The crowd starts to fill in along the National Mall before the swearing in of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the Untied States during the 58th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington. Friday, Jan. 20, 2017 (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

About Those Attendance Numbers…

Right now, the mainstream media are agog at how much of a washout the attendance was at Donald Trump’s inauguration compared to Barack Obama back in 2009.  While it’s true that the Donald didn’t pull in the epic number of people that Obama did (estimates put today’s crowd around 900,000, compared to 1.8 million for Obama)–and while I’m sure that President Trump wouldn’t want us making any excuses for his still YUGE turnout–we still gotta face the facts, don’t we?

Well, sure.  So here are some facts:

  • Barack Obama’s election was historic.  Like him or not, the election of the nation’s first black president was a huge milestone.  Petty politics can’t take away from that, so we must give the man his due.  Lots of Republicans even voted for Obama in the hopes that his election would heal the racial wounds of the past and bridge the persistent divide between white and black America (though we all saw how that turned out).  He came into office with a lot of good will aimed his way for that reason.
  • Washington, DC is in the Northeast Corridor.  You know what real estate agents say about location, location, location?  Well, we are talking about the leftmost quadrant of the country.  Getting liberals to show up in Liberal Central for the swearing in of a liberal president is about as easy as getting conservatives to show up at NASCAR.  Where Toby Keith is giving a concert.  On Free Beer Night.
  • The Democrats have a built-in crowd constituency.  Say what you will about the left, but they know how to turn bodies out.  That’s because they have a vast network of union and community organizers, allied with activist networks, serial agitators and dirty tricksters who turn up for protests and rallies because they get paid (or at least funded) to do so.  You ever watch protests on TV and wonder why those people don’t have jobs?  Well, that is their job.  And so is showing up to make liberal politicians look good.
  • Democrats are obsessed with politics.  Conservatives are not.  This one is really simple.  Government is the liberal raison d’être.  Conservatives largely just want to be left alone.  And most conservatives, when an election is over, say, “Good!” and then return to their lives.  That’s because they have familes.  And jobs.  And mortgages.  And all the other stuff that doesn’t leave them with a hell of a lot of time to attend things like, say, presidential inaugurations halfway across the country.
  • And finally…

As I recall, Barack Obama didn’t have to deal with anything like this at his inaugurations.  His supporters got to show up, have a good time, and then go home.  Trump supporters, on the other hand, facing the possibility of having bricks thrown at their heads, might have just let discretion be the better part of valor and skipped the festivities.  Funny how fear can make a difference that way.

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Marc Giller

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