President Trump’s campaign rallies are accomplishing more than gathering crowds and headlines; they are also part of a massive data-gathering operation. Attendees are required to provide their cell phone numbers when securing tickets, allowing the campaign to construct a gigantic database of potential supporters. And Trump’s reelection campaign intends to increase its size.
The Trump campaign has instituted a policy that requires rally attendees to provide their cell phone number every time they RSVP for an event. Additionally, they only allow two tickets to be claimed per phone number, increasing the quantity of numbers collected.
According to the Daily Mail, over 18 million cell phone numbers and email addresses have been collected so far, and Trump’s reelection campaign is working to double the size of its already substantial database.
Phone numbers were collected by making them a mandatory part of the RSVP process. For example, a rally in Billings, Montana, in May 2016 informed potential attendees that a verification text message would be sent to their phone.
They were reportedly told, “You will not be registered until you verify by phone.”
“By entering your mobile number you are agreeing to receive periodic text messages from Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.,” read the message. Attendees were also informed that message data rates may apply, but they were given the ability to opt-out by replying “STOP.”
Trump isn’t the only political figure to use the tactic. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama used a similar approach, acquiring substantial amounts of data during their respective campaign events.
Brad Parscale, Trump’s new campaign chair,” stated that he is aiming to double the list by Election Day, amassing a total of 30 to 40 million cell phone numbers and email addresses.
“We’re crushing it in prospecting,” Parscale once boasted. He has also expressed the intention to dedicate $1 million per month to list-building and data-prospecting activities.