On Saturday, the Donald Trump campaign hosted what was meant to be a massive rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma. However, the event was marred by a number of outside factors. For one, it was occurring in the midst of a pandemic, depressing the turnout of the event. Further, the event was controversially scheduled on Juneteenth before being rescheduled for the day after.
All said, the arena that held the rally was barely a third full by the time the president was ready to speak. At one point, campaign staffers had to pull down an outdoor overflow stage that was there in case there were too many people.
Suffice it to say, the overflow stage was not needed. The event drew criticism from Trump’s opponents, and even some republicans tried to distance themselves from the event. This led to some tweeting messages that read like a cheap quick divorce online.
Rally Delivers Same Old Message
Despite a three-month gap since his last campaign, and a rapidly changing world, Trump’s messaging during the rally was largely the same. “If the Democrats gain power, then the rioters will be in charge and no one will be safe and no one will have control,” Trump warned. The president has railed against the mostly-peaceful Black Lives Matter protests in the month since they erupted.
However, it’s unclear if the president’s message of “law and order” and an appeal to the “silent majority” will work again in 2020. The electoral map is slipping to favor his likely opponent, Joe Biden. States that were once firmly red, like Arizona, are now trending to become more purple. This makes Trump’s next major campaign appearance critical.
Arizona Is Next Destination
Trump’s next campaign rally will be in Arizona, at Dream City Church in Phoenix. The church issued a statement about the rally, stating “Dream City’s facility rental does not constitute endorsement of the opinions of its renters”. The church was unaware that the rental was for the president’s campaign until after they booked the reservation.
Arizona is a critical state for Trump’s campaign. In 2012, Mitt Romney carried the state by some 10 points. However, Trump’s own margin was only three-and-a-half percent. A growing Latino population and a huge influx of young voters turning 18 in the past four years could shift Arizona to be a true battleground state.
Tuesday’s rally is sure to be a major focus, both for Trump’s campaign and for his opponents.