I don’t get the obsession with Inauguration Day crowd sizes. You could say that the media started this fight by saying that the crowd at Obama’s 2009 inauguration was way bigger than Trump’s. Then White House spokesman Sean Spicer responded to these claims by claiming that Trump’s inauguration drew “the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period.”
You can compare photos with both of Obama’s inaugurations, and it does appear that Obama pulled in more people than Trump. But Trump still garnered more attendees than both George W. Bush’s and Bill Clinton’s inaugurations.
But what I don’t understand is why this is so important. Crowd size does not necessarily translate to national support. Obama’s large crowd sizes were not at all surprising, considering that he won D.C. overwhelmingly. He won over 90 percent of the vote in D.C. in 2012, and in 2008, he got more than 92 percent.
Hillary Clinton won over 90 percent of the vote in D.C. in 2016.
It’s no surprise that Washington, D.C. does not like Trump. That means that the majority of the local population are more likely to boycott the inauguration. Trump’s crowd would have had to come more from travelers than from locals.
Nevertheless, it’s something that’s very important to the media. And for some reason, Sean Spicer – who was perhaps instructed by the President – saw fit to “correct” the media’s reporting of Trump’s crowd size compared to Obama’s. His responses were quickly pounced on by the media as “lies.” Kellyanne Conway responded to NBC’s Chuck Todd, noting that Spicer counter-acted the media’s narrative with “alternative facts.” Predictably, the media had a hey-day with that, calling her responses Orwellian double-speak.
I think it’s such a silly fight. Who cares whose crowd was bigger? The biggest inaugural crowd prior to Obama’s 2009 inauguration was Lyndon B. Johnson’s. I don’t think that necessarily meant LBJ must have been a well-loved president with widespread national support.
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