September 12, 2019
Although President Donald Trump already has “weaponized” his Twitter account to provide continual commentary on the politics, people, issues, and media that are top-of-mind in the Oval Office, soon he will have another way to get his message out to the U.S. electorate—an “America First” app.
According to a report by Politico, Trump’s reelection campaign plans to launch a smartphone app this fall to encourage his base of supporters to donate, volunteer, and reel in like-minded voters — all while providing the president with more unfiltered access to his followers.
Supporters who download the all-in-one app are expected to be able to sign up for a Make America Great Again rally, canvas a neighborhood, or call voters—maybe even register to vote as the campaign looks to turn passive supporters into activists.
But, perhaps the key feature will be the app’s use of prizes—maybe VIP seats or a selfie with the president—to persuade rabid Trumpers to recruit their friends, rewarding them as campaigns have been doing for top donors for years, according to people familiar with the plans, the news outlet says.
Trump‘s campaign didn’t respond to questions about the app, which originally had been scheduled to debut this summer. But Brad Parscale, Trump’s digital media director turned campaign manager, has spoken about his goal to directly contact and target millions more supporters than the campaign did in 2016.
“This is how Donald Trump stays president for four more years,” said Parscale, holding up his iPhone onstage at a Trump rally last year. “Now this phone is how we connect with you. It’s how we turn you into the army of Trump.”
The campaign already has acquired 200 million voter files from the Republican National Committee, Politico notes—and is spending millions on digital ads, texts, and rally attendee RSVPs to collect data on voters.
Indeed, the app could be used to gather supporter preferences, and then to create profiles that could be used to tailor specific messages to specific voters—down to the color of an ad.
What’s more, the app will not only offer a way to hear directly from Trump, but it give millions of diehard Trump voters a way to communicate with each other privately.
Former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, who worked for the RNC during the 2016 election, told Politico that Twitter, Facebook, and other social platforms allow Trump to communicate with all types of people while the campaign app will rally the base.
“It’s not this or that. It’s all of the above,” Spicer said. “I think in this day and age, it adds one more element.”
Research contact: @politico