Trump’s events aren’t drawing big protests this year. Instead, Biden is facing public ire

Nearly a decade after Trump's initial campaign, organizers and protesters say they're focusing on other problems and turning out voters in November. After nearly a decade of indignation, some called it “Trump fatigue”. Others are especially upset by Biden's Israel stance and are opposing him.  

“All the people that would be protesting Trump, a lot of these people, a lot of that energy are now focused on protesting a genocide in Gaza,” said Thomas Kennedy, an Argentine immigrant who attended more than a dozen anti-Trump demonstrations in 2016.  

Kennedy still calls the former president a “horrible threat.” But "a lot of people like me who would have been out there protesting Trump, it's just demoralizing and dispiriting." My labor and energy are wasted.”  

That might be a worrisome sign for Biden, whose campaign wants to galvanize its supporters by portraying Trump as a threat and framing the election as a historic test of democracy. “President Biden believes in the constitutional right of making your voice heard and treats protestors with respect and empathy — unlike Donald Trump,” said Biden campaign spokesperson Ammar Moussa.

Biden campaign officials say protest intensity hasn't affected recent elections. Trump and Obama triumphed in 2016 and 2012, respectively, despite significant opposition. Democrats won recent elections, including the 2022 midterms.  

Some who have planned rallies against Trump claim this year's modest approach is meant to downplay his words and views. Strongmen "need an audience and they need gas and wind in their sails," said Rachel O'Leary Carmona, executive director of Women's March, which began as a global protest after Trump's inauguration in 2017. “Not giving Trump a platform and gas is the best way to combat him in many ways.”  

She said it took hold during the 2020 campaign when many Trump-opposing activist groups opted to “stand down.” Instead, protests for racial justice grew after police killed George Floyd. A strategic adjustment was detailed by former Battle Born Progress executive director Annette Magnus, who helped organize 2016 anti-Trump protests in Nevada.  

People are focused on turnout and going door-to-door and talking to voters, because that's what matters," she said. “I will do everything I can to prevent his reelection. It will seem different since it's a different election year and so much has happened.” Some organizers decide protesting Trump isn't worth the danger.  

Trump protests Trump has faced protests at his events this year. A tiny group of environmental protestors disrupted all major candidates, including Trump, in early-voting Iowa and New Hampshire. But his remark showed how much had changed.  

This is wonderful because that used to happen often. He said, "I don't think it's happened in two-and-a-half or three years," after an Indianola break. “It always excites.” That “excitement” included attacks, arrests, and demonstrators fighting supporters and riot police.  

After loud protesters filled a Chicago stadium, Trump had to cancel an event in March 2016. A day later, a man jumped a barricade and stormed Trump's stage in Ohio. U.S. Secret Service formed a ring around the candidate.  

Trump often insulted demonstrators, ordering them to “Go home to mommy,” or telling security to “Get ‘em out!” while his supporters chanted “Trump! Trump! Trump!” Later, organizers played crowd instructions before his rallies. One variation read, “If a protest starts near you, please do not touch or harm a protester.” They were instructed to alert police by waving rally signs and chanting Trump's name.  

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