Herman Cain Rally at the Capitol Fails Spectacularly

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
April 16 2012 1:30 PM

Herman Cain Rally at the Capitol Fails Spectacularly

Signing up for Herman Cain's "Revolution on the Hill" was easy. There were ads at the top of plenty of conservative news sites. The registration for three events -- a Sunday reception, Monday morning seminar, and Monday afternoon rally -- was free, and included a boxed lunch. Cainiacs had a full hour to get between the Virginia hotel where the seminar would be held and the Capitol lawn where they'd listen to speeches and music. Six free buses were available to move them.

Despite all that, this was the scene after the rally started.

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Only 283 people signed up for the indoor seminars, and only 620 signed up for the rally. By my count, less than half of the first number honored their Eventbrite pledges; only a little more than one-third of the rally-goers actually showed up.

The failure had repurcussions. Tea Party of America members, promoting an upcoming documentary based on Dinesh D'Souza's book about Barack Obama, had hundreds of leftover promotional flyers. "I was told to expect thousands of people," grumbled Judd Saul, one of the volunteers. The Media Research Center has been handing out I DON'T BELIEVE THE LIBERAL MEDIA signs at conservative events across America. They had so many leftover signs that many wound up in the hands of a nearby tour group, perfect for bored young tourists to use as fans while they waited for their buses.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter.