Nonetheless, the fact that Trump was able to draw such a devoted crowd — with some people even camping overnight to be guaranteed entry, and others willing to stand out in sub-freezing temperatures to watch a speech on a video screen just to get a taste of the experience, does say something. It speaks to a certain intensity level that makes Trump’s reelection more likely than most presidents entering an election year with approval rating hovering around 45 percent.
Many of the characteristics of a Trump rally have remained the same since 2016 — the sea of red MAGA hats, shouting down of protesters with chants of “USA! USA! USA!,” and lots of laughter at Trump’s mockery of his political enemies. The crowd often knows which lines Trump is about to rattle off, but revels in them anyway, almost as if attending a concert and waiting for a musician to play his greatest hits.
But one thing struck me. Whether they backed him in 2016 or were more recent converts, one factor that his supporters kept bringing up was their feeling that he had delivered on his promises in a way other elected officials have not.