I’m skeptical that they did him any harm but this analysis makes clear that they didn’t help. Or at least, not nearly enough.
Which is logical. Why would a rally being held nearby affect any voter’s choice, especially a rally late in the race when people’s minds are already made up? Activists tend to obsess about rallies because they’re more into politics than the average person is so the pageantry of a big political event excites them. As fans of the candidate, they also think he has it within his power to move votes through sheer charisma by preaching his message in a visible format. And of course they believe — or want to believe — that most Americans agree with them about politics, and the spectacle of a crowded rally feeds that illusion. If 10,000 Trump fans show up to cheer the president raucously a week before Election Day, that must mean he’s en route to victory, right?
Of course not. You could pick any city at random in deep blue California and find thousands of Trump fans willing to turn out and cheer for him. The enthusiasm of a relatively small, select crowd tells us zippo about the sentiments of an entire state.