Last month, Donald Trump made a less-than-spectacular return to his election campaign trail, greeting just 6,000 people in Tulsa, as opposed to the “one million” who were expected. The poor turnout was in part due to coronavirus concerns – attendees were told they didn’t have to socially distance, nor wear masks – but was also the result of inspired trolling by K-pop stans and teens on TikTok.
In an effort to inflate predicted attendee numbers, social media users signed up for tickets to the president’s Tulsa rally, with no intention of attending. Now – after what can only be described as a huge success – the trolls are at it again, this time urging people to sign up for Trump’s forthcoming New Hampshire rally.
Set to take place on Saturday (July 11) in the city of Portsmouth, the rally has been targeted by Twitter users, who are encouraging their followers to help embarrass Trump. “The goal is to make sure Trump’s turnout is low,” Northeastern University student Aisha Khan, who’s signed up for tickets, told The Boston Globe, “and that he is not given a bigger platform during his rallies.”
I just ordered two tickets for Trump’s MAGA rally on July 11 in Portsmouth, NH. Too bad I won’t be attending! It took me just 30 seconds to register. It would be a real shame if thousands of other people who didn't intend to show signed up for tickets. 😉https://t.co/wZgbmzJ8tXpic.twitter.com/RoXSz3qN70
Although the ticket system doesn’t allow users to reserve seats, an influx of sign-ups will inflate the campaign’s predictions for the amount of people set to attend. This is exactly what happened in Tulsa: Trump was told that “almost one million people” had requested tickets, leading to organisers gloating online and setting up an overflow stage for attendees, only to be disappointed when less than 10,000 people turned up.
Speaking to The Boston Globe, former Long Island lawmaker Jon Cooper – who urged his 520k Twitter followers to sign up – said he was inspired to take action after the Tulsa rally. “The impetus was the teens on TikTok and K-pop fans that struck a blow for social activism when they joined forces several weeks ago. I think it will be really interesting to see if that feat can be repeated in New Hampshire.”
The attempted sabotage may not work as well this weekend, as the Trump campaign is likely to be skeptical of sign-up numbers. Plus, the Portsmouth rally is said to be outdoors, and will encourage face masks and social distancing, meaning more Trump supporters might feel comfortable attending this time. Although they shouldn’t, because the Tulsa rally reportedly led to a surge in COVID-19 cases. Best to stay at home!