Many outlets, serious and satirical, are focusing on on the size of Donald Trump’s inaugural crowd. There are some pretty good pictures out there showing that, indeed, the crowd for Donald Trump were much smaller than Barack Obama’s eight years ago. For example, CNN had covered this using comparatively flattering pictures for Donald Trump’s turnout. However, they are still dwelling over how sure they are that Trump’s turnout was lower.
The President, often easily riled up by criticism, silly criticism, took to the defense coming up with all sorts of reasons that his crowd size was much larger than it appeared and how it was made to appear smaller. It was the tiny hands issue all over again. But, to his credit, he did manage to completely ignore a rather nasty tweet I made to him back in November.
But, this is just another example of the pointless criticism of Donald Trump which Democrats soak up and avoids the actual, substantial criticism which is due. In this particular case, it should not be pointed out the silly defense put forth by the White House, but some other reporting by the same news outlet I just mentioned: CNN. I was desperately looking for information on the “DC Riots” which were supposedly happening – it turned out to just be a handful of young anarchists smashing things to show the state a thing or two – and I stumbled upon some reporting from CNN which showed exactly why the crowd size doesn’t matter.
As Trump supporters and other spectators began to emerge from their hotels, many in the new president’s signature red caps, and head for the security checkpoints on Friday morning, protesters at multiple entry points sought to cut off access by staging coordinated sit-ins.
Yes, there were protests which were actively and intentionally preventing someone from accessing the National Mall and witnessing the inauguration. This is going to have a substantial effect on the ultimate crowd size, and thus pictures comparing the turnouts are going to be misleading and – though I cringe to say it – an example of fake news.
Would Donald Trump have turned out as large as a crowd if the inauguration was unimpeded? Probably not. Moreso, the reasons why are more damning of Trump and his mandate than the crowd turnout could possibly be.
First, the majority of his voters in November did not support Trump, they just were protesting against the idea of President Hillary Clinton. It actually went both ways, with a majority of Clinton voters supporting her to protest the idea of a President Donald Trump. By comparison, President Obama had massive support in 2008 and his election was a major historic event, policies aside, as he was the first president ever elected with African ancestry in a nation which has a horrid history of abusing people of African ancestry, from slavery to segregation to the genocide committed by police which would only garner mass attention within Obama’s presidency, though not through his bringing it to light.
The inauguration of Barack Obama was a highly emotional moment for most African Americans, a sort of false triumph where it seemed we might make real inroads on fighting the systemic racism that pervades America from coast to coast. Attendees probably included many who could not afford to come but made their way anyway for that very fact. Donald Trump was just another of the 45 straight *cough* white male presidents we have had consecutively since George Washington.
Second, Donald Trump had, on his Inauguration Day, had only a 40 percent approval rating according to Fortune, whereas Barack Obama had an 84% approval rating. It would be expected that someone with less than half the approval rating would have fewer people turn out to their inauguration. Moreover, this is the statistic you want to point to, not crowd turnouts. If you want to show that Donald Trump has no mandate, you can point to the fact that less than half of the country approves of him and he won only because Hillary Clinton and her neoliberal agenda was at least just as distasteful to Americans. It may be funny to point out that the Donald has small hands and draws out small crowds with them, but none of that is relevant to the important point: Donald Trump and the Republican Congress have no mandate, we just really, really hated the choices we were given and they owe more to Hillary Clinton than their plans for why they are in office.
Please, those of you who are serious about opposing Donald Trump and the Republican Congress and who are serious about having an anti-fascism movement, do not look to the Democrats for your lead. They point out the most ridiculous of things to criticize Donald Trump because if you look at the valid criticisms of the plans being held by Donald Trump and the Republican Congress, it will remind you a lot of what the Democratic Party campaigned on this past year. In fact, if you keep to valid criticisms, such as his cabinet of cronies, the man who just wanted to finish in a respectable second place just might pay attention because he isn’t that set in his plans.
[Featured Image by Pool/Getty Images]