Donald Trump loves his rallies. It seems like the only part of his limited schedule that he really enjoys, probably because he is the center of attention in a crowd of adoring fans, something that a narcissist like him craves. These occasions enable him to recycle well-worn material that he knows will draw a positive response from the crowd. His audience seems to be like Grateful Dead fans who are quite happy to hear the greatest hits over and over again. It enables him to forget for a while any bad news about his lack of accomplishments.
I have speculated in the past that even for the most adoring fan, these rallies would eventually wear thin. I have been somewhat surprised that they seemed to be still holding up. But there are signs that they may be losing their appeal. Recent rallies have been scheduled in venues that are relatively small and even though crowds have turned up, he has not been able to fill the arenas as he once did and overflow crowds are things of the past.
Andy Kroll writes that there are some warning signs that the enthusiasm for his rallies is waning.
Trump descended on Manchester, New Hampshire, on Thursday evening to hold a rally for his 2020 reelection campaign. It was a presidential visit set against the backdrop of a slouching stock market, evidence of economic trouble at home and abroad, and fresh indications a recession isn’t far off. The disturbing economic news had infused the president’s tweets with a streak of desperation.
His rally in New Hampshire, perhaps not surprisingly, felt more deranged than we’re used to seeing with this president, a mash-up of greatest hits, miscues, and misinformation.
His performance veered into the bizarre and incoherent from there.
But by the second hour of Trump’s New Hampshire appearance, the president’s speech began to sound like a shtick that had lost its novelty, a routine worn-out from overuse.
Apparently even some of Trump’s fans have gotten tired of the act. Elaina Plott, a reporter for the Atlantic who attended the rally, tweeted that people were heading for the exits before the president had finished talking:
Trump's remarks tonight – going on two hours – are among the more aimless I've heard from him. Crowd thinning out significantly.
— Elaina Plott (@elainaplott) August 16, 2019
Trump spoke for two hours? Listening for that long would be hard even for the most devoted fan. Trump may be losing his touch for reading the room and has forgotten the adage that the audience should leave leave wanting more. Trump may be turning into a caricature of an ageing standup comedian who does not realize that he needs to freshen and sharpen up his act, cut out some of the chaff, and add new material.