Donald Trump may have won the Louisiana Republican primary on March 5, but when he came to New Orleans for a rally the night before, it was anything but the Big Easy. It was a chaotic rally that was frightful, intense, and almost dangerous, at times. Trump held his rally in New Orleans at the Lakefront Airport. He spoke about how he would make negotiations with Iran for hostages and make Mexico pay for a wall along the Rio Grande, among his usual points made at his rallies.
Although Trump came to New Orleans he was not the highlight of that night. All eyes, including Trump’s, were on the protesters. The protesters yelled “Black lives matters” while Trump supporters held up signs that read “KKK 4 Trump.” Trump, who was interrupted several times, shouted to security to “Get ’em out of here,” stupid people, they don’t understand what’s happening.” Police finally escorted the protesters by rough handling them as they fell to the ground. The protesters were removed from the rally but that did not stop them. The New Orleans-style protesting continued outside.
New Orleanians came together as a unit. They turned up the volume using trumpets and saxophones to protest Trump’s candidacy with a second-line. They held up signs that mocked Trump, like that of Mason Babin’s, a Tulane University sophomore at the rally. Babin said he was continuously threatened by security because he had a sign that read “Trump has small hands.” Babin said it was simply a bit of humor because Babin himself is not that tall. “I’m 5-foot-9, Cajun French, and I have medium size hands,” Babin said.
But on a serious turn, Babin said he was protesting because he felt Trump supporters were blinded because they could not see the flaws in Trump’s message. He also felt they overlooked his political inexperience. “Personally I think Trump is a laughing stock and a moron because he would do terrible things to this country,” he added. To have a stronger society, Babin said there needed to be intelligent conversations, compromise, and the need to treat everyone equally. Babin said he wasn’t there to make the supporters feel like they were hated but to gain their trust, have a good time, and make them laugh. He said he wanted them to see where Trump falls short of being anything a president should be.
Protesters said they felt that if Trump did become president then the country would go downhill drastically. “We would see a total shutdown of the functioning of government, a great deal more of fracturing between the ideologies within the United States,” Babin said. “I don’t see gun violence improving, violence against minorities, or education; while civil life would take a turn for the worse,” Babin added. Some New Orleanians said they came to the rally to see if Trump would say something new compared to what he’s already said on the campaign trail.
Travis Malana, who serves in the military said he came out hoping to see if Trump would clarify his positions. “Trump’s speech has been repeated multiple times about the wall, that Mexicans are to going to pay for it,” Malana said, “He makes a lot of empty promises that he is not going to keep.” Trump’s positions may come from a place of sincerity, but Malana said he felt that Trump’s style often riles up opponents. “These protesters will be pushed, hurt because they don’t believe in what he believes in,” Malana added. Trump may be popular because of his wealth and fame through shows like The Apprentice, but Malana said his political experience is lacking. “As a service member I don’t think it’s the wisest choice to go up against ISIS,” Malana said.
With the state of Louisiana experiencing a budget crisis, some protesters said they felt Trump’s policies could do to the country what former Gov. Bobby Jindal’s policies have done to the state. Chris Duni, a teacher at Kipp Central City Primary, said he felt that Trump would not do a better job than Obama. “Trump stands for everything that is not American, he is a fascist,” Duni said. If Trump became president, he would not know what to do, Duni said. He inherited his wealth as a businessman, he hires experts to buy his stocks, but tells voters he has built his empire on his own, Duni said. Voters have forgotten his casino, airline and vodka failures as well as his bankruptcies, Duni added.
Trump and his supporters are against Obamacare, Duni said, because they say it has increased the cost of health insurance. “The current healthcare system is serving a lot of people well, it certainly can be improved but Trump does not have a concrete plan to improve Obamacare,” he added.Trump is appealing to voters, not because of his positions, but because of his personality, Duni said. “The only reason why Trump has made it so far is because he is flashy, exciting, riles up the crowds and says provocative statements,” Duni said.