Earlier this month I spoke with Austin Alexius Klein, the organizer of a protest aimed at Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s visit to Bismarck.
“I think that Bismarck being such a conservative and notoriously racist place, I feel like it’s very possible that there could be some backlash against us,” Klein told me at the time. He also said he was expecting 300 people in a permit application he filled out with the Bismarck Police Department.
Well today is the day of Trump’s visit, and not only did Klein not get the backlash he expected, but he also got just a fraction of the turnout he was expecting:
— Daryn W. Hoover (@dwhoover) May 26, 2016
Not counting media and pro-Trump protesters there are, what, 20 people in that group? Maybe 30? Here are the pro-Trump guys:
— KJ Weninger (@Weninger75) May 26, 2016
I’m honestly surprised the turnout wasn’t bigger given the intensity of some of the rhetoric against Trump from North Dakota’s Democrats. U.S. Senate candidate Eliot Glassheim has taken to calling the man an extremist and a misogynist, as has U.S. House candidate Chase Iron Eyes.
I mean, get a load of this statement posted on Facebook by North Dakota Democrat Chairwoman Kylie Oversen:
Trump protests in other parts of the country, even relatively conservative areas, have turned riotous at times. But not here in North Dakota.
I got a call from a friend who ate lunch near the Bismarck Civic Center, where Trump is speaking, and she said she walked by the protest and the long, long line of people waiting to get into the venue. She remarked to me about how civil and calm it all was. She said the protesters were even chatting nicely with the people waiting to see Trump.
North Dakota nice, I suppose.