The Corner

The Stupid Crowd Size Debate

I’m not a crowd scientist, but it seems inarguable that Trump’s crowd was smaller than Obama’s in 2009. His critics loved pointing this out, although it is completely meaningless. It will have zero effect on anything that happens the next four years (and as many news stories have sensibly pointed out, the turnout for Trump may have been affected by the fact that Washington, D.C. and its environs aren’t exactly Trump country). Predictably, though, Trump couldn’t let this go and had to inflate the crowd size, and Sean Spicer followed suit. For Trump, anything that has to do with wealth, ratings, book sales, crowd size, or poll numbers involves his honor and his sense of self. Plus, he has lived and thrived for decades in the tabloid capital of the world, in part, by exaggerating all these kind of numbers, so it’s become second nature. The crowd size contretemps, of course, isn’t an aberration — it’s the sort of thing that will dominate our political debate for the duration, even as truly consequential things begin to happen in Congress and the executive branch.

Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review. He can be reached via email: comments.lowry@nationalreview.com. 

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