!!! Isn’t this the definition of a follower an not a leader? A leader doesn’t blindly follow who is up front, just because they’re up front. A leader makes a stand against that which they think is wrong or misguided. A leader screams and says that the emperor has no clothes.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Bourcher’s smears against Linehan are unfortunately par for the course for Andrew Northwall…I’m pretty shocked anyone uses his company anymore

  5. The Eye Ball says:

    If Trump wins the nomination, the GOP will be nothing more than tool for paranoid racists and conservatives will rapidly abandon it. New viable political party would be created from existing elected conservative Republicans.

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