WALKER, Mich. (WOOD) — Come Monday, some 7,000 people will fill the DeltaPlex in Walker for Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump’s first West Michigan campaign rally.
“It’s a relatively small stage,” DeltaPlex President Joel Langlois showed 24 Hour News 8 Friday as he walked the floor of the arena, which was set up for Saturday’s Grand Rapids Drive basketball game.
Crews at the DeltaPlex have been getting ready for Trump’s visit since getting the call about a week ago that he was coming. So have they gotten any unusual requests from the Trump campaign?
“It’s not like the green gummy bears or the brown M&M’s or any of that kinds of stuff,” Langlois said.
Even so, it’s fair to say Donald Trump isn’t your average presidential candidate, and the same could be said for many of his supporters.
“Their political rivers run deep. So I expect to see a pretty raucous crowd. I also expect them to be very well-behaved,” Langlois said.
When it comes to Trump, passions run both ways. The Secret Service and local police have candidate security covered. Langlois said private security teams will also be on hand to handle crowd control and make sure no one steps over the line.
But what’s considered over the line? Langlois says there won’t be any problems with people exercising their First Amendment rights at the rally. But it’s also a Trump-sponsored event on private property.
“People interrupting him during the event will be escorted out of the building. Obviously any kinds of threats or anything like that will be dealt with by the police,” Langlois said.
The rally may also draw protesters outside the DeltaPlex, but they’ll have to shout it from the street.
“Protesters can’t come on the property,” Langlois said. “However, they are actually able to exercise their First Amendment rights out on the sidewalk. ”
Doors at the DeltaPlex will open at 5 p.m. Monday, with Trump set to take the stage at 7:30 p.m. The event is free to the public, but people who wish to attend must register.
>Online:Register for the event
WHAT’S DRIVING TRUMP’S CAMPAIGN?
Trump is undoubtedly a political phenomenon, and he’s a polarizing figure. Those on the left have no problem pointing out what they say are Trump’s faults.
Michigan Democratic Party Chair Brandon Dillon said he thinks Trump’s appeal is limited.
“It’s certainly a fraction of the Republican base,” Dillon said. “I think when you look at general election polls, that message is not resonating with a majority of folks in the country.
But he said there is some anxiety in the electorate.
“People are frustrated and I’ve said look at the difference between the two sides of the presidential debate. There’s an energy with the Sanders campaign that is born out of frustration with the status quo,” he said.
But that, he said, is where the similarity ends.
“That is primarily being generated in a positive way talking about substantive issues like income inequality,” Dillon said. “What you’re seeing in the Donald Trump camp is channeling that anger but using people’s fears to stoke resentment against immigrants, against different religious faiths.”
–24 Hour News 8 Political Reporter Rick Albin