Two weeks ago, I had the honor of attending President Trump’s rally in Freeland, Michigan. After battling traffic and somehow, parking, I was treated to the wondrous sight of the newly resurrected Trump Unity Bridge, a parade float of sorts that was rebuilt after it was stolen and destroyed in a horrible act of vandalism. The float sat, parked just outside of the hangar that President Trump spoke at, alongside a barrage of tents where merchants sold Trump 2020 memorabilia, including (but not limited to) hats, t-shirts, buttons, pins, flags, and yard signs. One could draw a parallel to President Trump’s pre-politics marketing strategy – if it has the name “Trump” on it, people will buy it. The lines at each tent proved this strategy to be quite effective.

After staring in awe at the Unity Bridge and the multitude of ways vendors have found to plaster the name “Trump” or the likeness of our President on their wares, began making light conversation with canvassers from Unlock Michigan, who circulated petitions to repeal a law from 1945 that grants Governor Whitmer unchecked authority to indefinitely extend the State of Emergency that went into effect in March… a law that the canvassers explained was being unquestionably abused by the Governor to retain her emergency powers.

Soon after dismissing myself from the conversation, I found myself subjected to a rigorous patdown by Secret Service Agents, before I was granted access to the crowded hangar where the President was due to give his speech to the people of Michigan. The crowd of over 10000 people made moving around the hangar nearly impossible. I found my seat, and about fifteen minutes later, the rally was called to order. After a soulful prayer, the Pledge of Allegiance, and a beautiful rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, we were treated to speeches by MIGOP Chair Laura Cox and John James, the Republican Nominee for U.S Senate. Chairwoman Cox, (who President Trump praised later in his speech) spoke with energy reminiscent of a cheerleader at a Football game, making a simply worded yet emotionally stalwart appeal to the sea of “Make America Great Again” hats that made up the audience. After her energetic address, John James followed up with a more direct speech that, at times, felt like the opening to a heated Debate against his Democrat opponent, Senator Gary Peters. James highlighted Senator Peters’ lack of presence in the affairs of the state and sharply criticized the ludicrous amounts of money Peters has made from holding the office.

Three hours of intermittent rain and sweaty crowds convinced this reporter that attending rallies in person may be more exciting, but leaves much to be desired in the way of comfort. Luckily, the three hour chasm between Mr. James’ and President Trump’s speeches went by rather quickly, as Air Force One majestically descended from the overcast sky while bass-heavy speakers blasted “Sweet Child O’ Mine” by Guns ‘n Roses into the crowd. The music soon changed to Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless The U.S.A” as the President took the podium. He wasted no time ripping into Governor Whitmer, criticizing her economically devastating executive orders that only inflamed and exacerbated the widespread unemployment brought on by COVID-19. The speech could only be described as “Classic Trump” as he boasted about his administration and it’s accomplishments, taunted and shamed his liberal opposition in a manner akin to an insult comic, and gave the occasional shout-out to state and local candidates and leadership within the party. The speech itself was rather brief for a Trump rally, lasting just over an hour, but was very substantive, as President Trump outlined his plans to revive auto manufacturing, as he had done prior to the pandemic, alluding to his continuous promise that “the best is yet to come.” Overall, it was a solid, well populated showing, a stark contrast to his Democratic challenger, Fmr. Vice Pres. Joe Biden, who held a very small event in Michigan the previous week, with not even 1/100 of the Trump event’s attendees. Although some polls show Biden holding a slowly slimming lead, if the size of the crowds at their respective rallies are any indication, Biden’s team may be overestimating his chances in Michigan, and the so called Blue Tsunami may end up becoming a red hurricane.