If there's one thing that's certain about the Jon Stewart rally it's that the attendance has been grossly under-counted.
This is not just sour grapes or an effort to re-write history. All anyone has to do is to look at a map.
Let's start with the 1963 March on Washington, the most iconic public demonstration of modern times. Dr. Martin Luther King spoke from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and the crowd extended along the Reflecting Pool and beyond. The usual estimate is that 200,000 to 300,000 people attended the King rally.
This summer Glenn Beck held his rally, also speaking from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. By one estimate 87,000 people attended the Beck rally, but photos plainly show that his supporters -- like King's-- largely filled the banks of the Reflecting Pool, meaning that his rally was of similar size.
The rally led by Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert was plainly larger than the Beck event. Vastly larger.
To understand why it's important to explain that Stewart and Colbert did not speak from the Lincoln Memorial. They instead spoke from the other end of the Mall at 3rd Street, NW with Capitol Hill behind them. Their attendees filled the Mall between 3rd Street, NW and 7th Street, NW -- and beyond.
You can fit vastly-more people into the Capitol end of the Mall because it's simply bigger than the grassy areas in front of the Lincoln Memorial. The area between Jefferson Drive, NW and Madison Drive NW is significantly wider than the demonstration space along the Reflecting Pool. You can see for yourself by looking at an enlarged view of the Mall area.
No less important, there's no Reflecting Pool in the Mall area where Stewart and Colbert spoke -- and the Reflecting Pool measures roughly 2,000 feet long and 165 feet wide. That's a huge space that was entirely unoccupied at the Beck event.
Lastly, the Stewart and Colbert rally was not restricted to the Mall. It spilled over for blocks onto the nearby streets. Seventh Avenue, NW, as one example, was jammed up to E Street, NW -- that's three lengthy Washington blocks from the Mall. Constitution Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue were both filled with people.
I've been in Washington since 1964 and seen lots of demonstrations. Stewart and Colbert turned out huge numbers of people for their rally. How many? At least twice the number at the Beck event, say 500,000 people, a reality that will no doubt be confirmed -- after the election.
Peter G. Miller hosts OurBroker.com, an independent source of real estate, mortgage and foreclosure news and information.