In Lower Manhattan on Tuesday morning, near the courthouse where Donald J. Trump was to be arraigned, Dion Cini, a Trump merchandise entrepreneur from Brooklyn and frequent presence at Trump rallies, waved an enormous flag that read TRUMP OR DEATH.
“We’re living in history right now,” he told a scrum of mostly European reporters.
But the crowd — for a demonstration convened by the New York Young Republican Club, where Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene would soon speak — was overwhelmingly made up of journalists. Trump supporters were so outnumbered that anyone in Make America Great Again attire was quickly swarmed by cameras.
On Truth Social last month, Mr. Trump exhorted his supporters: “WE MUST SAVE AMERICA! PROTEST, PROTEST, PROTEST!” But while his indictment has been met with outrage across right-wing media and social media, the offline response has so far been a far cry from the turnouts at his campaign rallies — much less the tens of thousands he drew to Washington on Jan. 6, 2021, for the rally that became a violent attempt to avert the end of his presidency.
Pro-Trump organizers and outside observers have pointed to a range of factors to explain the low turnout. They include the relatively short notice of the arraignment, the mixed messages from right-wing media figures and politicians like Ms. Greene — who last month stoked fear that an indictment protest could be infiltrated by “Feds/Fed assets” — and the question of what, exactly, a demonstration would accomplish.
But the small crowds are also a testament to a political landscape that has changed since the explosive finale of Mr. Trump’s presidency. [Continue reading…]