Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Who's With Me?

So, the argument from numbers about the El Paso rally is, in the final analysis, only partially about who actually showed up.  Trump claimed as many as 69,000 people wanted to be there, and 10,000 were allowed into the arena where he spoke:
There were "thousands" of people outside, but there is no official estimate as to how many.  Nobody seems think that number is somewhere between 59,000 and 61,000.

How many were at the Beto rally?  Frankly, this gets a bit dicey.  The El Paso Police Department said it made no official estimate.  "An O'Rourke spokesman said about 8,000 attended the counter-rally."  Or maybe it was 7000.  Or maybe it was 10,000 to 15,000.  The numbers on the high end are very dubious, so let's leave at at 7000 to 80000.  What does it matter?

Only in this:  first, Amanda Marcotte is right.  Beto proves that, when they go low, we go high.  Trump told lies about the wall, crime in El Paso, and encouraged violence against journalists.  Beto appealed to the angels of our better nature:

"We are making a stand for truth against lies and hate and ignorance and intolerance," the potential 2020 Democratic candidate said. "We are going to show the country who we are. We're going to make a stand to ensure that we live up to our promise, to our potential, to our purpose as a country."

"We will not take advantage of them," O'Rourke added about immigrants. "We will not send them back to certain death. We will not believe that walls can or should keep them out. Instead, we welcome them with open arms."

And he did it outside in shirtsleeves after leading a march through El Paso.

How cold was it again?  How devoted were those Trump followers outside the coliseum?

We hear a great deal about Trump's base and their loyalty to Trump and even their indifference to any ideas or facts that don't come from Trump.  It wouldn't hurt to point out they are a minority of the population and even of the electorate.  Donald Trump won in a very low turnout election, in states where the turnout was especially low.  If not for the electoral college, his "base" would have been irrelevant.  Beto O'Rourke, without the power of the Presidential seal (reports from El Paso found many residents attended because the President was in town, not out of sympathy for his beliefs), drew at least as big a crowd as the President did.  Trump's followers may be blindly devoted to whatever he claims; but there are at least an equal number of people who are not so blind.

And probably many, many more besides.

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