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.
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:
Here is a shot from the back corner, outside…
And here was the crowd once Trump got going:
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:)
A few others hung out and got additional pics. A couple included State Senators Jim Smith and Tommy Garrett, both Trump supporters:
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:
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.
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 kfab.iheart.com.