News for North Texas
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Trump Doing Double Duty In Dallas Visit

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks at a September rally at American Airlines Center in Dallas.

Democrats are flocking to San Antonio to kick off the state party convention today. In Dallas, Donald Trump supporters – and protestors – will rally at 7 o’clock tonight at Gilley’s in the Cedars area just south of Downtown. Before that, Trump will hit up GOP donors for campaign cash.

Texas has a long history as a piggy bank for political candidates – both Democrats and Republicans. TCU political scientist Jim Riddlesperger says that’s because so few races in Texas are competitive.

“National Republicans come to Texas, national Democrats come to Texas, because they know that the money bags in Texas are going to be more interested in the outcomes of national campaigns than in local races that are already predetermined,” Riddlesperger says.

Donald Trump is working to get the Republican donor class to open their wallets. But Riddlesperger says that’s tough after Trump has alienated the establishment.

“There’s some question as to whether they’re going to back the national candidate or instead invest their resources in keeping the Senate and keeping the House which may be vulnerable if Trump doesn’t pick up momentum,” Riddlesperger says.

Riddlesperger says Trump is at a critical juncture, and he’ll need an infusion of cash to build the kind of national organization that can rival Hillary Clinton’s.

“The problem that Donald Trump has is that he hasn’t done any of the investment of time or resources in building any kind of a national grassroots campaign, and at this late date, he faces real challenges in getting that done,” Riddlesperger says.

Protests are planned outside Trump’s fundraiser – and the rally that follows. The Trump campaign struggled to find a venue for tonight’s event. Both Irving and Grand Prairie turned him down.

After violence at Trump rallies in other cities, the Dallas Police Department practiced riot response yesterday.

Videos posted on Twitter by WFAA show officers in riot gear and plumbs of tear gas.

One rally organizer, Domingo Garcia, says those protesting Trump will stay peaceful.

“He’s probably the most hated man in America right now, but he has the right to say his hate, and his haters have the right to support their hater in chief,” Garcia says.

Garcia says his organization has rented busses to get protesters to the rally. They’ve been told to wear white and carry only American flags.

Christopher Connelly is a reporter covering issues related to financial instability and poverty for KERA’s One Crisis Away series. In 2015, he joined KERA to report on Fort Worth and Tarrant County. From Fort Worth, he also focused on politics and criminal justice stories.