I know about the register-for-Free-on-the-net thing for Trump rallies. I did it myself in 2016, twice.
But not as a trick. I actually went to those rallies, in Fayetteville NC, one before and one after the election. I’m the wrong generation for such tech maneuvers
For the first one, I printed out the ticket, and had it ready in my pocket. But nobody at the gate asked for it; the second time, I didn’t bother.
I was about as far from being a Trumper as one could get. But I went to see if what the media was going nuts about was really happening. Intelligence gathering.
As we now know, way too well, it was real enough. Or maybe really surreal.
And I suspect that what the New York Times reported today, about the Tik-Tok “attack” on Trump’s Tulsa rally was real too:
Mary Jo Laupp, a 51-year-old from Fort Dodge, Iowa, said she had been watching black TikTok users express their frustration about Mr. Trump hosting his rally on Juneteenth. (The rally was later moved to June 20.) She “vented” her own anger in a late-night TikTok video on June 11 — and provided a call to action.
“I recommend all of those of us that want to see this 19,000-seat auditorium barely filled or completely empty go reserve tickets now, and leave him standing there alone on the stage,” Ms. Laupp said in the video.
When she checked her phone the next morning, Ms. Laupp said, the video was starting to go viral. It has more than 700,000 likes, she added, and more than two million views.
She said she believed that at least 17,000 tickets were accounted for based on comments she received on her TikTok videos, but added that people reaching out to her said tens of thousands more had been reserved.
Ms. Laupp said she was “overwhelmed” and “stunned” by the possibility that she and the effort she helped inspire might have contributed to the low rally attendance.
“There are teenagers in this country who participated in this little no-show protest, who believe that they can have an impact in their country in the political system even though they’re not old enough to vote right now,” she said.
The effort to deprive Mr. Trump of a large crowd spread from Twitter and TikTok across multiple social media platforms, including Instagram and Snapchat.
I’m also quite familiar with the follow-on to this kind of registration: data-mining. . . .
“We all know the Trump campaign feeds on data, they are constantly mining these rallies for data,” said Ms. Laupp, who worked on several rallies for Pete Buttigieg’s campaign for president. . . .
She added that several people who took part in her campaign complained that once they signed up for the rally with their real phone numbers, they couldn’t get the Trump campaign to stop texting them and sending them messages.
Mary Garcia, a 19-year-old student from California, said that she used a Google Voice number to sign up for the rally, but that two of her friends who also signed up used their real numbers and had been inundated with texts from the Trump campaign.
I’ve been getting three or four texts daily from the Trump campaign ever since. More intelligence-gathering.
They’re annoying, often offensive, and most I reflexively delete. But they’ve kept me current.
And a few are so bad they’re good, or at least hilarious. Here are three of my current favorites. Their awfulness is truly, er, memorable. And surreal:
Here’s the cover:
I was also sorely tempted to get this one:
But the price was too high. (Did I mention that every text wants a donation? My middle class upbringing finds this forever rude and crude. But clearly it works. All the other major campaigns this year — or at least all the “progressive” ones I’ve been interested in–have followed Trump’s example.)
The Times concluded:
Whether or not the prank to call in false tickets was the reason for the empty upper rafters at Trump’s rally, teenagers online celebrated. On Twitter, several accounts tweeted, “best senior prank ever.”
To which I would add: you live by manipulating the media, Dude, the media will finally catch up with you. And maybe it’s finally starting.