Whistle Stop tour 21st century. New Name needed. Trump Stump.
I have streamed President Trump speaking in Virginia, Florida, Nevada, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. The set ups are the same. The venue is an airport, the crowd is standing along the runway, flags are flying, media are watching, patriotic songs are playing, the sun is setting, and Air Force One is back dropping. Where have I seen this before?
These jaunts are a throwback to the Whistle Stop tours Presidential candidates use to take. The most recent was President Reagan in 1984. Then the venue was outside the railroad stations. The term whistle stop referred to the train coming into the town, blowing its whistle, so the folks expecting passengers would come to the station, or riders would be ready to board. The Whistle meant the train would stop to discharge riders, or pick them up. Some time between the 1930s and 1970s, the trains stopped the whistle, which was the steam engine letting off steam. But the term whistle stop continued to mean the candidate was on the stump.
All this means we need an updated term for the whistle stop tour. Google claims its definitions are from the Oxford dictionary which has this for whistle-stop. First – ‘a small unimportant town on a railroad [line].’ Second – a brief pause in a tour by a politician for an electioneering speech.’ The first definition reminds us of the days when railroads were everywhere. The second is very 20th century.
I suggest a new term for the 21st century brief pause in a political tour for a stump speech. How about ‘Runway Rally’? That describes the location and event. Other terms are – Hangar Hello – acknowledging the crowds waiting in the hangar by bleachers and podium. Or Fly Over Outing in reference to the description of the part of the country where the peaceful protests are held. Or Trump trek as a play on the Star Trek series and inspiration for the Space Force. Or Trump trip as the President who seems to have created this new campaign model. Or Peregrination aviation which ties together the meandering journey and flight. Or Trump Stump – it rhymes and says it all.
President Rides Rails. Sidney Ohio AP. 1984 Oct 13 Daily Oklahoman. In an outing that offered a colorful snapshot of yesteryear’s campaigns but also was filled with political irony, President Reagan Friday took a whistle-stop tour through Ohio on the railroad car Harry Truman once used. Reagan, a onetime Democrat who supported Truman’s long-shot 1948 campaign against Thomas E Dewey, used the rear platform of the armored observation Pullman ‘’U.S. Car One’’ to renew his attack against the Democrats’ 1984 nominee, Walter F. Mondale. ‘’We’re taking this whistle-stop tour of ’84 to demonstrate that our government is once again on the right track – and our national renewal is not going to be derailed.’’ Reagan told a courthouse rally just before boarding the train for a five-stop, 200 mile voyage from Dayton to Toledo. Reagan brushed aside complaints by Mondale and House Speaker Thomas P. O’Neill, who said he had no business retracing the path taken by Truman 36 years ago. In addition to five scheduled stops, the presidential train slowed from time to time so Reagan could wave to crowds waiting along the tracks. Darkness had fallen by the time Reagan’s 13-car train reached its last stop in Perrysburg, on the outskirts of Toledo. It was Reagan’s largest turnout of the day as several thousand people stood in the dark, waving flashlights and cheering ‘’four more years’’ as the President arrived. When Reagan concluded his remarks a display of fireworks was set off, in the same fashion that capped Truman’s train journey of 36 years ago. Reagan became increasingly pointed in his criticism of Mondale, departing from what had been his general practice of referring only to a ‘’Democratic opponent.’’ ‘’That was no fresh-faced, well fed baby they left on our doorstep in january of 1981,’’ he said of the Carter Mondale administration. ‘’It was a snarling economic wolf with sharp teeth.’’ *** ‘’through the concerted mismanagement of an administration of which Mr. Mondale was a part and his liberal friends who controlled the Congress.’’*** The scene, with only the names and faces changed, was reminiscent of earlier presidential whistle-stops – before the jet age led candidates to mostly aerial views of the countryside. *** At the Dayton rally, Reagan noted that former presidents Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Dwight D. Eisenhower also used the Pullman armoured observation car. ***Reagan lashed out against Mondale’s proposal to raise taxes to curb federal budget deficits’’ *** He made use of a famous Roosevelt quotation at one point, saying that Roosevelt once warned ‘’the only thing we had to fear was fear itself. Well, sadly and tragically, I think the only thing my opponent has to offer is fear itself.’’
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