A Tale of Two Rallies

Trump rally Fort Wayne Indiana

Trump Rally, Cruz Rally

We Hoosiers don’t get a lot of attention during Presidential election years, due to our May primary. Usually, the nominees are pretty well decided by then. This year, of course, has been anything but typical. Hearing “Indiana is the most crucial state yet” is pretty fun!

Attending a Donald Trump Rally

Since our family loves politics, we decided to take in as many of the experiences as we could. Back in ’08, I took my three girls to see Sarah Palin when she came to the coliseum at our town. It was a month before I began this blog, and the girls were 7, 9, and 11. Sunday, I returned to the coliseum with my middle daughter (now almost 17) to see a Donald Trump rally.

Trump rally Fort Wayne Indiana

The parking lot wasn’t too full, although we did arrive 2 1/2 hours early (mainly because I remembered the crowds at the Palin rally). She was such a sensation, and the line of people wrapped all the way around the huge building. This time, the building opened 3 hours prior to the rally, which was a smart idea. People could enter at their leisure. At first, things weren’t too crowded. But the place did fill up, almost to capacity. Based on its reported capacity of 13,000 and considering the number of people standing on the floor, I’d estimate there were 11,000 there. Trump claimed there were “7 or 8,000 more outside who can’t get in.” True? I couldn’t say.

police Trump rally

After reports in the media, I was a little antsy even going to the rally. Would there be protesters? Indeed, there was lots of law enforcement around. As we entered the building, we had to walk through an airport-like scanner and guys looked through every item we brought in (they spent almost a minute going through my very small purse). But, I saw no protesters at all. No incidents of any kind.

While we waited, the Barbara Walters interview with the Trump family played twice on the large screen. That was nice to watch.

Finally, out came Donald Trump! Can you find him below?

Trump rally Fort Wayne Indiana

He spoke for about 45 minutes, and looked and sounded just like he does on TV. He held a stack of several papers, but hardly ever glanced at them (I’m sure he gives these talks enough that he has everything memorized). He took plenty of jabs at “lyin’ Ted,” which, as a Cruz supporter, I didn’t care for — also mentioned questioning whether or not it should matter if he’s conservative, as long as he’ll help America “win” (ummmm … this makes me nervous). But, overall I’ll have to say that he had the demeanor of a leader. He came across as someone who can get things done, and definitely as someone with plenty of the energy he loves to tout!

Trump rally Fort Wayne Indiana

The crowd was respectful and excited, although nobody was “freaking out” in any crazy way. Overall, I’d say the crowd had a pretty blue-collar feel. As we left the coliseum, many were lighting up cigarettes — something I rarely see in my everyday life.

That was that. And then it was Monday. Another day, another rally …

Attending a Ted Cruz Rally

Ted Cruz visited my fair city Monday. A bonus was that supporter radio host Glenn Beck was coming as well. I’ve enjoyed listening to Glenn during the mornings for years — he almost seems like a friend. Off I went to yet another rally (side note — the thought crossed my mind many times that it is such a grueling thing to run for President. Cruz is younger than me, but Trump, Hillary, and Sanders are all around 70. I was tired of rallies after 2 days of them, but these candidates go at it for months, often traversing states to make several appearances in a single day. I honestly can’t imagine the stamina and commitment that would take, and my hat is off to each of them for that alone).

Cruz rally Fort Wayne

The Cruz rally was held at a downtown convention center, which definitely held fewer people than the coliseum. I arrived just before the doors were to open, and spent 20 minutes or so in line with a large crowd. The crowd here seemed to include more families with kids than at the Trump rally. There were quite a few young people, as in college age/20s, at both rallies.

When we entered the room, we all stood. There was an area roped off near the front with maybe 100 chairs for those would couldn’t stand. I ended up standing from 1-4 p.m., which was plenty (especially considering that about 4 young kids were at my feet, occasionally stepping on my feet or kicking me, etc. — inadvertently, but still).

There were several speakers, and then Glenn Beck came out. When I was little, my mom often had the radio on. There was some lady she’d listen to, and of course Paul Harvey. Now, my kids grew up listening to Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh. It was neat to actually get to see Glenn — even if he didn’t fix up too much!

Glenn Beck at Cruz rally Fort Wayne

Then, Ted Cruz came out. I think they said he was doing four of these rallies in Indiana, today alone. Just like Trump, he looked and sounded exactly the way he does on TV.

Ted Cruz rally Fort Wayne

He talked for about 30 minutes — just as with Trump, I already knew his positions on most things and there were few surprises. Cruz isn’t flashy, but he knows his stuff, and he was interrupted with cheers and applause frequently.

Trump and Cruz — Differences.

After having just heard both men, Cruz is my choice. I went into this experience favoring Cruz, but wondered if attending a rally for each would change my mind.

One thing that bothers me about Trump is his views on trade. For instance, he mentioned a company leaving Indiana for Mexico. Trump said that if this happened when he was President, he would then add a 35% tax on that company’s products. Cruz said that taxes and regulations were not the way to go. Rather, he would work to reduce government regulations on businesses and promote economic growth so that companies would not feel the need to leave the country, taking jobs with them. I prefer this approach.

Another difference was personal mannerisms. Trump attacked Cruz, often calling him “lyin’ Ted” and making personal insults against him (also against the media and various other people). While Cruz did criticize others, it never seemed personal with him and he gave very specific reasons for his criticisms. It made me wonder — would there be public insults against world leaders or senators who crossed a President Trump?

Cruz and his speakers also had much more of a focus on God and faith, an aspect that was largely missing from the Trump rally (although pastors did open each rally with a prayer, which I appreciated).

Cruz emphasized a reliance on the Constitution as the bedrock of running our nation. I don’t think the Constitution was mentioned at the Trump rally; the emphasis there was more on “making smart deals.”

What do you think? Which candidate is your choice? (It’s okay if it’s Bernie or Hillary even!)

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7 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Rallies

  1. Thanks for the assessment. I appreciate your insights. It sure is going to be a memorable campaign season, that is for sure, and I’m afraid not for the best reasons (politics can bring out the worst in all of us). Why is it that bad behavior gets so much press? I agree, you’d have to have lots of stamina to run for president and you’d need a thick skin. Who can blame candidates for blunders with so much pressure and scrutiny. I guess that’s why money is needed, you’d need an intelligent/capable support staff. My choice hasn’t changed since our primary and it will be a bit unsettling if I have to go with what I’d say is my other option but we’re Americans and this is a collective choice.

    Do us proud Indiana!

  2. I used to be a political junkie. I went to all kinds of speakers at IU. I don’t think I could do it today. Great report on your experiences. You should get “someone” to write about Bernie at IU or did I miss that while I was away?

  3. Thank you, this was very interesting. I don’t think I could vote for Trump. He, as he freely admits, is not really conservative, and certainly not Christian as he says he’s never found it necessary to ask for forgiveness and clearly doesn’t know the Bible. I am cautiously optimistic about Ted Cruz. There have been some encouraging things, but unfortunately there have also been things that concern me in his personal ethics and what he’s willing to do and say to win. But of the five still in it, he’s the only one I could even consider.

  4. I enjoyed your assessment of these candidates after seeing both of them in person. I voted for Cruz here in Georgia back in March; unfortunately, the state as a whole went for Trump. I pray Indiana does better!

  5. I enjoyed your report. I’m really praying Cruz carries Indiana, as unlikely as that seems, especially after Trump criticized his father this morning, saying he was involved in JFK’s assassination. How low can you go? I voted for Cruz, but our state chose to take another route.

  6. Interesting! I was originally for Carson, but after a few appearances felt that he really didn’t have the “presence” to be president, though I like him a lot. I voted for Rubio in the TN primary, but he dropped out shortly after. Of these two, I’d much prefer Cruz. But we’re a divided household – my husband and youngest son voted for Trump.

  7. Thank you for attending the rallies and giving us your bird’s eye view and opinions of each one! Now that it is Wednesday as I am writing this, I sincerely hope that all Republicans will come together to back Donald Trump. While he may not be you and your readers pick, it is critical that Republicans reunite and get along to insure a win in the fall!

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