On Jan. 20, 2009, President Barack Obama’s presidential inauguration had a record-breaking turnout. 1.8 million people were estimated to gather at the National Mall eight years ago to watch Obama take his oath of office.
President-elect Donald Trump will be lucky to gather half of that turnout as inaugural planners estimate that Trump’s inauguration will have about 900,000 attendees, protesters included. At an event last night, Trump thought otherwise, however.
“So many people are talking about what’s going on and now they’ve just announced we’re going to have record crowds coming,” Trump said.
Based on current estimates, however, Trump will not be breaking any records in inaugural turnout; he will not even break close numbers. Besides Obama, President Lyndon B. Johnson’s inauguration is thought to be the second most attended with an estimated crowd size of 1.2 million in 1965.
Although Trump’s estimated inaugural attendees may not be coming at significantly low number — with Bill Clinton’s at 800,000 and George W. Bush at 300,000 at their first inaugurations — the comparison between Trump and Obama’s inaugurations will be noticeable, certainly serving as a comparison between the nation’s overall popular opinions and approval ratings of the two.
Looking at ratings, numbers for approval of Trump are almost half as much as Obama as of this month. A Gallup poll found that 40 percent find Trump favorable, while eight years ago 78 percent found Obama favorable. There is a greater gap in the percentage of how unfavorable each of the two are and were as well; Trump stands at 55 percent while Obama stood at 18 percent in this category. In fact, out of all recent presidents since Clinton, Trump is the only one who has a higher percentage of unfavorable ratings than favorable.
These statistics are very tangible; estimates of up to tens of thousands of protesters will be at the inauguration, and the Washington Post reports that nearly 60 Democratic lawmakers are boycotting by choosing not to attend. This includes civil rights activist and Georgia Congressman John Lewis, who recently cited that Trump is an illegitimate president.
The rejection of the president-elect’s inauguration doesn’t stop on Jan. 20, however. On Saturday, the day after the inauguration, there will be the Women’s March on Washington. D.C. officials report that the 1,200 bus permits issued for the protest are triple the 393 for the inauguration. The March’s Facebook event shows that 208,000 people intend on marching in Washington — that’s about a fourth of the expected crowd turnout for Trump’s inauguration the day before.
The March’s movement is not limited to D.C. Over 300 sister marches are going to take place in the U.S., from Los Angeles to New York City. In addition, 30 different countries are also holding support marches as well.
Compared to Obama’s entrance into his presidency, Trump is definitely going to be facing difficulty in gaining respect and approval from Americans and other people globally. The New York Times reported after Obama was inaugurated that the number of protesters at Obama’s inauguration were “few and scattered.”
Although estimated numbers and statistics can only predict so much, the evidence of negative sentiment that the nation is expressing — from governmental leaders to the common people — perfectly illustrates how Trump will need to readjust himself and his approach towards his incoming position if he wants any baseline respect from Americans.