The Trump Campaign Just Got tRolled By A Few Hundred American Teens
Guess who’s coming to the polls in 2024.
I just read a very interesting story about how hundreds of young people reserved tickets to President Trump’s rally and never showed up. I picked it up on Twitter:
There is a really interesting trend portended by this story. On Twitter, a Trump campaign strategist admitted that he didn’t even see this coming. He had no clue. I noticed later yesterday and even today, that Trump campaign officials were trying to walk it back, to make it look like Kpop fans on TikTok had no idea what they’re talking about. “People were really just afraid of protester violence” and, “many people stayed home, afraid of getting sick”.
Whether not the trolling effort really decreased the numbers of people showing up to the rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, I think what’s important here is that any teens at all got involved. For years, the press has painted a stereotype of young people as being disinterested in politics. Except for Greta Thunberg. Oh, wait. She’s not American. This event has shown a crack in the image the press has tried to foist on us about teens.
The demographics of this attempt to troll the Trump campaign is important here. These people are mostly teens (Zoomers), many of them too young to vote this year, and they actively worked together to coordinate their efforts to troll the Trump rally and the campaign. Even if the number of people involved was just in the hundreds, they still represent a sample, like a poll, of teen sentiment about Trump and the GOP.
According to the Daily Mail, the trollers also coopted #MAGA and #BlueLivesMatter hashtags to promote Kpop culture. This is a trend that started earlier this month and:
As a result of the effort, hashtags designed to promote conservative and sometimes outright racist content were almost entirely populated with memes and ‘fancams’ that depict K-pop groups and their members singing and performing.
I’ve been using #MAGA and other Trump campaign hashtags to coopt their campaign messaging for months so that my articles and arguments get some exposure with Trump supporters. Hashtags are tied to algorithms and that determines how a tweet is spread.
I believe that liberals must directly engage conservatives in meaningful debate about the issues that are important to them. On Twitter, I use hashtags to target my audience to people most likely to disagree. My goal is not to incite disagreement, it’s to start a good debate. And as I’ve noted before, when you’ve got good evidence to support liberal arguments, conservatives tend to go quiet.
The Kpop fans who have coopted MAGA and Blue Lives Matter hashtags understand that hashtags are an effective tool for propagation. They also understand the power of coopting the messaging tools of the adversary. They understand that the hashtag is more effective for propagating a message than tweeting to an individual account.
Note also that the primary means of spreading the strategy to reserve tickets and not show up were social media platforms that most older folks (like me) don’t even bother with, TikTok, Snapchat, and Instagram. Most of the activity was done out in the open, though a few did post to YouTube. A team effort was made to take the videos down and to keep the movement quiet so as not to be noticed by the campaign staff.
That kind of coordinated activity by teens who just happen to be Kpop fans has spooked the Trump campaign. They admitted as much on Twitter. But the best part is that coordinated activity by hundreds of teens is just a hint of the demographics changes occurring in America.
I remember when a vote tabulation app for smartphones wasn’t working right in Iowa for the Democratic Primary they held earlier this year. I remember how it was reported that Trump supporters were calling into the hotline for that election, in an effort to “clog the lines”. I say, touche.
I’m really interested in the story of the Kpop fans trolling the Trump campaign for the demographic trends they portend. I believe that the sample size, age, and the number of people involved is significant. I think it is significant that the demographics of this event matter and that they portend a big event, maybe not this year, but in 2024. If Republicans aren’t worried about a total wipeout this year, they can be sure it’s coming in 2024. The Kpop fans attempt to troll the Trump rally in Tulsa suggest that kind of a trend coming.
I was already seeing signs of a Blue Tsunami coming more than a year ago. Polling from early last year showed that young people were taking a shine to socialism, and several news outlets used the words “terrified” and “Republicans” in the same sentence in their reporting. This is evidence of what young people think of Trump and the GOP. They saw evidence of that sentiment in the midterms of 2018, too.
And as the demographics shift, you know, from attrition, younger people will find their feet, then their hands, and then their voice, and they will show up to the polls. They won’t have any choice in the matter. Somebody will run the country, and they might like to show up. If they don’t show up this year, by 2024, the discomfort will be so great that I’m pretty sure they will show up then.
I don’t really have Trump Fatigue as some people say they do. If Republicans wanted an agent provocateur for a president they sure did get one in Donald Trump. He’s a provocateur alright. He’s shaking things up. He’s alienating lots and lots of people. He’s making millions of people uncomfortable. I think he’s already alienated one generation of voters. If he wins another 4 years, he will alienate another generation of voters. And they’re Kpop fans.
So I don’t worry much about Trump winning another term. I can totally see Trump winning the election by gaming the Electoral College, losing the Senate and going deep blue in the House. I can see Nancy Pelosi entertaining articles of impeachment with a much wider scope than before with a Senate more than willing to convict President Trump — if he’s still around.
The demographic shifts underway in America are compelling. A few hundred Kpop fans are just one of many signs of that shift. So sit back, have some popcorn, and enjoy the show. It’s only going to get more interesting.