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Analysis | Tulsa Rally’s Data Mess?

Chris Christie

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The June 20, 2020, Tulsa Rally appears to have left the incumbent president’s campaign a data mess too big to clean up. A data mess bad enough that it might be time for campaign staff changes. 

What was the Campaign data from the June 20, 2020 Tulsa Rally?

The incumbent president’s campaign manager boasted a week before the Tulsa Rally that over 800,000 people had already registered for tickets and the ticket registration process had already produced the “Biggest data haul and rally sign up of all time by 10x.” 

So, the Campaign bragged that the Tulsa Rally was, for data gathering, ten times bigger than any campaign effort ever. For those familiar with the importance of campaign data today, the “biggest data haul” by ten times might sound more important than the Tulsa Rally itself. 

A campaign event registration process hopes to gather contact information like names, cell phone numbers, email addresses and mailing addresses. Before sending tickets to a registrant, a competent campaign would send the registrant a text or email to confirm that he or she is a real person giving real contact information. 

With contact information, a campaign can text, email and snail mail information directly to supporters and can use the information to target supporters’ social media accounts and to identify supporters’ social media friends, connections or other contacts. Then, a campaign can through social media target fund raising, persuasion pieces and other information and advertisements to those identified.

What happened at the June 20, 2020 Tulsa Rally?

By June 20, 2020, the incumbent president’s campaign tweeted that over 1,000,000 had registered. The Campaign prepared an outdoor overflow venue for over 40,000, for after the 19,200 coliseum venue was filled.

At the June 20, 2020 Tulsa Rally, the Tulsa Fire Marshall reported that less than 6,200 attended, not 19,200. The Campaign claimed 12,000 attended. The outdoor overflow venue had zero attendees, not 40,000. 

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What does the Campaign claim happened?

The Campaign tweeted that the underwhelming attendance was due to “the fake news media warning people away” in fear of protesters and coronavirus sickness and “protesters even blocked entrances to the rally at times” 

No one has identified any Tulsa Rally registrants who came but did not attend due to protesters blocking entrances, much less shared photos of thousands of rally registrants who came but protestors blocked. 

So, the incumbent president’s campaign seems to be claiming that over 99 percent of their over one million registrants trusted the “fake news media warning” so much that they did not attend. 

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Yet, before registering, registrants would have known there were coronavirus risks, waived any Campaign coronavirus liability by registering, and still confirmed with the Campaign that they would be there. 

What else might explain the underwhelming Tulsa Rally turnout?

The day after the Tulsa Rally, the Campaign tweeted as follows:

“Reporters who wrote gleefully about TikTok and K-Pop fans – without contacting the campaign for comment – behaved unprofessionally and were willing dupes to the charade. Registering for a rally means you’ve RSVPed with a cell phone number and we constantly weed out bogus numbers, as we did with tens of thousands at the Tulsa rally, in calculating our possible attendee pool. These phony ticket requests never factor into our thinking.” 

The Campaign claims a “charade, ” which would be the media’s “bogus claims of ticket hacking.” The media’s “bogus claims” would be numerous media, including the New York Times (republished by Yahoo) and the Chicago Tribune, reporting that TikTok teens and K-pop stans registered but never intended to attend, thereby pranking the Campaign and leading to over one million registrants but only 6,200 attendees. 

The incumbent president’s campaign has changed the registration process for the June 23, 2020 student event in Phoenix, Arizona. The Campaign’s new registration form requires a “Social Media LINK (Instagram, twitter, or facebook).” This new form suggests the Campaign might not really believe the media’s “claims of ticket hacking” are “bogus.”

Did the youth of America prank the incumbent president’s campaign?

In one viral video, a TikToker said she regretted that she had registered for two to attend the Tulsa Rally, and even confirmed her attendance, but had forgotten that she had to collect the lint on her floor the day of the Tulsa Rally and sort the lint by size. She also encouraged those who wanted to register to use a good cell phone number and zip code, so they would get their tickets. Another TikToker had a similar video with 1.7 million views. And a  K-pop stans had a similar video.

Perhaps based on these videos and other social media, the incumbent president’s campaign now has lots of data from people who oppose his campaign enough to prank them. 

How much prankster data is in the “Biggest data haul” by ten times?

First, let’s guess at how much useful campaign data was included in the registration data. According to the Tulsa Fire Marshall, an independent source responsible for the safety of attendees, less than 6,200 attended.

For a free campaign event, one knows that many registrants will no show. With 6,200 attendees, if one had expected only 10 percent of the registrants to attend (90 percent no shows, a disappointing percentage), the number of true MAGA registrants (people actually intending to attend) would be about 62,000. 

Note that 10,000 attendees would be one percent of one million Tulsa Rally registrants. And the Fire Marshall counted less than 6,200.

To be a registrant the incumbent president’s campaign did not “weed out,” the registrant gave at least a good cell phone number or email address, and then confirmed the registration.

With one million Tulsa Rally registrants and this estimate of about 62,000 true MAGA registrants, about 938,000 pranked the Campaign. That would mean well over 90 percent of the Campaign’s “Biggest data haul” were pranksters.

What can the Campaign do now?

The incumbent president’s campaign surely does not want to be repeatedly contacting the pranksters. The time and expense would be a waste at best. Being blocked by pranksters after receiving emails and having ads ignored on social media would cause the Campaign problems. And contacting pranksters would seem to be inviting more pranks.  

Cleaning up a data set is a normal process. If most of the data is bad though, one cannot really use it for anything. Most would expect that, with over 90 percent prankster data, this “Biggest data haul” cannot be salvaged. 

Often, campaigns pay outside consultants on a per person basis for campaign data. At times, internal staff is paid this way too. The incumbent president’s campaign should think long and hard before paying anyone based on this “Biggest data haul and rally sign up of all time by 10x.”

Other campaigns should learn from the June 20, 2020 Tulsa Rally failures. Ten times more campaign data than ever gathered before sounds way too good to be true. If the data seem too good to be true, they probably are. Look at the data.

The Campaign should think about who is responsible for missing that the data was almost all from pranksters. One million registrants for the Tulsa Rally screams something is wrong. I’ll bet a barbecue that even a cursory look at the raw data would have made the pranking clear. 

If the campaign were mine, it might be time for Campaign staff changes.

Chris Christie is a guest columnist who regularly writes for the Alabama Political Reporter.

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Sewell: Confirming Barrett before the election would undermine Supreme Court’s legitimacy

“The nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett is clearly tainted by the hypocrisy of Senate Republicans to go back on their own promise,” Sewell said.

Brandon Moseley

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Congresswoman Terri Sewell (via Office of Rep. Terri Sewell)

Congresswoman Terri Sewell, D-Alabama, said Saturday that President Donald Trump’s nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court was tainted by hypocrisy and that confirming Barrett would undermine the legitimacy of the Supreme Court.

“The Supreme Court nomination by President Trump today, with the 2020 presidential election only 38 days away, denies the American people a voice in this very important decision,” Sewell said. “The nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett is clearly tainted by the hypocrisy of Senate Republicans to go back on their own promise not to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court so close to a presidential election.”

In 2016, Senate Republicans refused to give President Barack Obama’s nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, a hearing or a vote to replace Justice Antonin Scalia. Garland’s nomination came eight months before the 2016 presidential election. Republicans held out and Trump eventually filled Scalia’s seat with Justice Neil Gorsuch.

“This blatant power grab by Trump and Senate Republicans is especially disturbing given that the voting process has already begun with hundreds of thousands of voters having cast their ballots in the 2020 presidential election,” Sewell said.

Democrats have largely coalesced around opposing Trump’s filling of Ginsburg’s seat. If approved, Barrett would tilt the court even further to the right, solidifying a 6-3 conservative majority.

“Fairness and comity demand that the Senate not confirm any vacancy on the Supreme Court until the American people have chosen the next president,” Sewell concluded. “To do otherwise, I believe would undermine the very legitimacy of the Supreme Court.”

Before Barrett was nominated, U.S. Sen. Doug Jones, D-Alabama, said that he would not support any Trump nominee for the Supreme Court before the results of the Nov. 3 election are known.

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“It is a poor reflection of the state of our national politics that, just hours after Justice Ginsburg’s passing, we were thrust into a divisive partisan fight over her successor, denying the nation the time to mourn this extraordinary American’s death,” Jones said. “Just weeks from a national election, we are confronting a blatant power grab by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the President that will undermine the court and subvert the will of the American people.”

At the time, four years ago, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said during an election year, the Senate should let the American people decide before confirmed new justices. He’s reversed course, promising to give Barrett a vote.

“If confirming a Supreme Court justice ten months prior to a presidential election would have denied the American people a voice,” Jones said, “then isn’t he now denying the American people a voice by rushing to confirm a justice just weeks before a presidential election?”

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“I believe the answer to this question is a resounding YES,” Jones continued. “This is especially true given the urgent legislative work we have yet to do. Leader McConnell should turn his focus instead to protecting the lives and livelihoods of the American people by bringing a new bipartisan COVID-19 relief package up for a vote. We also need to pass the National Defense Authorization Act to support our military. We need to pass our annual funding bills instead of kicking the can down the road with yet another costly continuing resolution. We need to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which has languished in this Senate, in order to protect the right of all Americans to vote and participate in our democracy.”

Jones said if Trump is re-elected, he will evaluate any pending or future nominee on their merits and vote for or against the nominee based solely on their qualifications.

Trump has already appointed Gorsuch and Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. President Barack Obama appointed two nominees to the court during his eight-year term.

Jones also voted against Kavanaugh.

Sewell represents Alabama’s 7th Congressional District. Sewell has no Republican general election opponent.

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Sen. Doug Jones won’t support SCOTUS nominee before Nov. 3 election

“Certainly, power grabs are not uncommon in our political system, but few are accompanied by such blatant hypocrisy as we are witnessing now,” Jones said.

Eddie Burkhalter

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Incumbent U.S. Sen. Doug Jones during a livestreamed press briefing. (VIA DOUG JONES CAMPAIGN)

Sen. Doug Jones, D-Alabama, on Friday said he would not support any nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court before the outcome of the Nov. 3 election is determined. 

Speaking during a livestreamed briefing, Jones said that while Republicans appear to have enough votes to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, he will not be a party to denying the people a voice in the process in the election of the next president “in just under 44 days.” 

President Donald Trump said Saturday that he plans to nominate Amy Coney Barrett to replace Ginsburg, who on Friday became the first woman, and first Jewish person, to lie in state at the U.S. Capitol. 

Several Republicans who voiced opposition to President Barack Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court more than 10 months before the 2016 election have reversed course, and now say they support Trump nominating a selection with election day just a little more than a month away. 

“Certainly, power grabs are not uncommon in our political system, but few are accompanied by such blatant hypocrisy as we are witnessing now,” Jones said. “In fact, I believe that the level and intensity of hypocrisy being displayed by Senator McConnell and the president, with regard to the rush to confirm Justice Ginsburg’s successor, is unmatched in the history of our constitutional government.” 

Jones said what McConnell and other Republicans should be focusing on instead is getting another round of much-needed COVID-19 aid to small businesses and people impacted by the pandemic. 

“Rather than pushing this confirmation to the top of the Senate calendar, the majority leader should turn his focus instead to protecting the lives and livelihoods of the American people. We should pass a new bipartisan COVID-19 stimulus package to give Americans and businesses the relief that they desperately need, and that economists say if required to shore up the economy now,” Jones said. 

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Jones expressed concern as well for what medical experts are warning could be a new spike in COVID-19 nationwide. 

“There could be an even greater urgency, if our health care professionals’ warnings come to pass,” Jones said. “And that is as temperature drops and people go indoors that this virus spikes, and we see another surge.” 

Asked why his opponent, Tommy Tuberville, won’t debate Jones, he said, “It’s pretty simple. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”  

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“He has no clue. He is Coach Clueless,” Jones said. 

Jones noted that when asked recently on his thoughts on extending the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act of 2020, Tuberville stumbled through an answer that indicated he wasn’t sure what the Voting Rights Act was.

“He had no earthly idea,” Jones said. 

Jones said Tuberville isn’t going to debate him because Tuberville doesn’t want to talk about issues.

“He doesn’t want to talk about a plan. His plan is simply this: Whatever Donald Trump says, I’m good,” Jones said, “and if Donald Trump says or does something that is not good, it’s crickets coming from Coach Tuberville.” 

Jones noted that after multiple news outlets, including Fox News, confirmed reporting that Trump had said disparaging things about veterans who died in combat, Tuberville has not spoken out against Trump’s comments. 

Jennifer Griffin, senior national security correspondent for Fox News, reported that she has spoken to senior U.S. officials who backed up reporting by The Atlantic, and said Trump said of the Vietnam War “anyone who went was a sucker.” 

“He has not said a thing about what was confirmed by Fox News about the president’s comment,” Jones said of Tuberville. “That’s just disgraceful.”

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Merrill gives guidance on straight party, write-in voting

Micah Danney

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(STOCK PHOTO)

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill issued guidance Wednesday on straight party and write-in voting.

“Voters who wish to vote straight party for all of the Democratic or Republican candidates on their ballot may do so by filling in the bubble next to their party preference at the top of their ballot,” Merrill explained in a statement.

“If a voter wishes to vote for any candidate outside of the selected party, however, he or she may do so by filling in the bubble next to the preferred candidate’s name. In doing so, the candidate(s) voted on outside of the voter’s designated party ballot will receive the vote for that particular race.

In addition, if a voter wishes to write-in a candidate, he or she may do so by filling in the bubble next to the box marked ‘Write-in’ and then printing the name of the preferred candidate on the designated line.

Write-in votes must be hand-written and not stamped or otherwise artificially applied to the ballot.”

Sample ballots for the Nov. 3 general election are available online.

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Opinion | For Coach Tub, no thinking required

Joey Kennedy

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Republican Senate candidate Tommy Tuberville (TUBERVILLE CAMPAIGN)

Has Tommy Tuberville ever had an original thought? It doesn’t sound like it. Coach Tub basically spews Republican talking points and keeps his mouth firmly locked onto Donald Trump. He disrespects Alabama voters so much that he thinks that’s all he needs to do to win a place in the U.S. Senate.

Tuberville recently addressed the St. Clair County Republican Party at its September meeting. As reported by APR, Tuberville is quoted as saying the following, and I’ll offer a short rebuttal. I’m doing this because Tuberville is clearly afraid to death to debate his opponent, U.S. Sen. Doug Jones.

So here goes:

Tuberville: America is about capitalism, not socialism. I think we are going to decide which direction we are going to go in the next few years.”

Me: We decided which way we were going to go years ago, when the federal government started subsidies for oil and gas companies, farmers and other big industry and business. That, coach, is your so-called “socialism.”

I’m not necessarily opposed to subsidies to boost business, depending on the cause, but I’m not going to let a dimwitted, know-nothing, mediocre, former football coach pretend we don’t already have “socialism” in this country.  

What Tuberville really means is that he’s against “socialism” like Medicare or Medicaid or Social Security or food assistance or health insurance. He’s a millionaire already, so there’s no need for him have empathy for or support a safety net for people who are less fortunate socially and economically. That’s Tuberville’s “socialism,” and the Republican Party’s “socialism,” and Trump’s “socialism.

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That’s a cruel, mean perspective that would cast aside the great majority of Americans for the rich (Tuberville, Trump) and connected and, where Trump is concerned, the fawning.

Tuberville: “I am not a Common Core guy. I believe in regular math. We need to get back to teaching history.”

Me: I would love to ask Coach Tubby, one-on-one, exactly what he thinks “Common Core” is. I’ll guarantee you he can’t explain more than he already has. “I believe in regular math?” There is no other math. It’s math. Does he think there’s a math where 1+1=3? There isn’t one. There are a variety of ways to teach math, but there’s only math, not a “fake” math or a “Republican” math or a “Democratic” math or, God forbid, a “Socialist” math.

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And when Coach Tommy said, “We need to get back to teaching history,” one wonders if he’s ever been into a classroom. We know more than a few of his former players weren’t in many classrooms, if reports are correct. But they always played the game under his uninspired coaching.

Of course schools teach history.

The history Coach T. is talking about is Donald Trump’s “white” history, the one we’ve been teaching in our schools forever. Not real history; you know, the one where the United States was founded as a slave-holding nation, where Native Americans were massacred and starved by the hundreds of thousands, where white supremacy was codified within our laws, where any color but white was subjugated. That history. The history that is finally fading away, so we can really see where we’ve been as a nation—so we know where, as a nation, we need to go.

Tuberville: Tuberville said he supports following the Constitution and appointing a replacement for Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died Friday.

Me: Well, of course he does. Tuberville doesn’t have an independent thought in his body, and Donnie told him this is what he’s supposed to think. The big question: How much will a Senator Tuberville be able to function as a member of a minority party in the Senate — with no Papa Trump in the White House to tell him what to do?

Both scenarios are real possibilities, if not likelihoods.

There is no question that Doug Jones is far more qualified than Tuberville. Jones can work across the aisle, which will be vitally important if Democrats take control of the Senate. Jones has his own thoughts, which sometimes go against the Democratic Party’s wishes. Jones is independent, smart and represents Alabama well.

Tuberville is a failed football coach who lives in Florida. That’s about it.

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