Chicago’s response to Trump rally exposes weaknesses in candidate’s campaign


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Donald Trump speaks in National Harbor, Maryland in 2015. Trump has been the top Republican candidate since the start of the campaign cycle.

by Michael Sikand, Reporter

Ever since Republican front-runner Donald Trump began his unforeseen presidential campaign, he has ripped apart the party he represents and divided ideologies nationwide. As his chances of securing the Grand Old Party (GOP) nomination appear robust, Trump’s success says a lot about the mentality of his supporters.

And until recently, opposition to his controversial success seemed nonexistent, with almost all of his criticism coming as one-liners from other candidates, talk show hosts and politicians rather than organized demonstrations by everyday citizens.

Protesters and student activists made their point by forcing Trump to cancel rally at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) on Mar. 11. Prior to the event, the student protesters angrily confronted thousands of the candidate’s supporters.

Such aggressive protest seems justifiable and even unavoidable given the circumstances and placement of Trump’s campaigning. In fact, it’s no surprise that Chicago served as the battleground between Trump and the liberal.

Chicago is a large city with an incredibly diverse population and a history of defending civil-rights. UIC itself is composed of more than 17,000 undergraduate students with a great amount of cultural diversity; nearly a quarter of its students are hispanic, a population that has Trump has stereotyped and criticized in the past. It’s also the capital city of Illinois, the state that Barack Obama represented in the Senate.

By organizing of one of his notoriously rowdy rallies at such a college campus in a city known for its large minority populations, Trump made it clear that engendering protest was a part of his campaign strategy.

As William M. Daley, son of former Chicago mayor and ex-Chief of Staff for President Obama, pointed out in an interview, “whoever picked that location knew what they were doing as far as poking that sleeping dog there.”

And indeed, in an interview with MSNBC after his event was canceled, Trump asked “What happened to Freedom of speech? What happened to the right to get together?” By making he and his supporters seem like “martyrs” for free-speech and hijacking headlines on top news agencies, the candidate found yet another way of defending his controversial rallying.

In the past, Trump’s preaching-sessions have been infamous for their harsh, violent attitudes and actions towards minorities, lobbyists and media members at the events. Trump himself, has even encouraged his supporters to physically confront those who oppose him. During a rally in Iowa in early February, Trump ordered his supporters to “just knock the hell [out of them]—I promise you, I will pay for the legal fees. I promise. I promise.”

On Mar. 10, at a rally in North Carolina, Trump supporter John McGraw punched a black protester in the face, as that man was being escorted out by security. McGraw later said that “The next time we see him, we might have to kill him.” To this, Trump kept to his promise by stating that he and his team are “looking into” paying for McGraw’s legal defense.

How could we elect a man who condones violence at his own events? A man who suggested that New Jersey muslims celebrated the events of 9/11? How could we ever even consider a man for president who described Mexican immigrants as “criminals, drug dealers, rapists”, or women as pigs, dogs, and slobs?

If Trump thinks that he and his followers will go unopposed, he is dangerously wrong. No matter how incendiary the demagogue front-runner and his posse continue to be, there will be people who will exercise their rights and try their best to stand against what he represents. And sometimes, as with UIC, such protest will be equally raucous and intense.

As a student at a school which encourages diversity quite like UIC does, I find Trump’s endorsement of hatefulness completely unacceptable. The Republican front-runner’s antics should not be tolerated.

With Trump’s chances of becoming the Republican nominee rising, I discourage citizens from voting for a man who not only wants to build a wall along the Mexican border but also wants walls among our nation’s constituents.


Michael Sikand (10) is a reporter for the Winged Post in his first year of Journalism. Outside Journalism, Michael is an active participant in DECA and SFCC. In his free time, Michael loves to scuba dive, play tennis, and ride motocross.