This weekend was a bit of a mess. I attended two political events that couldn’t have been more opposite of each other. If you just landed here via social media, welcome, the next few minutes I’m going to detail my experiences at two different events for GOP frontrunners. I decided on a whim to attend Donald Trump and Marco Rubio rallies. Their campaigns announced last Thursday they were coming into town, so I took this as an opportunity to see them both live. Were they actually going to discuss this issues? Do they carry themselves the same way as they do in the media? Is Trump really that orange? All these things were going through my head.
My first stop on Saturday morning was Donald Trump. His event took place at XNA and was set to begin at 12PM. I arrived at 10AM only to realize they had already started filling the third overflow parking and had almost 2,000+ people inside the airport hangar where his event was set to take place.
The crowd was diverse. It was nothing like I expected it to be. I would estimate about one-third high school/college kids, while the other two-thirds were families and adults. This was interesting to me that his campaign is no respecter of age/race/status, it was a very good mix.
Once inside I found my friend Tevin and begin to realize the extreme production value of this event. I have never seen something so well put together in the last minute. From media relations, crowd control, A/V – it was all excellent.
By the time 11A rolled around there were countless announcements, an endorsement from Mike Huckabee’s daughter, the Pledge of Allegiance led by two Veterans, the singing of the Nation Anthem, prayer by a local pastor, and Tiny Dancer by Elton John played about 20+ times.
At 11:15A Trump’s plane was in full view of the hangar to make its landing at XNA. At 11:37A his plane made a dramatic takeoff to the left side of the hangar while what felt like Hans Zimmer played in the background. About 15 minutes later his plane landed (for a second time) and taxied to the front of the hangar. Chris Christie and Donald Trump made their entrance and it was nothing short of fanfare by all.
Trump did best what Trump does best – Immediately started attacking Rubio. Trump is a MASTER marketer and it showed in the production of his campaign, and with everything that came out of his mouth. Every breath is calculated. If you think for one second he’s a blabbering idiot who doesn’t have a plan – you are very wrong. I went into this event with an open mind. I was genuinely excited to see what all they hype was about. I came out of that hangar feeling like I was in a scene from Welcome to Mooseport instead of feeling confident about the GOP frontrunner. Street vendors lined the side of the road as I made my way back to my car. It took a few minutes to realize what all had just taken place. Everyone in that hangar was convinced Trump is right for America. If his Presidency is anything like his campaign rallies…we’re in for a long four years.
Fast forward to that evening. After spending the afternoon getting my tires aligned at BMW, I made my way to Emmanuel Baptist Church where Marco Rubio’s rally was set to be held. The demographic was very similar to Trumps. A great mix of high school/college plus a large pool of 45+. Rubio was introduced by Governor Asa Hutchinson, here’s a clip from their entrance:
Rubio was poised for a 10P rally and spoke relentlessly on key issues. He didn’t belittle Trump, but he did disqualify his attempt at becoming the President of the United States. He spoke on issues of immigration, the important of preparing for future generations, and his heart on veteran affairs. There was even a point in the even where a protester started chanting “Trump, Trump!” Officials escorted the guy out of the room but not before Rubio said, “Don’t worry, I’ll cut his taxes too.” It was refreshing to be in a room of positive energy. A stark contrast to Trump’s event.
With all of that said, Marco Rubio has my vote. I had him picked from the very beginning. I’ll leave you with his closing remarks of the evening that I found to be very inspirational. No matter who you vote for, you need to go vote. Regardless if you agree with me or not, show up and vote or your voice will not matter for the next four years.