Iowa’s “TikTok Grandma” Played Key Role In Trump Embarrassment

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.

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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.”

@maryjolaupp

Did you know you can make sure there are empty seats at Trump’s rally? BLM.

♬ original sound – maryjolaupp

“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
Posted 6/21/20

Iowa Starting Line is an independently-owned progressive news outlet devoted to providing unique, insightful coverage on Iowa news and politics. We need reader support to continue operating — please donate here. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for more coverage.

36 Comments on "Iowa’s “TikTok Grandma” Played Key Role In Trump Embarrassment"

  • Recall the crocodile that swallowed a clock and stalked Captain Hook in Peter Pan? Perhaps ‘Tik Tok’ will be the #Cybercroc stalker of #45

  • This is wrong to do!! A person should keep politics to yourself and friends and not do this to a presidential candidate.. if this was done to Biden all hell would have broken out and l hope you are somehow charged with conspiracy… just my thoughts along with others

  • Vickie, I couldn’t disagree with you more. There are pranks and there PRANKS! This one was lower case. No one died, and nobody got hurt and as far conspiracy goes… Conspiracy to do what? Pick up free tickets? Heck the Unpresident’s people claimed they distributed a million. Did they really think a million folks were going to descend on little Tulsa? Didn’t they have anyone smart enough to smell a rat when the “sales” started to mount? Their second clue might have been where some of the requests were coming from.
    Vickie, real PRANKS are those that get out of hand and cause property to be destroyed, lives to be lost or, as the Unpresident’s people are already planning, deny qualified citizens the right to vote. That’s a prank that I call treason. By the way, to be honest, I don’t live in the Great State of Iowa. I live in California, and if you hadn’t guessed already, I’m a Democrat. Healthy debate is a good thing. Go Iowa!
    Peter

  • This is an election year. Nothing wrong with deceiving the biggest pathological liar of them all. If he can make up stuff out of thin air, his opponents are free to make bogus registrations. Lol. Trump got trumped. Lol

  • I’ve only read a few stories on this, but none made any reference to right and wrong, particularly as it pertains to encouraging kids to lie. Grandma’s lessons for life have changed, at least on the left. Teaching kids ‘thou shalt lie’ will have negative implications for a nation no matter who is the leader.

  • Shouldn’t the school district for which she works look into this. Encouraging children to lie not a good lesson.

  • Actually, this prank might have SAVED lives! In case Vickie hadn’t heard, there is a very contagious pandemic going on. Attending a large public gathering could be fatal. The so-called prank was really a public service!

  • Get off your high horse about people lying about wanting tickets to see World’s Biggest LIAR! Trump lies about everything. His pathological lying has lead to thousands of deaths.

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