With the upcoming elections, Trump is making his journey through the remaining states, encouraging Republicans to vote for him in their upcoming primaries. However, after John Kasich and Ted Cruz dropped out of the race due to their humiliating lack of delegate votes, Donald Trump has become the only Republican left on the road to winning the Republican Party nomination.
Two days after becoming the sole Republican candidate, Trump made his way to Eugene, Oregon, hosting a rally on May 6 at Lane Event Convention Center.
The rally drew in thousands of people, from students of the University of Oregon to people driving from as far as Grants Pass, all wanting to express their hatred or support of the controversial candidate. The fire marshal capped the rally at 5,000 attendees, leaving many Trump supporters surrounded by the large protests brewing outside the center. Inside the rally, Trump talked about some of the key points of his campaign: mainly focusing on the media’s portrayal of him and calling reporters out for being “dishonest people.”
“When they get me, I don’t mind. It’s like when these dishonest people back here [pointing to the reporters in the back], world’s most dishonest people, now look at all of them, look at all of them, and they protect Hillary Clinton, they protect her, they’re totally protective of her. So they are the world’s most dishonest people, I’d use stronger language but there’s too many women in the room. But look at these people, and look at all those camera’s going, they are horrible people, they never show the size of the audience,” Trump said during the rally.
Trump spent a large portion of his speech conveying how the media skews his language and portrays in him an extremely biased matter, not showing the support Trump has gained but rather focusing on the hate that he caused.
Trump also touched on his economic policies, explaining his plans to increase job growth and capitalize America’s economy in order to surpass China, the U.S.’s main competitor. “We’re not letting these countries take our business anymore, we’re not letting these countries take our jobs anymore, and take our money anymore. We have China. We have a trade deficit with China, $five hundred and five billion.”
A Trump supporter from the rally described it as “it wasn’t bad, I mean, he had his statistics chart with him, he had some valid points. Just his statistics on the economy, on what our percentages in Oregon are, our unemployment and the industry, work wise and yeah he wants to make more jobs.”
Inside the rally Trump was mustering support from his “Trumpeters,” as Sarah Palin called them, outside the rally was an entirely different tone. Hundreds of people gathered outside the Lane Event Convention Center in order to protest Trump. Protesters chanting, “Tell Trump what democracy looks like” “this is what democracy looks like,” “no justice, no peace,” and “I believe that love will win” stood with signs expressing their dissatisfaction with Trump and their fear of what he will do to this country.
Chasen, a local protester, explained that he was protesting against Trump’s ability to leverage his personal wealth in this elections. “I’m here because I represent Eugene, and what Eugene represents is community and unity and separating yourself yourself from capitalism because those with more money are able to have more control.”
Sydney, another protester, fears that Trump is using his fear-mongering to encourage hatred and discrimination. “I feel like Donald Trump is trying more fascist, more like Hitler, and that’s scary.”
As Mike Francis, a protester with a megaphone rallying encouragement from other protesters said, “A man has zero foreign policy experience over understanding of how the world works, and I do not want to give the nuclear codes to Donald Trump. No way, it’s insanity, and we need to show him that every time he goes to a city, we will be there, we will be there waiting for him every single time, and there will be no peace when Trump is in power.”
Though most protests were nothing more than an act of freedom of expression, some turned violent. Rumors circled of a fight between a Trump supporter and Trump protestor, where after a verbal altercation, the protester punched the supporter in the face and then had a seizure. Though no official could confirm this, there was an ambulance on site.
While the rally was ongoing, many of the Trump supporters who were unable to gain admittance to the rally stayed to try to convince protesters otherwise and convey their own political views. Ryan Helmericks, a Trump supporter from U of O, said “I’m a Donald Trump supporter, I hate that the current GOP party is ruled by the Bible.”
Helmericks acknowledged the many flaws of the current GOP and political system, and expressed his opinion that Trump’s rejection of the status quo is the best way to resolve these issues. With many people yelling at him “you tell us white man” and “f*** Trump.” Helmericks stood surrounded by Trump protesters who questioned him on why he would support this candidate, causing a very interesting and tense debate.
When answering a question about Trump’s derogatory language towards women, Helmericks pointed out that “the majority of the comments that have gone against Donald Trump when it comes to women is from his [opponents], AKA Hillary Clinton. If you actually look at the interview between that individual, [Meghan Kelly], and Donald Trump, she said a lot of negative parts of Donald Trump, and they were kinda one sided.”
A bit over a week later, May 17, Trump returned to Eugene on Oregon’s Primary day to once again rally voters. The day ended with him winning 17 of the Oregon Republican delegate votes, while Cruz and Kasich both still managed to win three delegate votes each despite having dropped out. Bernie Sanders won Oregon, with 34 Oregon Democratic delegate votes, while Clinton won 25 delegate votes. Sanders swept Oregon, winning 35 counties, leaving Clinton to win only one county by exactly one vote. Trump won every county in Oregon.
As Helmericks said, “you can vote for who you want, if you do not like Donald Trump, then don’t vote for him,” and that is the beauty of the democratic system. Though Trump’s rallies in Eugene met with some conflict, the freedom of political expression and the ability of America’s government to provide protection is what truly what makes America great.