Politics

Denver's Trump Rally Turns Into Sad Pageant

A photo from our January 6 slideshow "Hundreds Gathered at Colorado Capitol to Protest Election."
A photo from our January 6 slideshow "Hundreds Gathered at Colorado Capitol to Protest Election." Michael Emery Hecker
Every politician and official with a functioning medulla oblongata has put out a statement decrying the events at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on January 6, and plenty of other organizations and entities have weighed in, too. Even Denver Public Schools felt compelled to confirm that the sight of a lathered-up mob under the delusion that President Donald Trump won the 2020 election in a landslide storming one of the most important symbols of American democracy in order to break shit and take selfies was the opposite of pretty.

But there's been no condemnation of the pro-Trump gathering at the Colorado State Capitol around the same time, and for good reason. The main thing the rally accomplished was proving that the Donald's Denver-area pod people aren't the worst of the worst after all — just a noisy but ultimately pathetic group that couldn't manage a coup d'état even if they could spell it.

Granted, this conclusion is based on a bar that's been lowered to approximately the central point of the Earth's core. Months ago, a large gathering at Bandimere Speedway in Jefferson County, where Trumpy minions bellyached about how wearing facial coverings impinged on their freedom, seemed like a big deal. Such a conclusion suddenly seems as quaint as a lace tablecloth.

I headed for the Capitol at mid-afternoon on the 6th, and as I drove north on Lincoln, traffic ground to a near-halt thanks to a phalanx of preferred Trumpkin vehicles — giant gas-guzzling trucks festooned with banners and flags pledging fealty to their orange-hued hero.


click to enlarge Another photo from "Hundreds Gathered at Colorado Capitol to Protest Election" captures a tender family moment. - MICHAEL EMERY HECKER
Another photo from "Hundreds Gathered at Colorado Capitol to Protest Election" captures a tender family moment.
Michael Emery Hecker
The crowd on the Capitol grounds was a bit more diverse, but barely. Some families outfitted in matching Trump gear were sprinkled among swarms of burly, chest-thumping white men, stomping around like grade-schoolers trying to intimidate fellow players in a game of Capture the Flag. But there really wasn't much for them to do after a while other than to stand around in their bright-red finery or shout epithets at counter-protesters across the street.

Under other circumstances, this brand of aggression might have flared into violence. But the overwhelmingly negative reaction to the rioting in Washington undoubtedly put a damper on the get-together. Over the course of the afternoon, as it became clear that the D.C. spectacle had deteriorated into a historic moment of national shame, the energy began to wane, causing Colorado participants to begin drifting away.

The local law enforcement tally by day's end was negligible: a reported three arrests, for disturbing the peace, possessing a taser and fighting, respectively. No one was shot, no one was killed, and no one's mind was changed. Move along. Nothing to see here — particularly now that Joe Biden has been officially certified as the next president and Trump has grudgingly pledged to allow an orderly transition to take place (whatever the hell he means by that).

Could the violence and stupidity in the nation's capital inspire the Mile High City contingent to bring more pain the next time around? Certainly. But on this day, anyhow, Denver's most incensed Trump fans looked like pussycats compared to their peers across the country — and it'd be great if they stayed that way.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts