Sunday, June 21, 2020

For the Record: I Started a Joke

Oh wait, apparently he didn't really mean it.

Or did he?

Not everybody realizes the point about the million-spectator rally in Tulsa turning out to have only brought in 6200 people. It was pretty bad from Trump's point of view, and Parscale, who's already been in trouble for a while now,
President Donald Trump reportedly berated and then threatened to sue his own 2020 presidential campaign manager, Brad Parscale, during a conference call with political advisers last Friday. According to a new report from CNN that cites three people who were in the room at the time, the president was “fuming” over the continued criticism he was receiving for suggesting that injecting disinfectant could be an effective treatment for the coronavirus and shouted at Parscale over the significant decline in his poll numbers. “It’s not clear how serious the president’s threat of a lawsuit was,” the CNN report added. (Daily Beast 29 April)
may be on the way out, according to The New York Post

But the big thing is that Parscale thought he'd collected large amounts of personal data on close to a million fervent Trump followers, an essential part of his voter targeting mission, described in The Times in February: 

According to a tweet by Brad Parscale, the Trump campaign manager who publicly shares data after each rally, [a February event in Wildwood, NJ] had 158,632 requested tickets. Of the 73,482 voters identified by the campaign as seeking tickets, 10 percent did not vote in 2016 and more than a quarter had at one point been registered as Democrats. That last figure has campaign officials convinced that Mr. Trump is attracting people who are disillusioned with the current slate of presidential candidates, so the campaign cross-references the data it collects from rallies with voter information collected by the Republican National Committee.

“When someone signs up to go to a rally, we can match them up to our big voter file,” said Tim Murtaugh, the campaign’s communications director. “From that we can tell if they’ve voted recently, if they’re a Republican or Democrat, did they move from a different state. When we can identify someone as a supporter, that improves all of our modeling and voter scoring.”

Unmentioned in The Times are the referral links telling the campaign where the respondents clicked from to get to the page they responded to, which are invaluable in assessing the value of different kinds of search engine and social media media traffic.

Parscale's purpose isn't to find out how many "really wanted to go". He's interested in the people who answered whether they wanted to go or not: where the people who expressed interest live, what websites they visit, what party they are registered with and how and whether they voted in recent elections. This is the kind of information he was getting (with or without the help of Cambridge Analytica and/or Russian intelligence) in 2016 that may have played a crucial role in Facebook targeting in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and other key states.

But it turns out that the data for the Tulsa rally was actually provided mostly by the K-pop fandom, communicating on TikTok, much of it presumably bogus and absolutely none of it relevant to the Trump campaign's needs:

(My feeling, ever since the report of Parscale's organization paying Lara Lea Trump and Kimberly Guilfoyle $180,000 each as "advisers", alongside reports of his own unexplained and sudden wealth, is that Parscale is running an operation to funnel Republican donor money from the campaign to the Trump Organization and its dependents, and the job is safe as long as he doesn't get arrested for doing it. But don't quote me on that without noting that there's no actionable evidence I know of.)

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