Story and photo
by JOE GIDDENS
While impeachment proceedings were going on in Washington, locally President Trump’s campaign manager Brad Parscale and daughter-in-law Lara Trump held a rally Nov. 21 at the Hotel Tucson City Center in support of the embattled president going into the 2020 election.
Trump won the state by 3.5 points in 2016 in the former conservative bastion, but 2018 has seen several Democrats win statewide offices for the first time in nearly a decade.
The event hit all the Trump signature platform planks of his 2016 campaign and administration: fanning resentment against migrants, Trump’s outsider status and his campaign’s infrastructure to bypass media and political establishments.
Parscale opened with his concerns about Democrat presidential candidates running on the platform of Medicare for All before sharing how Trump’s relection campaign started when he took office.
“I understood inauguration day was the first day of the war, not the day we won,” Parscale said. “What we needed do that day was to start to build the lead.”
Parscale started building his lead by working on direct voter engagement with Trump’s base. The Trump campaign has an extremely robust voter database whose origins date back to the failed Mitt Romney 2012 campaign. In the wake of the 2012 election, the Republican National Committee ranked digital information of its voters as a high priority.
Digital information collection is actually one of the major reasons for Trump rallies: Phone numbers and contact information are harvested by attendees who RSVP. A phone number to register is required, and two attendees are allowed in, partially to encourage more phone numbers to be added.
“We can use it as a data mining opportunity,” Parscale said in a November Fox News interview. “Turn every single one of our rally-goers into a volunteer on site for the rally. They can get out there and actually collect data. ‘Hey, who were your 10 friends?’ … ‘Tell us what your friends like about Trump.’ ‘Give us their phone numbers.’ That will give us an even greater opportunity to expand the spider web of data.”
Parscale laid out his campaign strategy for the 2020 election to use technology to connect Trump and his supporters directly. This has the bonus, according to Parscale, to also bypass mainstream media.
“We had to be able to distribute ourselves across America to millions of homes,” Parscale said. “And to make sure that every American president was doing and how the Democrats were lying to them, and how the mainstream media and especially the fake news media is lying.”
According to Parscale, the Obama 2012 election saw the Democrats grow their prospecting and direct marketing by 55%, while the 2020 Trump campaign is seeing 200% growth. Additional growth is a Trump goal of 2 million trained volunteers next year, up from 600,000 in 2016.
The Trump campaign similar to Sen. Bernie Sanders’s 2020 campaign is building an app for Apple and Android that’s going into beta. The app will have canvassing training both for going to doors and phone calls as well as voter information to target lapsed voters.
Parscale also touted the success of his recruitment efforts.
“That training will increase the turnout in your neighborhood on average of 15%,” he said.
Parscale reiterated concerns of conservative social media censorship and news media bias. The previous day, NBC News reported that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had an undisclosed dinner with Trump in October at the White House following his Congressional testimony about his company’s forthcoming cryptocurrency Libra.
Lara Trump and Parscale didn’t make themselves available for press questions. Parscale spent the afternoon in Phoenix with the Arizona chair of the Republican party Kelli Ward at the Trump Victory Leadership Initiative training for volunteers. Parscale did do a radio call in interview with Phoenix right-wing pundit and radio host James T. Harris that day and echoed many of his sentiments from addressing Tucson.
Parscale told Phoenix volunteers that Trump and him will be spending a lot of time in the state next year – a promise Lara Trump echoed to Tucson attendees.
“…We’ll be back to see you, we will bring the president back to see you,” she said.