Trump’s Bronx Rally Sparked Voter Registration Amid Rap Music
Trump’s Bronx Rally Sparked Voter Registration Amid Rap Music

By Janice Hisle

This week’s South Bronx campaign stop for former President Donald Trump stands out among his dozens of rallies this election cycle. Besides attracting many nonwhites in a longtime Democrat stronghold, the May 23 rally included an unusual voter registration push.

As conservative-themed rap music thumped from a portable speaker at Crotona Park, the Christian music artist known as DVS 7.0 was signing up new voters.

He and volunteers from the New York Young Republican Club hope these fresh registrants will turn out on Election Day, Nov. 5, and boost the tally for President Trump, the Republican challenger of Democrat President Joe Biden.

“The energy was fantastic … really high-vibed,” the rapper told The Epoch Times. “I think this was a very important speech. I think he connected really well with the people of the Bronx.”

President Trump discussed issues that matter to New Yorkers, the musician said, such as inflation and crime.

Although supporters of President Trump celebrated the voter registration efforts and said they were impressed to see thousands of people turned out, skeptics doubt President Trump can “flip” the state from Democrat blue to Republican red.

That would be a feat in a state that last voted for a Republican presidential candidate in 1984.

Still, the Christian rapper and others see reason for optimism, pointing to residents’ growing discontent with President Biden’s performance in office. In contrast, they said they sensed a wave of enthusiasm building for President Trump and his message at the Bronx rally.

Voter Registration on Wheels

The name of the voter-registering rapper, DVS 7.0 stands for “Driven Via Spirit,” plus the Biblical number for completion, seven. His first name is Shawn, but he declined to give his last name.

Rapper DVS 7.0 said he has spoken to new Trump supporters who formerly voted for President Biden or former presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who was born in New York.

The rapper, who is of Hispanic heritage and lives in Queens, said he and others registered dozens of new voters during a party-like atmosphere in advance of President Trump’s evening speech.

The musician was acting upon voter registration pointers from Scott Presler, founder of Early Vote Action, a national grassroots effort to elect Republicans through increased voter registrations, early voting, and mail-in voting.

DVS 7.0 brought his “Freedom Chariot” to the rally, a vehicle he uses to spread patriotic messages with a portable stage, sound system, and event gear. He recently took the vehicle to a barbershop in Queens and registered voters there.

At the rally, the New York Young Republican Club spearheaded most of the voter-registration efforts. The Epoch Times was unable to obtain a final tally.

Even if the result was modest, “I think it can make a massive difference,” Jason Meister, a New York-based Trump advisory board member, told The Epoch Times. “What is happening is contagious and it’s gonna spread like wildfire in these communities.”

‘Lyrical News’

Rally-goers danced and sang along with DVS 7.0’s lyrics such as: “We’re goin’ out to vote with our sisters and brothers,” “Trump-Russia-Putin, fabricated illusion,” and “We need a boss, not a crooked politician this year.”

Those words, contained in songs entitled, “On ‘Til November,” and “Skatin’,” appeal to audiences in their 20s and beyond, the rapper said. That’s because people are tired of empty pop lyrics and club music, the rapper said. “They want to hear stuff that matters,” DVS 7.0 said. “My music is intended to be informative and kind of like ‘lyrical news.’”

He and similar artists say they reach people who might not otherwise pay attention to politics. Their music even resonates with some “older people who say they don’t like rap,” the musician said.

Patriotic rapper Forgiato Blow filmed a music video, “I Stand With Trump,” during the Bronx rally, decrying the prosecutions of President Trump. “United we stand, divided we fall. Indict our president, you better indict us all,” the lyrics declare.

The former president denies wrongdoing in all four criminal indictments he faces, including a business records falsification case that could go to a jury soon in Manhattan.

Many of President Trump’s fans say the prosecutions are only increasing support for him. But polls suggest that, if he is convicted of a felony, a good chunk of voters might abandon him.

Meanwhile, voter surveys show an increasing number of young, Hispanic, and black voters shifting toward President Trump.

Some experts say the battle over minority voters could help decide the election, which is predicted to be a close one.

Rapper Forgiato Blow attends Republican presidential candidate former President Donald J. Trump’s Super Tuesday remarks at Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Fla., on March 5, 2024. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)

When the Chips Are Down

Although President Trump has been leading President Biden in polls of battleground states, President Biden has been outdistancing the former president by at least 9 percent in recent polls in New York.

New York’s voter registrations are lopsided in favor of Democrats. Statewide, Democrats outnumber Republicans 2-to-1. In Bronx County, there are only about 43,000 registered Republicans—less than one-tenth the Democrat total of about 507,000, according to the New York State Board of Elections.

That’s why Democrats scoffed online at the significance of President Trump’s audience in the Bronx. Crowd estimates ranged from 7,000 to more than 20,000. Even in a best-case-scenario, the rally attendance doesn’t begin to dent the voter-registration deficit in a state that has 13 million voters, Democrats trumpeted online.

But Mr. Meister, the Trump adviser, said there’s something more important than the crowd’s size: “The uplifting and empowering message Donald Trump delivered to the crowd.”

“Trump wants to make America a place that is great for all Americans regardless of race, religion, or ethnicity. He understands we’re not a nation of victims. We’re a nation that claws its way back when the chips are down,” Mr. Meister said. “Each and every one of us has a deep-seated belief in American exceptionalism and it’s that deep-seated belief that binds us together.”

Jason Meister, a New York Trump advisory board member, met David Crowell, a fellow supporter of former President Donald Trump, at a rally in Crotona Park, South Bronx, New York, on May 23, 2024. (Courtesy of Jason Meister)

Mr. Meister said it was uplifting for him to be part of the Bronx rally where “people of so many different races, religions, ethnicities, and upbringings came together in solidarity for the love of this country.”

Mr. Meister, who is white, described spontaneously embracing a fellow rallygoer, David Crowell, a black man who was born and raised in the South Bronx.

Despite their disparities, they stood united.

“We are Americans first and foremost,” he said. “This was felt with immense emotion throughout the rally where complete strangers from completely different backgrounds found themselves chanting ‘USA, USA, USA!’”

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