My Experience As A Mexican North Student At The Trump Rally


Junior, Cassandra Contreras-Franco outside the Trump rally at Drake University Jan. 30. Contreras-Franco went out of curiosity and ultimately felt nervous.

Cassandra Contreras-Franco, Reporter

Note: This is an opinion narrative.

When I tell people I went to the “Trump Rally” here in Des Moines they usually look at me like I’m crazy, but it was a crazy experience. It all started when my friend sent me a link to the rally website to reserve tickets and I felt the need to go. I’ve always had a passion for politics and I wanted to inform myself about what the president had to say. Once I reserved the tickets I suddenly became fearful of what might happen because I am Mexican and Trump has said some offensive, stereotypical things about them. He also has a group of passionate supporters that I believe no other president has had. Many scenarios ran through my mind about confrontations that might happen. “What if someone starts a fight?” “What if someone interviews me and I don’t know what I’m talking about?”  “What if someone calls me a racial slur?” All these things were in the back of my mind and I didn’t know how it was going to go down. Luckily, I wasn’t going alone and I thought it would be a new experience for me.  

When January 30 came around I almost wanted to back out of going because I had seen the people that were already lined up and it was scary. It almost looked “cult-ish” and I had also done some research and saw the many fights that happen at these Trump rallies. I decided to go anyway and I had decided that I was going to go with an open-mind and a positive attitude so that I wouldn’t affect my point of view of the rally.  

When we arrived, the first thing we saw was a protester fighting with a Trump supporter and I was taken aback by that. I was in shock that it hadn’t even started and there were already arguments going on. After walking some more there were so many people selling Trump hats, shirts, and pins and so many people were buying them; it was insane. When we were heading to the line, I was afraid to speak Spanish to my friend even though that’s how we normally talk, I did not feel safe there at all. I felt alert every second being there, and when we accidentally spoke Spanish out of habit we were given dirty looks by the supporters.  

It was heartbreaking because it felt like a barrier was there and always going to be there. Meanwhile all of this was happening I was posting things on my social media and to the people that didn’t know me that well were texting me asking me why I was there or if I was being serious. I thought it was funny that I only received negative feedback for going and not a single positive. You could also hear the anti-Trump rally just across the street and I’ve never seen such disunity as that day. It was definitely a weird thing and I’ve never seen anything like that before.  

The anti-Trump protesters across the street from the Knapp Center on the Drake University campus during the Trump rally on Jan. 30.

Once Trump came out everyone started chanting “4 more years”! It was actually terrifying how many people were screaming this at the protesters and out into the air. As soon as he came out he immediately started to say bad things about the other democratic candidate’s like Pete Buttigieg, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren. Everyone in the crowd was cheering for his negative words and it was an uncomfortable feeling to be a part of it. It was too much for me so I decided to go to the protesters side to see what it was like over there. I immediately felt a difference, the diversity in the crowd and the way we were welcomed felt like I could finally breathe.  

Overall, this experience was an interesting one and will be something I’ll never forget. I did learn a lot and it taught me the importance of going out and educating yourself.