The most controversial arena in politics over the past decade has arguably been online. From election scandals to fake news, Cambridge Analytica to Brexit, the way campaigns are received online has shaped the course of politics. Now social media is fighting back and is taking credit for President Trump’s embarrassment at his campaign’s Tulsa rally on Saturday night.
The Presidential race this year has been overwhelmed by the Coronavirus. As lockdowns have eased across the United States, the President and his Democratic rival are keen to kickstart their 2020 Presidential campaigns. The Republican Party rally that took place on Saturday evening was supposed to be a key public engagement for the President. Planners had forecasted a bumper turnout for the Oklahoma rally and the show of Republican force despite coronavirus was supposed to reinvigorate the President’s ailing campaign. What the President arrived to was thousands of empty seats.
The rally was forecasted to be so busy that campaign managers had even planned spill over areas where people could be entertained whilst watching the address from afar. In the end, there was plenty of room for all. The culprit? Korean pop and social media. In times gone by that may have been an unusual cocktail to blame presidential election woes upon. However, a campaign on social media platform, TikTok, coordinated fans of K-pop music to register en masse for the rally using their mobile numbers but, crucially, not turn up to the rally. The group managed to deceive the Trump campaign and the empty seats that the President stared out to on Saturday evening satisfied their efforts.
Overnight there was a volatile episode within foreign exchange markets. A dramatic risk-off move was created when the White House’s trade advisor Peter Navarro commented that the US-China trade deal was over. A rapid appreciation in defensive assets including the Japanese Yen and Swiss Franc took place at the expense of risk assets including emerging market currencies and equities. The move rapidly reversed when President Trump took to Twitter to announce that “The China Trade Deal is fully intact”. The Pandemic has not been a good breeding ground for Trump’s volatile style of Politics. His approval ratings have suffered and unsurprisingly his polling prospects have worsened. It is possible that in order to make up some ground we see a more presidential President in the coming months before the US election.
Discussion and Analysis by Charles Porter