Glenn Beck and the politics of crowd size

This past Saturday was my 26th birthday, and also marked the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech. Conservative commentator Glenn Beck probably chose that date for his “Restoring Honor” rally because of the latter exciting historical moment that August 28th marked.

Beck’s rally inspired no shortage of controversy, including a counter-protest by modern civil rights leaders. One of the controversies deals with how many people attended. Political organizers have long used rally crowd sizes as measures of support for a cause, and fighting over crowd sizes has gotten so bad that the United States Park Police no longer provide official estimates on how many people attend.

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