Never over-promise and under-deliver.
That’s an old lesson that Brad Parscale, Donald Trump’s campaign manager, never seemed to learn.
After boasting last week that the campaign had over one million ticket reservations for Trump’s triumphal return to the campaign trail in Tulsa, Oklahoma, only a mere 6,200 people showed up, nowhere near the event center’s 19,000 capacity. A much-hyped overflow stage, set up for the blocks of Trump supporters expected to be outside, was shut down and never used.
The entire sections of empty seats in the BOK Center would have been embarrassing regardless, but what made it so much worse is that the Trump campaign set expectations sky-high with their initial estimates.
As many people found out last night, this wasn’t just the case of over-enthusiastic Trump supporters signing up with no intention to go or who got cold feet. It was — in part at least — a quiet, under-the-radar coordinated effort by anti-Trump young people to sign up for tickets they never intended to use, inflating the campaign’s sense of what was coming.
It worked like a charm. Despite Parscale being a so-called social media maven, no one from the Trump campaign apparently realized how teens were spreading the idea on TikTok. Parscale still bragged that they collected tons of information from the reservations, but what good is phone numbers of people who hate you?
But while the bulk of the fake reservations were made by teens and K-Pop stans, who have become increasing engaged in U.S. politics lately, the initial idea appears to have originated with a woman from Fort Dodge, Iowa.
A video posted on TikTok by Mary Jo Laupp, a 51-year-old grandmother from Fort Dodge, on June 11 quickly went viral after she suggested booking the free tickets to “make sure there are empty seats.”
Did you know you can make sure there are empty seats at Trump’s rally? BLM.
“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 alone there on the stage,” Laupp urged her followers.
The video has since been seen millions of times, and appears to have kicked off the effort to trick Trump’s campaign into a costly error.
Laupp also used some lessons from her time volunteering for Pete Buttigieg’s campaign during the Iowa Caucus to help persuade people to sign up for tickets. Giving your information to the Republican campaign might have dissuaded some from taking part, but Laupp dispelled those fears in the initial video.
“It probably means that I’ll start getting text messages from his campaign,” Laupp said of getting tickets online, “all I have to do to get rid of those is text ‘stop.'”
by Pat Rynard
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