My Weekend with Bernie (Sanders) and Other Stories: Part I

Crawling out of my Cadbury Crème Egg induced coma—after the realization that my fellow Hoosiers are not conservative—l will prop myself up long enough to relay my experiences at the three rallies held by Ted Cruz, Bernie Sanders, and Donald Trump before Indiana’s primary. My lifetime political rally total is now three.

The first was that of my favorite, Senator Ted Cruz, and I had no expectations. The crowd was surprisingly diverse in age—I’d estimate a quarter of the attendees were in their 30’s or younger. It was unsurprisingly filled with very average-looking people who probably took off early from work to make the 4:30 pm speech. People, I can only assume, that like me, have been waiting to vote for a viable candidate with his conservative credentials and solid track record of sticking to principle and the Constitution. And for a large room only filled halfway with about 1,500 to 2,000 suporters, the applause was impressive. I was tickled to stand near a man who was the spitting image of Gov. Kasich looking as if he’d come straight from his landscaping job. When Cruz finished, two thirds of the people stayed for a chance to meet and shake hands with him. (But what difference, at this point, does it make? *sigh*)

Also high on enthusiasm, among other things, was the crowd outside Senator Bernie Sanders’ rally attended by approximately 4,000. The youth support “Feelin’ the Bern” has been well documented by now, and my observations confirmed it. However, the old guard of the Democrat Party—the Baby Boomers clinging to their revolutionary idealism that is not necessarily based in fact but usually in good faith and intentions—was well represented, too. The people who have been waiting to once again ride the crest of Hunter S. Thompson’s high and beautiful wave of social importance stood alongside the Millennials and Gen Xers who fancy themselves in the same vein—even though the more extreme factions of the two groups would likely be on opposite sides nowadays. Steven Crowder’s recent rant at UMass articulates this:

“When you go back to Christina Hoff Sommer’s days, self-professed Democrats, hippies—the retreads that you guys want to be—at least they thought they were fighting the system. They thought they were trying to create transparency. They really thought they were for free speech. You guys are openly and completely against it. You’re not fighting for free speech. You’re not fighting for rights. You’re fighting for the right to be a pussy and not hear opinions that you don’t like.”

But whatevs. The ends justify the means, amiright? Every generation has a percentage of useful idiots, but I digress.

I wasn’t in the main hall for Bernie’s speech (Please see Part 2 for an explanation), so I can’t speak to the atmosphere inside. The people in the overflow section crowded the stage when Bernie came out and were quite boisterous in their support of his message of course. They love that guy.

The guy they don’t love and utterly disdain is the last Republican nominee standing. This evidenced by the few hundred people protesting across the street from Trump’s rally. Yes, I went to his rally, too, and my disdain for the man is at least on equal footing.

In some ways, the people in line with me to hear Trump were disappointingly similar to those at the Cruz rally. In others, it was much like Bernie’s in idolatry and scope (as well as security. Again, Part 2).

But the rest of it? Boring. Trump was forty minutes late and gave his classic off-the-cuff speech. I could have stayed home and pieced together soundbites instead. Better yet, I could have stayed home, messaged some friends, come up with what he said verbatim, and had a few laughs about it. And 7.5K people came out for that. People who seemed totally reasonable—people who were reasonable. I talked to them. Some were certainly there for the celebrity, but others clearly believed in the “movement”. Even though I found the applause lacking, the entire evening brought me to a level of melancholy that I’d been avoiding—that I couldn’t bring myself to write. I knew he was going to win.

Luckily for me, on election night I was too busy volunteering with Decision Desk HQ—inputting numbers and stumbling over the phrase “election results reporting site” over the phone to haggard county clerks—to fully process the loss of Ted Cruz as a presidential candidate, and the unexpected, albeit, understandable suspension of his campaign. There’s been time for that by now, and the rest of those crème eggs aren’t going to eat themselves.

So let’s end this on a high—not only my blood sugar level, but also a positive note—pretty much everyone liked my “Hillary for Prison” button.

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