President Trump’s first rally in a while was on June 19th. It was glaringly obvious that the venue was half-empty.
Supporters wondered if Team Trump was losing steam. Detractors laughed, saying Trump can’t pull an audience like he once had been able to.
It turns out, neither is the case.
Teenage kids, the Generation Z set, reportedly ordered tickets en masse and then did not show.
Why would they? they had no intention of ever going near a Trump rally!
The mass reservation of seats was organized online via social media platforms.
TikTok, a Chinese-owned video-sharing service owned by ByteDance, played a crucial role, as messages were spread via its messaging system.
However, this Beijing tech company was not at the center of the real life denial of service attack; it just served as the medium.
The real pranksters were the Generation Z kids, those adolescents who proved when there is a will there is a way.
K-pop fans also helped out. K pop is a form of music from South Korea.
It’s not the first time K-pop has been involved in recent events.
On Twitter, K-pop memes were sometimes spammed humorous GIFs and videos of K-pop performances onto hash-tags like #WhiteLivesMatter and others they felt were racist.
The Trump campaign claimed that there were over a million requests for tickets to the rally. Practically up to the moment President Trump was on the podium, the jokesters messaged, “There’s still space!”
In actuality, the entire debacle was the product of a campaign called the Lincoln Project, found online at #LincolnProject.
Brad Parscale, President Trump’s campaign manager,tweeted on June 15th, “Over 1M ticket requests for the @realDonaldTrump
#MAGA Rally in Tulsa on Saturday.”
Before entering each guest will get:
There will be precautions for the heat and bottled water as well.
— Brad Parscale (@parscale) June 15, 2020
While this may be so, obviously may of those requests were, in fact, fraudulent.
Less than seven thousand Trump fans actually came out to the event, an unusual development for a president who had previously packed arenas across the country.
K-Pop fans started the game of reserving tickets without planning to attend. That began on June 11th, soon after tickets became available.
On June 12th, a challenge was posed by MaryJo Laupp, a TikTok user. In a video she uploaded, MaryJo said, “…If you’ve been paying attention to the news, you know that Donald Trump is planning on hosting his first political rally post-quarantine in Tulsa, Oklahoma…He’s offering two free tickets…per cell phone number…I recommend that all of those of us that want to see this 19,000-seat auditorium barely filled or completely empty, go reserve tickets now and leave him standing there alone on the stage.”
Did you know you can make sure there are empty seats at Trump’s rally? ##BLM.
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, ever the vocal opponent of the president, had this to say about the incident, tweeted out the following:
“Actually you just got ROCKED by teens on TikTok who flooded the Trump campaign w/ fake ticket reservations & tricked you into believing a million people wanted your white supremacist open mic enough to pack an arena during COVID. KPop allies, we see and appreciate your contributions in the fight for justice too.”
Actually you just got ROCKED by teens on TikTok who flooded the Trump campaign w/ fake ticket reservations & tricked you into believing a million people wanted your white supremacist open mic enough to pack an arena during COVID
Shout out to Zoomers. Y’all make me so proud. ☺️ https://t.co/jGrp5bSZ9T
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) June 21, 2020
This was in response to another tweet by Brad Parscale, this one from June 20:
“Radical protestors, fueled by a week of apocalyptic media coverage, interfered with @realDonaldTrump supporters at the rally. They even blocked access to the metal detectors, preventing people from entering. Thanks to the 1,000s who made it anyway!”
Radical protestors, fueled by a week of apocalyptic media coverage, interfered with @realDonaldTrump supporters at the rally.
They even blocked access to the metal detectors, preventing people from entering.
Thanks to the 1,000s who made it anyway!https://t.co/eM2nohMEy6
— Brad Parscale (@parscale) June 20, 2020
Various mainstream media pundits tried to take the wind out of the Generation Z effort, claiming that it wasn’t because the kids foiled the Trump campaign, but rather because people are tired of Trump rallies and no longer support the president.
Not addressed were the COVID-19 fears. Attendees were required to sign a waiver just in case they got sick.
So far, all this speculation is nonsense. Trump supporters are as avid as ever. Trump opponents are likewise revved up for battle.
Was it the COVID? Was it the Gen-Z prank? Was it lack of interest?
It’s pure speculation. However, let’s give the kids some credit where credit is due.
For an otherwise powerless thirteen year old, they’ve just thrown a giant monkey wrench into the cogs, the very workings of the machine they hate.
It’s always common for adults to dismiss adolescents and young adults efforts as insignificant, and that goes both for the Trump campaigners and Trump’s opponents.
Did MaryJo Laupp break the law in encouraging young kids to commit fraud? There really was no legally binding contract, so probably not. Kids cannot claim they are people they are not, but again, it’s unlikely that this happened.
Touche. Score one for the GenZ Kids and KPop stans and fans. Interesting work.
Will the Trump campaign work to steady their system so that this cannot happen again in the future?
If they don’t, we can be sure the kids will be at it again. After all, it’s not everyday ordinary teens and tweens can bust up a party with a world leader at its center.
This is, in itself, historic.