Based on the various television camera shots, there was no doubt that the crowd at last night’s Donald Trump rally in Tulsa was laughably small. The lower deck wasn’t completely full, and the upper deck was mostly empty. We estimated that the building was perhaps half empty. But these estimates can get tricky when you’re simply trying to eyeball them. Turns out it was even worse than we thought.
Andrew Solender of Forbes got word from the Tulsa Fire Department that the official headcount was just under 6,200 people. That means Trump only managed to fill a little less than one-third of the arena. It’s difficult to say how much of this was due to lack of interest in attending a public gathering during a pandemic in general, and how much of it was due to Trump’s declining popularity in particular. But either way, this was a humiliating swing and miss. It gets worse.
Large numbers of teenage music fans are bragging about how they filled out phony ticket requests, just to mess with Donald Trump. But while these fake ticket requests may have goaded Trump and Parscale into overhyping expected attendance, these requests didn’t prevent any Trump fans from being able to attend, or being able to get through the door. The simple reality is that not very many Trump fans were interested in attending, period.
Now we’ll keep an eye on who if anyone gets fired over this debacle, and whether Trump’s planned upcoming rallies in swing states get canceled in order to avoid the further embarrassment of Trump speaking to mostly empty arenas. If Trump can’t draw a crowd in a deep red state, then he certainly can’t draw a crowd in a swing state. If a rock band books a 19,000 seat arena but only draws 6,200 people on opening night, the rest of the tour is usually canceled.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report