David A. Graham of Atlantic magazine, using the July 5 Trump rally in Montana as a basis for his evidence, is claiming that such rallies have become stale. Actually they have become stale but only if you believe Graham’s very selectively edited version of that rally. Of course between his fantasy and the highly entertaining reality there is a yuuuge gap.
As we shall see, Graham on July 6 only very slightly touches on the highlight of the Great Falls, Montana rally and carefully avoids why the attendees were entertained by it and why much of the mainstream media was thrown into an uproar over it. Whether you enjoyed the rally or hated it, one thing that can’t be said about last night’s rally, or any of his other rallies, is that they are boring as Graham absurdly claims in What Is the Point of a Trump Rally in 2018?
It’s hard to maintain any shtick for more than a couple years, especially when the shtick is as innovative as the Donald Trump political rally. It’s now been just longer than three years since the president descended the gold escalator at Trump Tower, inaugurating the form. What is the point of a Trump rally in 2018? Can it still work its magic?
It lost its magic but only in Graham’s selectively edited alternate reality.
As the president’s appearance in Great Falls, Montana, Thursday evening demonstrates, it’s a mixed bag. The contours are all familiar—you know Trump will walk out to Lee Greenwood, and depart to “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” In between there will be a mix of somewhat labored reading from a teleprompter and flights of improvised fancy. Boasts about crowd size and those left outside. Some perfunctory “build the wall” chants.
Yes, and all the rallies have flags. Oh, and also floors. Boring!
There was a time when this was riveting spectacle, either enthralling or terrifying or some mix. In person, the Trump rally can still impart a frisson. Viewed remotely, however, it’s increasingly pallid. There’s a reason the networks don’t carry them live in full anymore. During the 2016 presidential campaign, I routinely met attendees at Trump rallies who were agnostic or even against the candidate, but were fascinated to see the experience. As president, he retains the ability to shock or to amaze, but in these Trump-saturated days, who is still curious about him?
Please be bored by these rallies. It would so satisfy poor David Graham.
At times, Thursday’s sortie even threatened to become an ordinary political rally for an ordinary president.
But that definitely did not happen despite Graham’s devious attempt at highly selective editing that managed to avoid the comedic highlight of the rally that has gone viral to the extent that it was heatedly debated at NBC today.
Finally, there was the bizarre. In the midst of criticizing Senator Elizabeth Warren, Trump—who has been caught on tape boasting about sexually assaulting women—paused to mock the #MeToo movement.
And that was it in the David A. Graham carefully edited version of Trump’s reference to Elizabeth Warren. Left completely out was Trump’s mockery of Warren’s claim to be an Indian. Here is what Graham very noticeably left out in order to make his case for Trump rallies somehow going stale.
Hmmm… Could it be that David Graham is the only person on the planet to take seriously Trump’s appeal to the people at the rally and the press not to reveal what he just said about Warren?