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Trump in New Hampshire

One reporter's experience attending a Trump rally on the eve of the election

Picture+courtesy+of+boston.com
Picture courtesy of boston.com

Picture courtesy of boston.com

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Getty Images

Picture courtesy of boston.com

Eva Ricci, Editor

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 – [November 7th] – On the night before Election Day, candidates typically travel to various states around the country campaigning for any last minute votes. This concept was clearly displayed by Republican candidate and now President-elect, Donald Trump, as he traveled to five different states including Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, and Michigan.

By chance, I was presented with the option to attend one of his last rallies in Manchester, New Hampshire on November 7th. Out of curiosity and having never previously attended a rally of any candidate, I took the opportunity.

t1To describe the entire experience in one word, it would have to be: interesting. Upon arrival at the SNHU arena in Manchester, a massive line of Trump supporters wrapped around the entire arena and down blocks of streets, all waiting for entry. Just standing in the line in itself was an interesting experience. Protesters, mainly Clinton supporters, surrounded the line at different points and often engaged in conversation (or arguments) with many of the Trump supporters waiting outside. Although there were a good amount of children accompanying their families waiting to enter the arena for Trump, to say the conversations I had overheard were family-friendly, wouldn’t exactly be the truth.

After passing security and entering the arena, there were multiple aspects that caught my attention. First, I would say about 96% of people in the arena wore the red “Make America Great Again” hats, and there were vendors on almost every corner pushing for sales.

Shown to the right, two extremely large screens were hung above the arena displaying the signature Trump/Pence campaign sign. On occasion, these screens would switch to playing Trump cat2mpaign commercials, often focusing on attacking the policies by his rival, Hillary Clinton.

But one of the most prevalent aspects of the entire rally was the amount of campaign signs that supporters in the audience held. The typical blue signs stating the Trump/Pence name were common, but I was surprised to see the vast number of pink signs, stating “Women for Trump”.  

As time went on, I began to notice how many people were actually there. On both sides of the political spectrum, it was highly acknowledged that Trump could draw a crowd. The entire arena held around 12,000 seats and soon enough seats located at the very top were becoming entirely filled. Unfortunately, even arriving 3 hours prior to the expected arrival of Trump, the floor area near the podium that Trump would come to speak at was filled. This meant I was not able to be as close to the stage as I would’ve liked.

But before he arrived, I walked around for a decent amount of time, examining how a Trump rally functioned. What was most eye-catching to me was how the media was positioned. In the middle of the floor of the arena, there was a semi-small riser that was extremely crowded with cameras almost piled on top of each other. In front of these cameras were reporters, but I was shocked at how close each of the different cameras had to be.

But at the same time, I wasn’t that surprised due to the fact that Trump is knot3wn for his comments toward the media. Making it a primary part of his campaign, Trump would often comment on how he views the American media as the “most dishonest people in the world” and how many sources have been “very biased” against his campaign.

As time went on, the rally eventually began with various speakers approaching the podium and attempting to get the extremely large crowd excited for the arrival of Trump. These speakers included various government representatives of New Hampshire.

Around 8:00pm, the time which Trump was expected to take the stage, the crowd was surprised with the appearance of now Vice-President, Mike Pence.

With his arrival, the crowd became much more excited and the chants of “Drain the Swamp“, “U.S.A.“, and “Lock her Up“, became much more prevalent. Pence would go on to further rouse the crowd by addressing some of Trump’s most controversial/popular policies including immigration and the economy. The passion from the crowd of Trump supporters was clearly displayed through these topics.

But the passion from the crowd was shown much more strongly when Trump finally took ttr6he stage. Much to the surprise of many, Trump brought almost his entire family with him onto the stage, but his wife, Melania Trump was not present. He invited his daughter, Ivanka Trump, who has played an extremely vital role in the Trump campaign to speak to the audience. She claimed that she had not previously planned on speaking but since it was such an important night to her father, as it was the night before the election, she felt as if she should be there to support him.

Eventually, his family would leave him on the stage by himself to allow him to personally address his supporters on the topics that they came to hear him speak about.

While listening to hear him speak to an entirely filled 12,000 person arena, the most noticeable aspect was how passionate his supporters were. I knew that if his supporters brought that passion to the polls the next day, he would be difficult competition for Hillary Clinton.

I would’ve loved to also cover a rally held by Clinton to have even coverage of both sides. But unfortunately, as attending this rally was such a last minute decision, she wasn’t holding a rally close enough before the election.

As the election is now over and Donald Trump has in fact taken the presidency, I would have to say that attending one of his rallies was a very fascinating experience. As for whether or not he will follow through with his policies that he presented at his rallies, it will be interesting to see where he goes from here.

 

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Trump in New Hampshire