Spring was nowhere in sight in Willmar on Saturday.
Overcast skies conspired against a "Celebrate President Trump" rally in the central Minnesota town (population 19,000), where conservatives gathered in a parking lot to throw their support behind the current president. One upside: The whipping wind did great things for the American flags on display.
"Over 200" Donald Trump voters turned out for the politcal event, the West Central Tribune reports, which was purposefully staged on April 15, the day taxes are usually due. The Tribune reports that some were committed enough to show up but not enough to leave the "comfort of their vehicles," though many stood outside to listen to speeches given by America's new, not-so-silent majority.
Said Bob Enos, one of the event organizers: "Over 70 percent of rural America voted for Trump. If that isn't a mandate, I don't know what is."
Indeed, Bob, you don't. According to Pew, Trump won about 62 percent of rural and small-town votes, compared to Clinton's 34 percent. (Clinton won cities 59 percent to 35 percent and, crucially, lost suburbs to Trump 50-45.) And rural folks make up about 46 million people in this country, or about 15 percent of the population, as of 2014.
So, Trump won 62 percent ... of the voter turnout... of 15 percent of the country. That's (if every single rural voter had voted; they did not) 9 percent. And if that isn't a mandate, Bob Enos doesn't know a damn thing.
Another rally organizer, Ron Branster, said Republicans "can't let [their] guard down," adding, "We won the battle, but not the war."
Maybe now's not the time to be describing the democratic process using war metaphors, what with all the actual war we're doing these days. But that didn't occur to Rep. Tim Miller, R-Prinsburg, who has already declared his intention to challenge DFL U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson in 2018.
"We are entering a time of civil war," Miller said. "We must stay engaged."
Miller added that, "God, in his grace, has given us another chance," a phrase that apparently refers to Donald Trump.
Fellow Republican congressional candidate David Hughes, who narrowly lost to Peterson for the seat in 2016, and is running again, also gave a speech, highlighting how Trump, through the use of his executive orders, is "doing good things for the nation." (Like splitting up families.)
Another speaker, Andy Cilek of the Minnesota Voter Alliance, warned of the threat of "ineligible voters" participating in the democratic process, a concern he shares with President Trump, and virtually no other person with functional knowledge of the history of voter fraud.
Married couple Dave and Pat Rauenhorst teamed up to say the country "is slipping" (Dave) but could be "great again" (Dave, again) if we "further support President Trump" (Pat).
Trump, for his part, spent the day of this rally at his Florida resort, Mar-a-Lago, where, the Palm Beach Post reports, "The White House has not confirmed if the President was golfing."
Trump somehow became aware of a number of anti-Trump "tax day" rallies taking place across the country. On Sunday, not long after wishing everyone "Happy Easter," and bragging again about how he "easily won the Electoral College," tweeted out a message that probably would hurt the feelings of the people who spent the previous day standing in this parking lot in Willmar.
Someone should look into who paid for the small organized rallies yesterday. The election is over!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 16, 2017