Trump stokes culture wars, but low turnout mars Tulsa campaign rally

resident Donald Trump returned to one of his favorite pastimes on Saturday night: Headlining a big, brash Trump campaign rally.

Talking up the rally last week, Trump said nearly a million people had requested tickets to attend. “We have a 22,000-seat arena, but I think we’re going to also take the convention hall next door, and that’s going to hold 40,000 … We expect to have a record-setting crowd. We’ve never had an empty seat, and we certainly won’t in Oklahoma.”

But they did have empty seats. Approximately 13,000 of them, according to the Tulsa Fire Marshal, who counted slightly less than 6,200 attendees at the 19,000-seat Bank of Oklahoma Arena on Saturday night. 

This was Trump’s first rally since Sen. Bernie Sanders dropped out of the Democratic primary, leaving Biden the party’s presumptive nominee. In Tulsa, Trump appeared to be testing several lines of attack against the former vice president, including that Biden is a “helpless puppet of the radical left.” 

But time and again, Trump’s mention of Biden’s name failed to fire up the crowds in Tulsa. 

This hints at a broader problem Trump is facing as he mounts a campaign against the former vice president: For a candidate like Trump, who fares better when voters are angry than when they’re not, Biden may not arouse enough anger in Trump’s supporters to really mobilize them.

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