Even though the election was a year and half out, former United States Marine Patty Siegmann thought her commander-in-chief deserved her support. In March, the Republican started a pro-Trump street rally. Every other Friday from 4 to 6 pm, Siegmann and about 30 to 60 of her friends stand on the corner of Highway 76 and College Boulevard and wave pro-Trump signs. They call it Rally For America.
“Nine out of ten are happy to see us,” says Siegmann who says the happy honkers far outnumber the middle finger salutes. “We’re out there with our American flags and it motivates people to yell and scream. People come up to us and tell ‘God bless you for doing this.’ It gives people hope again.”
It doesn’t matter that Patty and her husband Duane (also an ex-Marine) live in deep-blue California. “Marines don’t have to be on active duty to stand by President Trump,” she explains “We’re Marines. We fight for what we believe no matter what state we live in. We believe America is exceptional and we will stand by President Trump.”
Siegmann, who lives in Oceanside, does not coordinate the messages behind each sign. Whoever shows up with a sign gets to be part of the rally. Some Republican hopefuls with little name recognition have used the rally as a chance to get exposure for themselves. “If people want to rally for their candidate, I’m not here to tell people what to do. But our prime motivation is that we really love the president. He is a man who speaks for the people. We know there is a socialist and even a Communist group trying to inspire and take control of the Democratic party.”
As long as they don’t block the sidewalk, Siegmann says the Oceanside Police have no issue with their signs and life-size Trump cut-outs. She says the only real problem came over a pro-life protestor.
“There was one sign that said ‘Unborn lives matter,’” says Siegmann. “Unfortunately, a lady got out of her car, ran over, and stole the sign. We tried our best to get it back, but she wouldn’t give it back and drove off. We just called the police and carried on.”
The next rally is August 9. Siegmann, who is president of the Oceanside chapter of the Republican Women, says her connections will help her stage a countywide rally August 23.
“We have announced to all the Republican clubs that we are holding a countywide pro-President Trump rally on August 23. We are going to have sign wavers on overpasses over all the major freeways, 5, 805, 163. As long as we don’t dangle any signs over the fence or affix any signs to the railing, the CHP told us it is completely legal.”
Debbie Lenson was at the last rally July 26. She and her husband Bob founded northcountyconservatives.org and they hold monthly meetings in Escondido.
“This is open to the public,” says Lenson. “But we really don’t want anyone who is going to rally against Trump. This whole thing started because he seems to be getting picked on by the media who like to use all these twists and turns on him like he’s a racist or a Nazi or an anti-Semite. I mean come on. How can he be an anti-Semite if his daughter and grandkids are Orthodox Jews?”
What’s to keep local Dems from launching their own anti-Trump rally at the same intersection on, for instance, the other Fridays? “I don’t think they have the fortitude to do it,” says Lenson. Besides, they don’t have to. They have MSNBC and CNN and all the other media.”
Both Lenson and Siegmann said there are plenty of Trump supporters and Republicans in San Diego County and they are happy to help draw them out. But what about the fact that Escondido and Carlsbad city councils both “flipped” from Republican to Democratic majorities last year?
“That’s because of ballot harvesting,” explains Lenson. “The Democrats have a game plan. They show up at retirement centers and mobile home parks and take advantage of little old women and men who just enjoy having someone visit them. They get their trust and then take their ballots and fill it out for them...The new city council in Escondido is anti-growth and anti-business.”
I spoke to Lenson and Siegmann by phone the day that Carl DeMaio announced he was giving up his afternoon talk show on KOGO (AM 600) to run for the congressional seat currently held by Duncan Hunter.
It doesn’t look good for Hunter.
“I would like to see Duncan bow out,” says Lenson “There are too many black eyes. There is too much garbage. I can tell you there are staunch Duncan Hunter supporters out there who now don’t want to support him.”
Even though Siegmann says her husband served with Hunter in Afghanistan, she would not commit to supporting his re-election. “I like them both,” she said about Hunter and DeMaio. “I prefer to not say any more than that.”
DeMaio walks away from an afternoon KOGO talk show that had so-so ratings. According to Nielsen Media Research, the ratings for his 3-to-6 pm show during the months of April/May/June showed his show posted an anemic 14th place among listeners in the most sought after 25-54 age range.
But the good news for DeMaio is that he was number one among all listeners 55 and over during that three-month period. That’s the age group that traditionally has the highest percentage of voter turn-out.
Siegmann is president of the Tri-City Tea Party, serving Oceanside, Carlsbad, and Vista. I noted that the Tea Party movement seems to have run out of steam compared to the early 2010s when there were Tea Party parades and the movement seemed to have more media exposure. Last year the Ramona Tea Party changed its name to the Liberty Forum.
“I think each Tea Party group depends on its leader,” says Siegmann. “I guess the leader of Ramona just wanted a name that sounded more inclusive. We all still stand for less government and more fiscal accountability.”
The Siegmanns maintain a Facebook page called 49thdistrictforpresidentdonaldjtrump.