What Really Happened at the Trump Rally in Chicago

Did the liberals on Friday night in Chicago stop Trump?

Indeed, Donald Trump, after conferring with the Chicago Police Department called off his rally — due to many protests and security concerns. So they stopped Trump, right?

cops out in full forceThe fact of the matter is the Trump rally was cancelled but what did it accomplish? For someone who claims he self-funds his campaign, either way may have been a win-win. Because of all the commotion in Chicago and a few hours of available time, he got free airtime by calling in to CNN, Fox News and MSNBC to discuss the night’s events. During this time, he had the chance to claim that the leftists (including groups that support Bernie) didn’t give him a chance to exercise his free speech. He claimed that those that preach tolerance in the political arena were in fact intolerance to groups they don’t agree with.

He had another opportunity to explain his message and why he is running for President while sitting in his hotel room in Trump tower. Who knows, from a lofty position and consulting with his campaign operatives, he may have a chance to see the protests a few miles away at the UIC Pavilion and reiterate who was to blame for the cancellation.

Does the absence of math factor in here?

Speaking later with Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren, Trump said he had arrived in Chicago several hours before the event and claimed 25,000 people were trying to enter the area. According to Wikipedia, it holds 9,500 for boxing and wrestling and slightly under 7,000 for basketball. Was that poignant what Wikipedia stated, 9,500 for boxing and wrestling in lieu of the anger displayed?

long linesBasic math, how many free tickets were distributed for this rally on Friday night? Was there a method to determine how many tickets to distribute for a 9,500-seat arena? Why were there so many more tickets distributed? From an educated guess, there were at 15,000 in line or more that had no chance to get into the arena. Oversell and under deliver? I understand it’s a good branding approach to distribute in excess of the capacity to ensure the arena is full but from the survey of all those in line with a ticket in hand, there appeared to be more than double the amount of the arena’s capacity. To be fair to those ticket holders, why not distribute a slight amount (10-15 more) to ensure the event looked good on TV and to social media folks.

I’m sure many at the event or were in a queue waiting to enter appreciated the fact that our the first amendment guarantees free speech. Many in line were not necessarily supporters but were curious about his message and how it would be received. Whether you support him or not, if you secure a ticket beforehand, drive 2 hours in traffic to get to the venue and have it be at capacity well before even half the ticket holders had a chance to enter the venue, you may be quite disappointed about the cancellation news.

Was there a lot of violence on the Chicago streets at the Trump rally?

We spent about 3 hours at the rally. The first portion was standing in line hoping to hear Donald Trump speak while holding on to our ticket to the event. The second portion was spent walking around the venue and taking it all in. Yes, there were about 300 or so Chicago cops maintaining order and they appeared to do well maintaining order outside.

During that time, we saw some protestors get in the face of Trump supporters and vice versa. However, I didn’t see one fight. Some Trump supporters held up pre-made Trump signs or wore t-shirts and hats to show their support. The majority of attendees merely wanted to hear his message. If I had to take an educated guess on the demographics of Trump supports, I’d say they were white, and a mixture of millennials and baby boomers. I saw very few in line who were over 65.

peaceful protestorsThe protestors were a much more diverse group. Some held up Bernie Sanders signs. Others held up U.S. and Mexican flags. Even though there were Bernie supporters at the rally, the majority of the signage was anti-Trump.

Again, I witnessed some yelling back and forth between the pro and con groups but no violence. The strange thing is, some of the news outlets claimed it was quite violent but as I said, no one in my group saw any of it. I have to confess that many of the news reports didn’t accurately depict what truly occurred on Friday night at the UIC Pavilion. In other words, it was peaceful for the most part except for a few isolated incidents that the TV media appeared to highlight.

Moreover, it was also interesting that about 30 minutes after the event was cancelled, our group walked to Bar Louie on Halstead Street about .5 miles from the UIC Pavilion. As we waited to order, a police car parked in a no parking zone as 4 officers got out of their car. We thought there may have been a disturbance. One minute later, successive police cars parked there so all told, about 10 officers entered this establishment. At that point, we realized it wasn’t a disturbance and these officers simply had to refuel. If the event had been so violent, I’m not sure if these officers would have been free for dinner.

fascist pigWho is to blame for the cancellation?

It’s difficult to say if anyone one group is to be blamed for the cancellation. Yes, I’m sure some disenfranchised voters lined up on the Trump camp and it’s no secret that Trump has said many sexist, race-baiting, homophobia things during his campaign. Although when you listen to him speak, I can understand that some of his message will resonate with voters who are disenfranchised or fed up with the current political landscape.

Spending about 90 minutes or so hearing and watching the protestors, it was primarily a peaceful rally for the most part although there was a fringe who were much more militant than the rest. One could say that out of 10,000 protestors outside of the venue, perhaps 5% or so may have been militant about their opinion of the Trump campaign. message. I felt no threat of security when walking through the protest, however, I was simply an observer. During the protests, I found much of their message compelling; however, if they engaged in disrespectful behavior regardless of their message, their message may lose value by how it’s presented by the messenger. In a rally such as this, if any camp engages in uncivil, vulgar or disrespectful behavior or rhetoric, their approach or behavior may be questioned more than what they have to say.

Again, I would have liked the chance to hear Donald Trump speak and after our group had secured a ticket the weekend before, was looking forward to the event. I later saw on TV that there were some anti-Trump provocateurs who were destroying Trump signs inside the venue. I cannot condone such activity. However, I don’t know what exactly when on inside the arena and it appears there wasn’t a buffer between both sides so some physical confrontations occurred.

Two populist groups from opposite sides of the political spectrum were going head to head and no one budges. It’s Make america great againbound to happen. Therefore, there is enough blame to go around. If I felt passionate about a particular candidate, a physical fight would not be how I convey my message. As most sane people know, fighting will not solve our differences. Passion for a particular campaign can be done with reason and logic and does not have to escalate to violence or heckling.

Kevin Schwarm

I have over 25 years of professional experience in business, information technology (IT), and customer service. Industry experience in retail, medical insurance, higher education, non-profit, financial services, and property and casualty insurance. Customer focused professional interested in providing value (save time, money and aggravation) by evaluating and analyzing information, services and products with a unique perspective.