Will Trump's Canceled Chicago Rally Increase His Popularity? The Decision Almost Seemed Responsible
The Republican party appears to be at wit's end with their own front-runner, Donald Trump. His poll numbers have held steadily enough for the newcomer to nab many key primary and caucus wins. Even the most negative of news coming from his campaign has done little to stop the Donald's momentum. The latest in that wave of questionable coverage comes from a canceled rally in Chicago. Trump's divisive rhetoric and an overall uptick in heated exchanges and protests at each campaign event ultimately culminated in Friday's cancellation. Will Trump's canceled Chicago rally increase his popularity? One thing is clear: It certainly won't detract from his presidential aspirations. The real estate magnate-turned-politician has simply been untouchable since announcing his candidacy in June 2015.
Trump took the time to address the protests and conflict that led to canceling his campaign event the following day by casting incredible suspicion on the very activists who showed up to demonstrate against him. His statements at a rally near Dayton, Ohio, on Saturday essentially turned the Trump campaign and his supporters into victims of targeted attacks. Trump's son, Donald Trump Jr., only furthered that rhetoric in perhaps the most bizarre political attack of the entire incident. In a series of now deleted tweets, Trump Jr. implied that a Trump supporter caught on camera giving an alleged Nazi salute was actually a covert Bernie Sanders supporter deliberately attempting to give the presidential hopeful and his admirers a bad name.
The canceled rally was reframed as a threat to freedom of speech and Trump supporters themselves — whom Trump appears to have simply billed as nationalistic and passionate when they lash out. Politicians have come out against the entire incident while also laying blame to Trump's increasingly toxic language. President Obama called out Trump, as did Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Even the Donald's fellow Republican candidates condemned what unfolded at the University of Illinois in Chicago. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio were some of the first conservatives to weigh in on what happened. Rubio concluded his statements by contending that such a failed event makes it all the more difficult to support Trump were he to nab the GOP presidential nomination.
Rather than acting as some type of wake-up call to the nation, however, it's highly likely that Trump supporters will similarly play the victim card, instead casting doubt on demonstrators, throwing out conspiracy theories, and calling out everyone but the candidate himself for all that led up to Trump's Chicago rally being canceled. As of this writing, poll numbers have yet to be released following what transpired on Friday. However, cumulative numbers from HuffPost Pollster released on Thursday indicate that Trump's popularity is still strong. He is currently leading the Republican party nationally with nearly 40 percent. Even if the canceled Chicago rally does nothing whatsoever for the candidate, he will still have more delegates and higher poll numbers than all other candidates on the right. If Friday's incident was the last straw for voters, it's still probably too little, too late.