Ever since launching his successful presidential campaign in 2015, Donald Trump’s raucous political rallies have been a cornerstone of his movement. To energize his base ahead of the 2024 election, Trump has again embarked on hosting rallies across the country. But some observers claim the events are not drawing the massive crowds Trump once commanded.
Are people losing interest in the Trump rally spectacle, or do supporters still turn out in droves?
Let’s examine the turnout trends.
Donald Trump’s political rallies represent a key connection between Trump and his loyal following. During his 2016 campaign, Trump consistently filled arenas, reflecting momentum leading up to his victory.
Now as Trump eyes another run, allies and critics alike are analyzing his ability to still draw large numbers. Any decline could signal waning influence, while big crowds would confirm Trump remains a political force.
In this post, we’ll compare turnout during three key phases:
- 2016 campaign rallies at Trump’s peak popularity
- 2020 rallies as president seeking re-election
- 2022 rallies since leaving office
Evaluating changes over time provides perspective on Trump’s grassroots support leading into 2024.
Massive Crowds During the 2016 Campaign
Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign rallies were unprecedented displays of voter enthusiasm:
- He consistently filled professional sports arenas that hold 15,000 to 20,000 spectators.
- Outdoor rallies also drew overflow attendance, with some crowds estimated over 40,000.
- The large scale reflected voter frustration and Trump’s celebrity appeal. Rallies became must-see spectacles.
- Trump claimed his rallies proved he had more people behind him than the “dishonest media” recognized.
During 2016, Trump seemingly mobilized a movement larger than typical electoral politics.
Comparatively Smaller but Loyal 2020 Rallies
When Trump campaigned for re-election in 2020, his rallies appeared noticeably smaller:
- Indoor venues held just a few thousand supporters, leaving ample empty space.
- Trump began holding more rallies at airplane hangars that safely accommodated smaller crowds.
- Outdoor rallies also saw declined attendance, typically in the low thousands.
- Public health officials attributed lower turnout to the raging coronavirus pandemic.
Though smaller than 2016, these crowds still surpassed those at Biden campaign events, reflecting Trump’s remaining grassroots energy.
Signs of Decline in 2022 Comeback Rallies
Since leaving office, Trump’s rallies have shown further signs of diminished scale and enthusiasm:
- His first 2022 rallies were scheduled at midsizeevent venues holding just several hundred to 2,000 people.
- Attendance came in below venue capacity at some events as turnout tapered off.
- The crowds skewed older, suggesting difficulty attracting younger Trump voters.
- Speech runtimes got longer as Trump went off-script more frequently to hit usual themes.
The dip raises questions about whether Trump’s post-presidency appeal is fading or if other factors are at play.
Explanations for the Downward Trend
Assuming the decline in rally attendance is real, there are a few plausible explanations:
The Loss in 2020
Some supporters may have moved on after Trump failed to get re-elected. His defeat may have dampened enthusiasm in public displays of support.
Lack of Campaign Infrastructure
Trump’s team has not built up the organizing capacity and promotion for rallies typical of active campaigns.
Risk of Violence
Threats of violence from opponents may discourage some supporters from attending.
Trump Not on the Ballot
Rallies may draw better when Trump is an active candidate, rather than supporting other candidates.
Virus risks likely still deter some elderly Trump fans from large public gatherings.
Reasons likely include both waning popularity and operational factors unique to Trump’s current status.
Perspectives on the Trend’s Significance
Trump allies downplay the declines, but critics say it signals vulnerability:
Trump Campaign Interpretation
- Scale still exceeds all potential 2024 Republican rivals
- Smaller venues chosen for convenience and crowd energy
- Enthusiasm will reignite with formal campaign launch
- Proves his influence is fading after White House loss
- Contributors and elite supporters moving on
- Bleak precedent for launching another campaign
As usual, both supporters and opponents seek confirming data points in rally attendance trends.
Rally turnout provides perhaps the most visible indicator of presidential candidates’ grassroots momentum. For Donald Trump, the remarkable crowds of 2015-2016 reflected an insurgent campaign tapping into intense voter sentiment. In more recent periods, attendance drops likely show both waning enthusiasm and operational limitations.
But Trump still draws larger audiences than most other political figures could. As he weighs launching a comeback bid, Trump must balance recapturing the magic of his first run with adjustments to prevent further declines. With rallies as their public litmus test, Trump’s team is aware numbers still matter. Yet whatever his crowd sizes, Trump has proven predictions of his imminent political death premature before. His next campaign may once again surprise critics fixated on empty seats.
Hi y’all, I’m Caroline Webster, your proud Texan source for everything related to our 45th president, Donald Trump, and the GOP.
Along with my husband, Bill, I run Trump Scoop, born out of our ranch in the Lone Star State, offering insightful and unbiased commentary on conservative politics.
With a degree in Political Science and years immersed in local politics, my aim is to keep our readers informed and connected.
For me, it’s not just about delivering news—it’s about standing up for our values and the spirit of American patriotism.