A Display of Division: the Trump Rally and Counter-Protesters by the Target in Boulder

A ballot drop box in Boulder. Photo taken November 2nd.


A ballot drop box in Boulder. Photo taken November 2nd.

Lily Nobel, Royal Banner Print Co-Editor-in-Chief

Every Saturday, the intersection of 28th and Pearl Street by the Boulder Target has been a protest battleground between two opposing groups— supporters of President Trump and supporters of presidential candidate Joe Biden. 


Supporters of the president, who camped out by a van owned by rally organizer Ron Cabrera with “Make America Great Again” or Trump/Pence signs, outnumber the counter-protesters. 


This is an oddity in vastly liberal and Democratic Boulder, which has a voting body of 43.4% registered Democrats, 14.7% Republicans, and 40.3% unaffiliated voters, according to the city of Boulder’s November 2020 records, found here


Former candidate Hillary Clinton won the vote with 70.34% to Donald Trump’s 22.0%, according to the city of Boulder’s 2016 records, found here. This is an even steeper win than in 2012, when incumbent candidate Barack Obama won Boulder with 69.6% of the vote to his Republican competitor (Mitt Romney)’s 28.0%. 


Still, a variety of vocal supporters of President Trump, many decked out in pro-Trump merchandise and clutching signs with messages for those passing by in their cars, and few wearing masks, have showed up for the duration of these weekly rallies. 


“It’s important for me to support Mr. Trump because of all the freedoms he protects,” said Donny, a Trump supporter who declined to give a last name. “Trump is one guy who’s come in and did everything he said he was gonna do, plus a whole lot more.”


When asked for specific reasons they show up in support of the president, the rally-attender’s answers vary greatly. 


Said Jules, a professional seer who also declined to give a last name, “The reason I’m here is for the liberty of this country. I do not want to see this country become a communist nation under China. I’ve already had visions where China went door to door […]. I had a visions that the communists came knocking on the door and destroyed everything in this country.”


Punctuated by the sounds of car horns, which perpetually wail in both approval and protest of the Trump supporters, Ron Cabrera, who founded the rally through the organizational site meetup.com, says of his support for Mr. Trump: “I agree with his nationalist policy rather than an international policy. I believe that there’s an effort to diminish the power of the United States in favor of a global power or global government.”


“And I agree with some of the stuff he’s doing like changing NAFTA, getting rid of NAFTA, getting rid of TPP. I believe in his domestic agenda of lower taxes,” said Cabrera. (NAFTA is the North American Free Trade Agreement, which has existed since 1994 under Bill Clinton; TPP is the Trans-Pacific Partnership signed February, 2016 under Barack Obama).


Lail Burgess, on the other hand, is a counter-protester who supports Joe Biden for president and opposes Donald Trump. 


“I think this is one of the most historic elections we have ever had, and it’s really important to me to make as much of an impact as I can,” said Burgess. “Trump has already taken back so much of the environmentally-friendly stuff Obama did (…). It’s just not what I want— I’m trying to get someone else in the presidential position.”


“My motto is ‘Hot girls settle for Joe,’” said Laura, another counter-protester, who preferred her last name to be withheld. Despite supporting Bernie Sanders and Andrew Yang in the Democratic primaries, she recently dropped off her Biden-ballot, having voted for Democrats up and down the ticket. “I think we should all respect each other and show up against hate. That’s really why I’m here.”


High school students were present on both the rally and the counter-protesting side. Samantha Altchiler, a student at Longmont Christian School, attended the rally with her mother and father to support Mr. Trump.


“The reason why I like Trump is because he protects our Constitution and is very American and loves America. He lowered taxes and unemployment rates have been at an all-time low,” said Altchiler.


On the opposing side was Brandon, who declined to give a last name or a school, but attended the counter-protest with his friends, wearing a tutu and holding an anti-Trump sign.


Said Brandon: “It’s important to me to be here today because Trump is just not for me. He’s racist, he’s homophobic, he’s a dictator. Even if I can’t vote, maybe I’ll impact someone else on the other side or someone else driving by with my signs, to remind them to vote.”


According to studies by Pew Research Center, partisan division is starkly visible in issues of democracy, coronavirus response and relief, and race and gender, and this division has been brought vividly to life in front of the Boulder Target.


Still, the two sides can agree on two things: this is a deeply historic and important election, and people exercising their freedom of speech and voting is key. 


“This is such a stupidly cliché thing to say,” said Tristen, who declined to give his last name and brought bottled water, chips, and trail mix to counter-protesters, “But I think democracy is important. […] This is just me out here supporting people exercising their rights and using their voice.”