If you thought there was something weird with the audience last night at the GOP debate, you weren’t alone. In fact, a lot of people tweeted about it:
My ears still hurt from the screeches from the debate stage and the whining boos of the donors in the audience. #GOPDebate
— Lou Dobbs (@LouDobbs) February 14, 2016
For the first time ever, a #GOPDebate audience booed more than they cheered.
This isn't just insane, this is suicidal. This is pathetic.
— Frank Luntz (@FrankLuntz) February 14, 2016
The audience is a hockey match, the stage is a boxing match with gloves off #GOPDebate
— Katie Pavlich (@KatiePavlich) February 14, 2016
I wish all the lobbyists in the audience would stop booing so the candidates could talk. #GOPDebate
— Clayton Morris (@ClaytonMorris) February 14, 2016
This audience is stuffed with Bush and Rubio supporters. #GOPDebate
— toddstarnes (@toddstarnes) February 14, 2016
Trump whined about it during the debate:
On the other hand, he whines about everything.
However, in this case, he was at least partly right. They may not all have been donors, but they were definitely establishment supporters:
GOP leaders said the Peace Center wasn’t large enough, so the South Carolina Republican Party decided not to go with a lottery system.
“If we had not had it at the Peace Center we probably would have had more people come, but the Peace Center is the venue that CBS chose,” said Chad Groover, chairman of the Greenville County Republican party.
Groover said supporters who work hard for the party will be rewarded tickets.
People selected will fill the 1,900 seats that have been made available for the event, according to Groover.
Groover said the Republican National Committee gives a lot of tickets to supporters. He said more are then allocated for the state party to distribute among the county chairs.
“I didn’t have hundreds of tickets. I had a couple of dozen tickets,” said Groover.
Groover said he gave tickets to supporters, including elected officials, who work hard for the party.
“You’ll have a good mix of people who are donors, people who are donors and workers, and people who are just workers,” said Groover.
I’m not sure about that. They were definitely NOT representative of anything we’ve seen in the polls. The vast majority booed Trump, and very few comparatively cheered for Cruz even though they’re both at the top of the polling.
I wonder is this effective? It might work on low-info voters tuning in who may walk away thinking, “wow maybe Trump isn’t as popular as I thought!” but I imagine that it was so obviously biased that some might be even more animated against the establishment.