There are good reasons President Trump is ready to get back on the road to do campaign events. It is his opportunity to do two things. First, he can speak directly to voters in his signature style which is part comedian and part policymaker. Second, his rallies tend to drive the news cycle, even if a station does not broadcast them. However, Team Trump has a different goal.
Team Trump has a legendary data program. Even Democrats have expressed concern over the campaign’s digital prowess and collection methods. Trump rallies are key to this strategy for a number of reasons. And according to Brad Parscale, it seems a return to the road is generating unprecedented enthusiasm.
Just passed 800,000 tickets. Biggest data haul and rally signup of all time by 10x.
Saturday is going to be amazing! https://t.co/u2tQ812odW
— Brad Parscale (@parscale) June 14, 2020
This is for a rally in an arena that holds 19,000. If the campaign holds true to form, there will be large screens for those unable to get a seat to watch from outside. But the key to the operation is in Parscale’s tweet. It is the biggest data haul to date.
What does this data give them? The opportunity to register people who are interested in the rally to vote who are not already registered. The ability to contact these potential voters throughout the rest of the campaign with updates and fundraising efforts. The information to ensure absentee ballots and in-person voting happen right through the close of the polls on Election Day.
This is just part of the robust digital effort the campaign is using. Washington Post campaign reporter Dave Weigel signed up with both campaigns and noted significant differences:
In some ways, the Biden campaign is years behind on this kind of engagement. By this point in the 2012 campaign, Obama’s team had established a popular video series in which deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter shared good news and debunked Republican attacks. There’s no such block-and-tackle effort from the Biden social media experience, apart from the occasional tweet responding to the Trump campaign — and no Trump-style points for helping get the message out.
In comparing digital media engagement, Weigel also noted the following:
As of Thursday morning, the Biden campaign’s Cinco de Mayo broadcast had clocked 7,000 views on YouTube and 180,000 on Facebook, while the Trump campaign’s had clocked 11,000 and 900,000 views, respectively. Trump’s campaign has 29 million followers on Facebook, while Biden’s has less than 2 million.
There is a digital divide, and it all trends in President Trump’s favor. Look at the stats provided by Parscale for a few pre-COVID rallies:
Wow! New Jersey Data:
✅ 158,632 Requested Tickets (92,841 distinct signups)
✅ 73,482 Voters Identified
✅ 10.4% Didn't Vote in 2016
✅ 26.3% Democrats
Mind boggling. 🤯
— Brad Parscale (@parscale) January 29, 2020
Big Rally tonight in Hershey, PA! Strong data 💪.
✅ 23,207 voters identified (82.5% from PA)
✅ 20% have only voted in 1 of last 4 elections (9% in zero)
✅ 20.3% Democrats
✅ 18% non-white
This data will propel @realDonaldTrump in Pennsylvania in 2020!
— Brad Parscale (@parscale) December 11, 2019
The last three bullets matter. The 20% who have only voted in one of the last four elections and the 9% that have voted in none are unlikely to be polled. The share of registered Democrats and minorities should also give Democrats pause. All of those rally attendees were asked to engage in the more compelling digital campaign being run by Team Trump.
All of this information is also another sign of a large enthusiasm gap. In a recent poll, 70% of President Trump’s voters indicated they are voting for him as opposed to voting against Joe Biden. This contrasts with Joe Biden only having 38% percent of his voters saying they are voting for him. Of Biden’s voters, 60% say they are voting against Trump. Ask Mitt Romney how that worked out.
Or you can just look at the difference between the Trump rally sign-up and a recent Biden live stream directed at Wisconsin Democrat Convention:
A whopping 68 people are watching Joe Biden’s recorded address for the Wisconsin Democrat Convention.
— Kyle Martinsen – Text TRUMP to 88022 (@KyleMartinsen_) June 13, 2020
Superior data, a more engaging strategy, and enthusiasm are all on President Trump’s side. Do not let this be a cautionary tale. There is no time to be content or assume anything. It is time to turn up the dial by telling the truth about Trump’s record and prepare for continued vicious attacks. Team Trump is doing the heavy lifting. But we all need to carry our weight.