On Saturday, Donald Trump held his first rally since March. The event, staged at Tulsa’s 19,000-seat Bank of Oklahoma Center, was supposed to be a return to form for the president, who the was “giddy” in the days leading up to it. The president loves his rallies—the adoring crowds, the packed stadiums, the chance to be re-energized by his true believers. And that kind of energy is something the Trump campaign sorely needs these days. He’s amid his disastrous mismanagement of two national crises, and in May, Joe Biden’s campaign raised more money than .
im电竞官网-Judging from statements by Trump and his campaign in the days leading up to the event, Tulsa was going to be one of his biggest events yet. His campaign manager, Brad Parscale, boasted that had requested tickets for the event, a figure Parscale said was 10 times the number of registrations for any prior Trump rally. The president later tweeted that had requested seats. To accommodate the crowds who would be unable to secure seats in the arena, the campaign built an outdoor stage, and planned for both Trump and Vice President Mike Pence to .
im电竞官网-But the Tulsa rally didn’t quite go as planned. First, the outdoor speeches were cancelled, as the overflowing crowds failed to materialize. But by the time the main event rolled around, even the scene inside the BOK Center was grim. The Tulsa Fire Department says that , leaving the stadium two-thirds empty.
There are lots of reasons that a mass event held on a in the midst of a pandemic would turn out to be a flop. But since the rally, attention has turned to one particular factor that may have influenced rally’s massive failure: TikTok teens and K-pop stans.
How did social media users try to sabotage Trump’s rally?
im电竞官网-On TikTok, the social media platform perhaps best known for catapulting viral dance routines to fame, an effort circulated encouraging young users from around the world to register for tickets to Trump’s rally, with the intention of never attending and leaving the arena empty.
“Oh no! I just reserved my tickets for 45’s rally,” 19-year-old Diana Mejia on June 12th, “and forgot that I have to mop my windows that day! now my seats will be EMPTY! I hope that everyone who sees this doesn’t make the same mistake I did! We want to see all 19,000 seats full!”
Her message went viral, garnering more than 50,000 likes. that she was inspired to post the tweet by a video from TikTok user Mary Jo Laupp, in which viewers to request tickets to the rally. “I saw it was super popular on TikTok, and I was like, ‘We should definitely bring this to Twitter,’” she said.
If you use social media but missed the effort, it may be because many of the messages circulated in rarefied online communities. TikTok is home to endless dancing teens and people , but it’s also got a weird side. Some of the anti-Trump calls to action circulated via a corner of the platform populated with surrealist videos, like the trend that finds users creating accounts anthropomorphizing multi-national corporations.
Fans of Korean pop music, or K-pop, to register for tickets. One 20-year-old who reserved tickets told NBC that that the campaign was part of the highly-organized fandom’s efforts to use “the power that we have and the voice that we have for good.” It’s not the first time K-pop lovers have made political headlines in recent weeks. Since the start of protests in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, fans have used social media to thwart white nationalist hashtags. In one case, K-pop fans temporarily brought downim电竞官网- a Dallas police app that was soliciting amateur video of law-breaking protestors by flooding it with videos of their favorite artists.
So are TikTok teens and Blackpink stans the reason Trump’s rally was a flop?
It’s hard to measure just what effect the social media campaigns had on the actual turnout in Tulsa. There was no limit placed on the number of people who could register for tickets, and actual seats at the BOK Center were first-come, first-serve.
im电竞官网-“Leftists and online trolls doing a victory lap, thinking they somehow impacted rally attendance, don’t know what they’re talking about or how our rallies work,” Parscale wrote in a statement Sunday. “Registering for a rally means you’ve RSVPed with a cell phone number and we constantly weed out bogus numbers, as we did with tens of thousands at the Tulsa rally, in calculating our possible attendee pool. These phony ticket requests never factor into our thinking.”
Every TikTok user on the planet could have registered tickets, and, if on-the-ground enthusiasm were high enough, it wouldn’t have stopped Oklahomans from packing out the event if they’d been so inclined. In some ways, what’s more surprising than Gen Z—a cohort that largely —organizing an attempt to take down one of his events, is the fact that the president can no longer draw a crowd in a state that he .
Where the youngsters of social media may have had the biggest impact is in skewing the Trump team’s expectations. Despite what Parscale’s saying now, he was crowing about record registrations in the days leading up to the event. The outdoor stage for speaking the spillover crowd isn’t a rally staple; this was to be that Trump addressed followers both inside and outside a venue. False registrations may have been a factor in the campaign’s belief that it would be greeted by hoards hungry for the MAGA message. , “Campaign officials on Sunday privately admitted that many people who had signed up to attend the event were not supporters but online tricksters.”
im电竞官网-And the fake sign-ups may have played an indirect role in . If your favorite band were set to play a free, limited-seating local show, and were bragging on social media that a million people had signed up for it, would you bother going? I probably wouldn’t bother showing up just to be turned away at the door, especially in the middle of the pandemic. Trump supporters who might otherwise have turned out Saturday may have stayed home, feeling unsure that they would be able to get seats, and reassured by the campaign’s boasts that there would be a strong showing for their candidate even without their attendance. The TikTok teens may have been out to sabotage Trump’s rally, but by broadcasting their large number of signups, the Trump campaign may have shot itself in the foot.