Thousands of Trump supporters descended on Washington DC on Wednesday for the second rally against alleged voter fraud in the presidential election. The #StopTheSteal rally took place on the same day Congress was set to certify the Electoral College results, as President Trump urged Vice President Mike Pence to reject the electors. It had a markedly lower turnout than the Million MAGA March in the fall, at least partially because it was frigid and took place in the middle of the work week.
People with flags sporting a variety of slogans, from ‘Trump 2020’ to ‘Latinos for Trump’ to ‘No More Bullshit’ mused about whether or not Pence would stop the certification — and whether he’s even qualified to do so. Little chatter, meanwhile, could be heard about the Senate results in Georgia. Republicans have lost both seats, handing control of the Senate to Democrats who can dutifully pass through Biden’s policy agenda. Rudy Giuliani claimed that the Georgia race was stolen just like the presidential election, but the crowd seemed unconcerned. What the DC political establishment still doesn’t seem to understand is that the people who drive across the country and wake up at the crack of dawn to see their President have no loyalty to the Republican party. Why should they? The GOP didn’t care about them until Trump came along. The party’s shift to a working-class coalition was thanks to a nationalist-populist message, not because of Mitch McConnell’s judges or Paul Ryan’s tax cuts.
Notably, the people who believe the election was stolen and that the country may even be facing a civil war did not seem angry or frightened. Instead, there was mainly a sense of joy and pride early in the day that they could gather in the nation’s capital with so many other like-minded individuals from all across the country.
There was also a significant Asian American contingent at the rally, many of them Chinese immigrants who passed around petitions urging action against the Chinese Communist party. If you’ve been to DC before, you’ve likely seen similar groups standing outside of the Trump Hotel thanking the President for standing up to the Beijing regime.
Trump addressed the crowd from the White House ellipse around noon, telling them to primary any Republicans who don’t fight for them and criticizing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for not bringing $2,000 stimulus checks up for a vote.
‘Mike Pence has got to come through for us, and if he doesn’t that will be a sad day,’ Trump said.
The crowd was encouraged to march down to the Capitol building after the President’s speech, further placing pressure on the GOP to stop the vote certification by any means possible. As they did so, news emerged that Vice President Pence said that he did not have the authority to reject Electoral College votes for Joe Biden. Several marchers then clashed with police, breaching security barriers in an apparent attempt to gain entry to the Capitol.
Provided Biden takes office on January 20, Trump is establishing himself as the kingmaker for the future of the party and is bringing his base along with him.