Mike Pence, the Vice President-elect, told his daughter something special at a recent production of the hit musical Hamilton. Breaking the treasured illusion of theater after the performance, the cast of Hamilton admonished Pence from the stage. This brought a collection of boos and catcalls from the audience meant to disparage Pence. It was at this point Pence turned to his daughter and said, “That is what freedom sounds like.” It was an impressive display of tact by Pence in the face of a rather petulant display.
Since the event, Broadway has clamored for attention again in politics. In January, the defeated Hillary Clinton attended the final Broadway performance of The Color Purple. Clinton was deferentially acknowledge by the cast with a collection of flattering comments, and people routinely interrupted the evening to provide Clinton with standing ovations. It was a radical change from the way Broadway treated Pence.
It’s interesting to note the comparisons between the experiences of Pence and Clinton on Broadway. Indisputably, Broadway is liberal territory. It’s not a surprise the people who work there and many of the patrons of Broadway support Clinton. However, while Pence and other conservatives take the time to visit liberal territory to catch a show at the risk of being harassed, liberals rarely take the chance to show up at an event where they could be exposed to a similar experience. For example, if Hillary Clinton showed up at a gun show, she would undoubtedly be booed. This is one reason why she doesn’t go to those events. However, a conservative like Pence is willing to visit places where he can be challenged.
Many experts concluded Democrats lost the election because they were unwilling to connect with Americans who disagreed with them. Perhaps these two Broadway experiences provide evidence for that.