Nearly 78,000 people have signed up to attend President Trump’s rally with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) on Monday, which is scheduled to take place in a venue that holds only 18,000.
According to the polls, Cruz, who is running for a second term, enjoys a healthy but far from Texas-sized single-digit lead over Media Cover Boy Beto O’Rourke. By comparison, Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott is up a whopping 20 points over his Democrat opponent. So the president is headed to Houston to ensure there are no surprises.
The real news, though, with this 78,000 number is how popular Trump remains with his supporters. The idea that he can still overfill these venues (as he has consistently done all over the country) two years into his presidency is unprecedented.
A number of presidents were, during their first successful campaigns for the Oval Office, considered rock stars: Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and especially Barack Obama. All pulled in massive crowds as they captured the country’s imagination. This was also true of Trump, but his crowds during the 2016 campaign were breathtaking, and those who defied conventional wisdom and correctly predicted Trump would triumph over Hillary Clinton pointed to this phenomenon.
And it is not just that they show up; it is that thousands of them wait in line for hours and hours for the chance to get in.
Who would have ever predicted, however, that two years in, Trump would still be able to draw the kind of crowds an actual rock star would envy? And what this might mean for another surprise round of Republican turnout in the upcoming midterms is anybody’s guess.