By Robert Reich
Donald Trump has just finished the last of his nine post-election “thank you tour” rallies. Why did he do them? And why is he planning further rallies after he becomes president?
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One clue is that Trump conducted them only in the states he won. And most attendees appeared to have voted for him – overwhelmingly white, and many wearing Trump hats and T-shirts. When warm-up speakers asked how many had previously attended a Trump rally, most hands went up.
A second clue is that rather than urge followers to bury the hatchet, Trump wound them up. “It’s a movement,” he said in Mobile, playfully telling the crowd that in the run-up to the election, “You people were vicious, violent, screaming, ‘Where’s the wall?’ ‘We want the wall!’ Screaming, ‘Prison!’ ‘Prison!’ ‘Lock her up!’ I mean, you were going crazy. You were nasty and mean and vicious.” He called his followers “wild beasts.”
"A third clue: Rather than shift from campaigning to governing, Trump’s post-election rallies were almost identical to the rallies he held when he was a candidate – the same format, identical pledges (“We will build a great wall!”), and same condemnations of the “dishonest” media. They also elicited many of the same audience responses, such as “Lock her up! Lock her up!”