Trump’s MAGA rally supporting Kobach draws protesters

Trump rallies voters for Kobach before midterms, protestors gather

After receiving a text message from Trump’s campaign advertising his “Make America Great Again” rally in Topeka, Kansas, people were able to make requests online for a free ticket to attend the event.

The rally on October 6 attracted thousands who lined up in the cold rain for hours outside the Expo Center. About half were turned away once the building was filled to capacity of 10,000.

Sabrina Castle
Enduring cold rain and wind, Trump supporters line up for hours in the hopes to hear Trump and other Republican figures speak at the rally. Tickets were given out for free online.

“I support the president because he’s bringing it back to how it should be, making America great again,” Trace Larson, 19, said. “The government needs to be less dominated by the media, less socialist, more state-oriented, more people-oriented and more conservative.”

Inside the rally, posters stating “Promises Made, Promises Kept” hung behind the various guests who appeared on stage. After standing for the national anthem, a sea of red hats sat to listen to then candidate and now Republican second Congressional District representative Steve Watkins discuss his military background and praise Trump’s strict national policies.

“[Trump] fights to keep our borders secure,” Watkins said. “He moved the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem…and he is tough on China, Iran and North Korea.”

As the keynote speaker, Trump began his speech by praising Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court by a Republican majority senate. In light of sexual assault allegations made by Dr. Christine Blasey-Ford—deemed credible by an outside investigator which a panel of all-male Republican senators hired—the results of the vote were highly controversial.

Sabrina Castle
Filing into the Expocentre, Trump supporters find their seats to catch a clear view of signs advertising “Promises Made, Promises Kept.” The arena was filled to capacity of 10,000, forcing some viewers to stand in the back and some to be denied entry to the event.

“I proudly signed the judge’s commission aboard Air Force One just before landing,” Trump said. “Kavanaugh is a man of great character and intellect. He is a loving husband, devoted father and a faithful public servant and he always has been.”

Trump then criticized Democrats for questioning Kavanaugh’s credibility.

“If Democrats are willing to cause such destruction in the pursuit of power, just imagine the devastation they would cause if they ever obtained the power they so desperately want and crave,” Trump said.

Trump ended his speech by encouraging his listeners to vote Republican in the November 6 midterm election, expressing his support for gubernatorial candidate Kris Kobach.

As a Republican, Kobach was known for his hardline views on immigration policy, specifically in regards to voter ID laws and Muslim registration.

“He’s a republican so I know he’s really strong in immigration,” junior Ben Miller said. “We need people having good jobs and people who are not illegal. If it’s illegal then that’s the law.”

Kobach’s speech reflected his reputation. He first discussed his disapproval for his opponent Democrat Laura Kelly’s positions of sanctuary cities.

Sabrina Castle
Cheered on by a pumped crowd, a speaker endorses the Republican party at the rally. Politicians Kris Kobach, Steve Watkins and Donald Trump were all keynote speakers.

“During a 2017 Senate debate over Medicaid expansion, Kelly voted against an amendment that would have denied expanded Medicaid to residents living in sanctuary cities,” according to the Wichita Eagle. “The amendment failed 13-25 and would not have allowed or banned sanctuary cities. It would have only prohibited benefits to residents living in those places.”

Local governments of sanctuary cities have limited cooperation with the federal government on immigration enforcement, specifically through declining to detain people suspected of being in the country illegally.

“Did you know that my opponent Laura Kelly voted to allow sanctuary cities in Kansas?” Kobach said. “When I am governor, god willing, sanctuary cities will end in this state.”

He also stated his support to reenact a law requiring proof of citizenship at voting booths. The law had been thrown out by a United States District Court Judge earlier this year on July 19.

Former Republican Representative Kevin Yoder, retired Republican Representative Lynn Jenkins, and current Lieutenant Governor Tracy Mann were scheduled to appear, but each cancelled their appearance at the rally reportedly due to previous arrangements.

During the rally, a group of protestors gathered outside the building. Approximately 500 people stood on the sidewalk outside of the Expo Centre with signs, many chanting against the disputed appointment of Judge Kavanaugh, according to the Topeka Capital Journal.

Sabrina Castle
On the sidewalk, approximately 500 people line up outside the Expocentre using signs and chants to protest the MAGA rally being held inside.

“It’s important for everyone to take actions because we have an influence,” junior Katy Meston-Ward said. “I don’t believe Kobach or Trump are anything good for America. They are anti-human rights, anti-women and anti-immigrant…they’re against everything that makes this country great.”

At one point, a man dressed in all black ran to the center of the group carrying a bullhorn plastered with the words “Info Wars”, using it to shout statements “We believe evidence,” in response to the Dr. Ford case, and “There’s a war out for your mind,” referring to the Republican party’s suspicion of liberal-leaning fake news throughout the media.

A verbal argument broke out between the two sides, and the protestors responded with chants such as “We believe her” and “Trump’s the one dividing us.”

Guadalupe Magdaleno, an immigrant, came to the U.S. when she was 18 and is 50 now. “I believe in the democracy of this country, and I believe that we can do better,” Magdaleno said. “We cannot continue to elect officials who are supposed to represent us all, but choose to represent a handful of privileged community members rather than everyone at large.”

Sabrina Castle
Shouting chants aimed towards the Republican party and disputed Brett Kavannaugh case, three women partake in the protest. The MAGA event was held in light of the November 6 midterms, and protesters aimed to make their frustrations with the administration known.

A month later, the rally’s affect would be made known as the midterm election neared. On November 6, Kansas voters had the chance to elect new House representatives and a new state governor, though no senators seats were up for reelection.

In District 1, incumbent Republican Roger Marshall beat Democrat Alan LaPolice for the House seat. Despite overwhelming support from Douglas County, Democrat Paul Davis lost the second district seat to Republican Steve Watkins. Republican Ron Estes beat James Thompson in the fourth District, and Democrat Sharice Davids beat incumbent Republican Kevin Yoder for the third District house seat. Davids, being the first openly LGBTQ and Native American woman to represent Kansas, beat Yoder by more than 28,000 votes.

Finally, and perhaps most notably, the governor’s race ended in victory for Democrat Laura Kelly, as she beat Kris Kobach by over 45,000 votes.

Overall, Republicans maintained control of the Senate with a 51 to 49 majority over Democrats (including two Independents). However, historically, the opposite party of the sitting president wins the majority of the House during midterms, and that trend was continued this election. The Democrats needed to win 218 seats, and they overshot their goal by 14, ultimately ending with a 232 seat majority over the Republicans in the House of Representatives.