When the extremist position you espouse is only held by 17% of Americans, perhaps it’s not such a good idea to call for a nationwide protest composed of 50 different events supposedly showcasing how strong your movement is.
Americans for Legal Immigration (ALIPAC), a stridently anti-immigrant group, called for a national day of protest against President Obama and his policies in all 50 state capitals. As their press release announced:
Americans who oppose the destructive policies of Barack Obama will converge on all 50 state capitals this coming weekend, Saturday, February 16, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. In each respective time zone, unprecedented picket style, friendly flash mob style protests will be conducted on public sidewalks outside of state capitol buildings.
Though ALIPAC is primarily an anti-immigrant group, the protest itself promised to stand against a number of Obama-related “issues.” Continuing from the ALIPAC press release:
A few of the issues protesters will address are Obama’s unconstitutional Amnesty for illegal aliens decree, support for Amnesty legislation, support for the NDAA, efforts to curtail gun rights, out of control spending and debt, Obamacare, the Fast and Furious Scandal, Benghazi Gate, and much more!
The planned protest appeared to run into trouble from the start, with ALIPAC president William Gheen at one point accusing Facebook of censoring ads for the event. Still, ALIPAC announced last week that more than 20,000 people were signed up to attend the national day of protest in one capital or another.
Except when Saturday rolled around, the supposedly fearsome national day of protest turned out to be a dud. Twenty-two people showed up in Colorado. Twenty-eight showed up in California. Five turned out in North Carolina. According to the event’s Facebook page, one showed up in Montana, one in Washington, two in Oklahoma, “a few” in Minnesota, six in Louisiana, and four in Georgia. As for the rest of the states, we might never know. If an extremist group calls for a protest and no one shows up or ever talks about it again, did it really happen?
It’s like what Georgia Sen. Johnny Isakson said about the anti-immigrant fervor this year, as compared to other years. In a political climate where a clear majority of Americans support immigration reform with a path to citizenship, immigration reform supporters and opponents alike are realizing just how marginalized anti-immigrant extremists are—and how little they have to offer. As Isakson said to Reporter Newspapers:
Five years ago, all hell broke loose. This year, I thought phones would ring off the hook again. They really haven’t. I think everybody realizes we have a problem.
Ultimately, ALIPAC blamed the weather for low turnout. As Gheen wrote on Facebook:
Big thanks to everyone that supported our National Protests Against Obama today. The turnout has varied from state to state and in a few locations people did not muster. But we did have a showing in most states and all you have our thanks! Here in Raleigh NC those of us that were out protesting Obama did so in the snow with about 33 degree temperatures. It has been a great pleasure to stand and to walk with Americans that are willing to do more than rant on their computers. We hope that our efforts have helped more Americans to learn about many of the things Obama is doing wrong in our country and we give thanks to all that contributed to proper discourse and American freedoms of expression despite the many aggressive, over the top, bullying effort from some very low Obama supporters.
For ALIPAC, their failed rally could be the least of their problems. The organization has been cash-strapped in recent years, and published a bulletin yesterday announcing that it was going into “emergency mode” in order to keep the group solvent and operational. Staff and volunteers will be focusing on fundraising rather than activism, as “ALIPAC does not have the funds to even meet our obligations for February.”
View our slideshow of ALIPAC’s National Day of Protest around the nation. This is what losing looks like: