I have watched every Donald Trump rally, interview, and speech since he left the White House in Jan. 2021.
It’s certainly been interesting to observe the evolution of his political messaging over that time—as he went from desperately trying to resuscitate his political image and career in 2021 following the Jan. 6 attack, to reclaiming his role of Republican kingmaker through his use of primary endorsements in 2022, to crafting his rally speeches and policy positions in 2023 in preparation for another presidential run while fending off indictments and financially crippling civil lawsuits.
Perhaps most interesting to me, though, is how his messaging with evangelical voters has changed so dramatically from his first campaign in 2016.
Trump’s rallies over the past year have followed a familiar pattern. After flying into the area on his 757, he makes a prearranged stop at a local diner, fast food restaurant, or pizza joint where a group of rabid Trump supporters arranged by his advance team are on hand to sing his praises and pay homage to their hero. Then, Trump loudly proclaims for the cameras that he is buying food for everyone, he hands out a few slices of pizza or hamburgers, takes a bite himself—and then it’s off to the rally as his social media team posts clip after clip to show what a true “man of the people” Trump is. [Continue reading…]