Inauguration Deflation: Trump’s Crowd Will Be Much Smaller Than Obama’s

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Not only is reality TV star Donald Trump set to begin his term as the least-popular president in American history, this week has seen his inauguration planning collapse like a torn hot air balloon.

Despite raising the $75 million that he wanted to spend on lavish festivities, the Trump team has failed to find a single A-lister willing to perform, and a quiet boycott in the entertainment world has seemingly eliminated the B-list as well as the C-list.

Donald may also be disappointed by his inaugural attendance. According to McClatchy DC, the Washington-area hospitality industry is not expecting a record-setting crowd to show up on January 20th. They estimate about 800,000 people — still a huge audience, but less than half the 1.8 million people who turned out for Barack Obama in 2009.

Adding the expected 200,000 protesters, roughly a million people should be in DC to stimulate the local economy.

“The enthusiasm for Trump is far less, just because this was such a nasty political season, but this is a shot in the arm,” said Stephen Fuller, the economist who conducted the study. “And it’s particularly important in January, which has the lowest occupancy rates for hotels. People aren’t going out to eat as much, and the weather’s miserable.”

[…] Trying to estimate a crowd count, particularly in advance, is a big guessing game. Planners rely on past attendance records and data from various sources, including hotel and restaurant reservations and the number of expected chartered buses.

None of the local high school marching bands has applied for the parade, and while there are always plenty of applicants nationwide, McClatchy says that the Presidential Inaugural Committee is keeping mum about the total number of applications they have received.

To be sure, Donald Trump has millions of very enthusiastic supporters, yet relatively few of them are wealthy enough to travel to DC and stay overnight. And at this point, there may be a runaway effect from diminishing expectations: as the playbill diminishes, the expected crowd shrinks, which deters celebrities, which suppresses attendance, etc.

Perhaps the new president can pull himself out of this spiral. Perhaps there will be an unexpected surge of inauguration visitors. But right now, it seems likely that Trump will be disappointed in his hopes for an “all time record.” At this rate, he will be lucky to equal attendance for Obama’s second inaugural in 2013.

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