Maria Wittenauer –
As many of you know, Donald Trump was scheduled to have a rally at the University of Illinois at Chicago on March 11. However, it did not go quite as planned. In fact, they were unable to have the rally at all.
Trump protesters and supporters alike showed up, but the hostility mounted until it got out of control. The heightened emotions of the rally were likely in part due to the fact that the Illinois primary was going to take place the following Tuesday. Before Trump even appeared, the announcement was made that the rally was to be “postponed.”
However, the announcement did not solve much. After it was made, chants and fistfights commenced from both sides. Protesters felt successful, while supports felt let down. Things remained heated, and the event resulted in five arrests, and two law enforcement officers were injured in the violence.
However, there was some debate over whether the rally should have been postponed. According to CNN, “[s]ome 300 officers were on hand for crowd control, according to Escalante [Chicago Interim Police Superintendent]. The Trump campaign didn’t consult with authorities before calling the event off, he said. The Chicago Police Department was ‘confident’ they could provide adequate security to protect Trump, his supporters and protesters, Escalante said.” Just going on with the rally may have been the best option, based on the fact that people seem to have gotten even more heated after the announcement was made. However, that will never be known for sure because we cannot know what would have happened if Trump took the stage. However, the violence did not end at the venue. After attendees left, the hostility continued into the streets of Chicago.
As for how the event affected voters, it seems to have not changed much at all. Both sides remained steadfast to their positions. Protesters, many voicing themselves as Bernie Sanders supporters, continued protesting, and supporters were prouder than ever to say that they were casting their vote for Donald Trump. Overall, the behavior from both sides was not appropriate.
Trump remained confident amidst the chaos, even using the events to his advantage. He put the blame on the economic problem of employment in African American people. He also set some of the blame of the escalation of violence on the media. He added the hope that his words were not causing people to become violent, that, according to CNN, “‘[m]y basic tone is that of securing our borders, of having a country.’” This statement is likely in response to the many comments from protesters on his having racist tendencies. On Twitter the next day, he said, “‘[t]he organized group of people, many of them thugs, who shut down our First Amendment rights in Chicago, have totally energized America!’”
Trump won the Illinois primary with 38.8% of the Republican vote and 53 delegate votes.
In case you missed the rest of the results of the Illinois primaries, they are as follows:
Republican: Cruz: 30.3% votes, 9 delegates; Kasich: 19.7% votes, 5 delegates; Rubio: 8.7% votes, 0 delegates
Democrat: Clinton: 50.5% votes, 76 delegates; Sanders: 48.7% votes, 73 delegates
Maria Wittenauer, from Springfield, Illinois, is a sophomore double-majoring in English and theatre at Illinois College. Maria is a features editor for The Rambler, a consultant at the Writing Center, a transcriber for the History Department, and a member of Gamma Delta and the Women’s Chorale.