Rally-er Jimmy Higgins counted 16,200 — not 35,000, 40,000 or even 50,000 at yesterday’s climate protest!
So I did what I tend to do at most demonstrations I attend, and have done for many years. I counted the house.
Obviously this is easier at a demo of a few hundred or even a few thousand, but the organizers made it fairly easy. With a lot of marshals at hand, the rally finally poured onto Constitution and headed west in an orderly way to start the long trek around the White House and back to the monument. I mounted the back of a bench just ahead of the front of the march giving me a slightly elevated view of the crowded avenue as the protesters arrived and passed by.
(A brief note on methodology: for a march of up to a thousand or so, I count by fives, making a line on a piece of paper every hundred and the traditional cross slash to mark 500. Five is an easy number for the eye to group. For a march of this size and density, I count by 20s, which obviously leaves room for a wider margin of error. As I hit 100, I pick out a couple obvious signs or protesters to serve as place holders, so I can look down and make my little slash, and pick up right where I left off. Even when people ask me, I don’t try to total up the count to that point. I save that to the end.)
When the last marchers had passed by, I looked back at the rally site and found that it had been completely emptied by the march. Then I added up my numbers.
Okay, that’s rough, I freely admit. Let’s say I was off by 25%. That still means I am going to call bullshit on any figure under 12,000 or over 20,000. And by the time I got home from Washington, late evening, Facebook friends and Left websites were proclaiming “more than 50,000.”