Rallygate: The New Watergate (UPDATED) - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Rallygate: The New Watergate (UPDATED)
President Trump at Tulsa rally (YouTube screenshot)

Rallygate is the new Watergate.

A failed burglary of the DNC in 1972 by Nixon dirty tricksters has become the failed sabotage of a Trump campaign rally in 2020.

In the immediate aftermath of the Trump Tulsa rally, here was the headline in the UK’s Daily Mail:

AOC joins hundreds of Twitter users claiming teens on TikTok and K-pop fans sabotaged Trump’s Tulsa rally and left seats empty by reserving thousands of tickets with no intention of showing up

The Daily Mail’s subheadlines read:

  • TikTok and K-pop fans claim they reserved tickets to the rally with no intention of attending

  • Political strategist Steve Schmidt said his daughter and her friends reserved hundreds of tickets

  • Twitter users were quick to reply that their children also sabotaged the rally

  • US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said: ‘… you just got ROCKED by teens on TikTok who flooded the Trump campaign w/ fake ticket reservations’

  • There were thousands of empty seats at the BOK Center after Trump’s campaign declared that it had received over a million ticket requests

Wow. Full stop.

First of all, to update the original post in this space, after this was posted, Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale came out and denied that in fact the claims of AOC and others that the attempted sabotage attack on the campaign had worked. Find that story here at Fox News.

Said Brad, as reported by Fox:

“Leftists and online trolls doing a victory lap, thinking they somehow impacted rally attendance, don’t know what they’re talking about or how our rallies work,” Parscale said. “Reporters who wrote gleefully about TikTok and K-Pop [Korean pop music] fans — without contacting the campaign for comment — behaved unprofessionally and were willing dupes to the charade.”

Parscale continued: “Registering for a rally means you’ve RSVPed with a cellphone 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. What makes this lame attempt at hacking our events even more foolish is the fact that every rally is general admission — entry is on a first-come-first-served basis and prior registration is not required.”

The real reason for the unusually depressed turnout was apparent, the campaign said.

“The fact is that a week’s worth of the fake news media warning people away from the rally because of COVID and protesters, coupled with recent images of American cities on fire, had a real impact on people bringing their families and children to the rally,” Parscale said. “MSNBC was among outlets reporting that protesters even blocked entrances to the rally at times. For the media to now celebrate the fear that they helped create is disgusting, but typical. And it makes us wonder why we bother credentialing media for events when they don’t do their full jobs as professionals.”

Brad Parscale is a seriously competent campaign manager, and I have not the slightest doubt that he is correct. The sabotage attack was not successful. Again, as he says, the week’s worth of fake media attacks on the rally in terms of COVID-19 and the images of burning cities in the middle of riots doubtless was responsible for any lessening of attendance.

But that there was an attempt at a sabotage attack on the Trump Tulsa rally is totally true. In that sense it is very much like Watergate. Recall that the Watergate burglars who were attempting to bug the offices of Democratic National Committee chairman Larry O’Brien were in fact caught in the act — and they were arrested. No one refutes that. Parscale’s point, again, is not that the sabotage attempt from phony ticket requests never happened, it is that “These phony ticket requests never factor into our thinking.” Two very different things.

As reported here in the New York Times, there was a flat-out admission by “TikTok users and fans of Korean pop music groups” that they “claimed to have registered potentially hundreds of thousands of tickets for Mr. Trump’s campaign rally as a prank.”

The attempted sabotage attack, reported the Times:

spread mostly through Alt TikTok — we kept it on the quiet side where people do pranks and a lot of activism,” said the YouTuber Elijah Daniel, 26, who participated in the social media campaign. “K-pop Twitter and Alt TikTok have a good alliance where they spread information amongst each other very quickly. They all know the algorithms and how they can boost videos to get where they want.”

Many users deleted their posts after 24 to 48 hours in order to conceal their plan and keep it from spreading into the mainstream internet. “The majority of people who made them deleted them after the first day because we didn’t want the Trump campaign to catch wind,” Mr. Daniel said. “These kids are smart and they thought of everything.”

CNN reported days before the rally that a sabotage attempt was to be made, as here. CNN ran this headline:

TikTok users are trying to troll Trump’s campaign by reserving tickets for Tulsa rally they’ll never use

Catch that phrase: “trying to troll Trump’s campaign”? That is another way of saying “trying to sabotage Trump’s campaign.” No fake news there.

So. Again, clearly there was a sabotage attempt by the Left. It failed. But it was made. Which brings us back to how to deal with those who did attempt this and proudly claim they made the sabotage attempt — and how to deal with similar dirty tricks and dirty tricksters going forward.

Where to begin? Here, with this reminder from the late Theodore H. White. White was the author of the groundbreaking Making of the President books of presidential campaigns between 1960 and 1980, the first of which won him the Pulitzer Prize. But he also took time to write Breach of Faith: The Fall of Richard Nixon, an inside account of Nixon’s Watergate scandal that brought down his presidency. Describing the launch of what became the crimes of Watergate — crimes that sent people to jail and ended a presidency — White wrote of the Nixonites who assembled to conduct the now long-infamous Watergate “dirty tricks” operation.

Dirty tricks are as old as American campaigning….

White went on to add that what ignited Watergate was

 a mixture of illegality, absurdity, national security, malice and stupidity.

Which certainly appears to be a dead-on accurate assessment of the people and players in the attempted sabotage of the Trump Tulsa rally. Rallygate, as it should now be inevitably known, is nothing if not “a mixture of illegality, absurdity, national security, malice and stupidity.

Let’s start with the illegality of this failed sabotage attempt of the Trump rally.

Over here at the Legal Dictionary is a section titled “Mail Fraud.” It reads as follows, with bold print supplied for emphasis:

In recent years Congress has amended the mail fraud statute twice. In 1988 Congress added section 1346, which states that the term “scheme to defraud” includes a scheme to deprive another of the intangible right of honest services. In 1994 Congress expanded the use of the mails to include any parcel that is “sent or delivered by a private or commercial interstate carrier.” As a result of these amendments, the mail fraud statute has become a broad act for prosecution of dishonest and fraudulent activities, as long as those crimes involve the mails or an interstate carrier.”

In the case of Rallygate?

Trump supporters had every reason to believe that the Trump campaign was offering them the “honest services” of a free ticket to the Trump Tulsa rally. The Trump campaign was in fact doing that. But the “honest service” of a free ticket was deliberately deprived by those who organized and participated in a scheme to deny them the expected honest service of a ticket by fraudulently pretending to desire that honest service of a ticket — when in fact they were about denying that honest service to Trump supporters. They were utterly dishonest.

Note as well this sentence from Legal Dictionary:

As a result of these amendments, the mail fraud statute has become a broad act for prosecution of dishonest and fraudulent activities, as long as those crimes involve the mails or an interstate carrier.

Over at MSN News is this report, the very first sentence of which reads, bold print supplied:

Teenage Tik Tok users and K-pop fans in the US claim to have sabotaged a campaign rally held by US President Donald Trump by booking out tickets online.

Translation? Aside from the admission that the objective sought was to have “sabotaged a campaign rally”? The phrase “booking out tickets online” means the use of the internet, the internet clearly “an interstate carrier” per the U.S. statutes on mail fraud.

To get again to Theodore White’s description of the Watergate gang’s use of “a mixture of illegality, absurdity, national security, malice and stupidity” — now comes the “national security” aspect of the Rallygate scandal.

Let’s begin with this Washington Post headline and story from 2019:

TikTok raises national security concerns in Congress as Schumer, Cotton ask for federal review

The Post story reported this, bold print supplied:

Two senior members of Congress, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), asked U.S. intelligence officials late Wednesday to determine whether the Chinese-owned social-networking app TikTok poses “national security risks.

In a letter to Joseph Maguire, the acting director of national intelligence, the lawmakers questioned TikTok’s data-collection practices and whether the app adheres to censorship rules directed by the Chinese government that could limit what U.S. users see. TikTok, which provides users a feed of short videos, has become wildly popular among teenagers worldwide.

“With over 110 million downloads in the U.S. alone, TikTok is a potential counterintelligence threat we cannot ignore,” wrote Schumer and Cotton, who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee. “Given these concerns, we ask that the Intelligence Community conduct an assessment of the national security risks posed by TikTok and other China-based content platforms operating in the U.S. and brief Congress on these findings.”

The story also reported this:

In response, TikTok leaders — writing in an unsigned blog post Thursday — sought to stress their independence from China. The company said it stores U.S. user data inside the United States and that it is not “subject to Chinese law,” while stressing it has “never been asked by the Chinese government to remove any content and we would not do so if asked.”

This latter denial, a reminder, came shortly before China was failing to tell the world first that COVID-19 was spreading in Wuhan, China. And then denying to the World Health Organization on January 14, 2020, that human-to-human transmission was not involved. The WHO tweet, as reported by Fox News, read,

“Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel #coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in #Wuhan, #China,” the organization had said.

So now? Now we have AOC, openly boasting of this in a tweet:

Actually you just got ROCKED by teens on Tik Tok who flooded the Trump campaign w/fake ticket reservations & tricked you into believing a million people wanted your white supremacist open mic enough to pack an arena during COVID.

Shout out to Zoomers. Y’all make me so proud.

Or, in other words, here we have AOC, a sitting member of Congress, enthusiastically endorsing what potentially was mail fraud, not to mention cheering on TikTok, which Sens. Schumer and Cotton had believed were a potential “national security risk.”

And beyond the two serious problems already surfaced by Rallygate? With Democrats and Never Trumpers openly boasting of potential mail fraud to sabotage for a rally? It is now more reasonable than ever to believe that the rush to mail-in ballots — as opposed to the quite normal absentee ballots — can and will easily be manipulated to steal the 2020 election.

And one last thing.

Here is the Never Trumper Lincoln Project and MSNBC contributor and Trump hater Steve Schmidt boasting of this in a tweet, as noted in that Daily Mail story:

My 16 year old daughter and her friends in Park City Utah have hundreds of tickets.

In short? Schmidt is out there boasting — say again, boasting — that his daughter has enthusiastically participated in at minimum a Watergate-style dirty trick, and maximum what could qualify as mail fraud. The dirty trick didn’t work, as Brad Parscale notes. But Schmidt is confirming that it was in fact attempted — by his own daughter. A great Father’s Day play.

The boasts from AOC and Steve Schmidt, not to mention from those out there on Twitter, fall into the remaining terms in Teddy White’s description of the Watergate dirty tricks crowd. That would be, bold print for emphasis provided: “a mixture of illegality, absurdity, national security, malice and stupidity.

The sheer hatred of all the participants in Rallygate, from the kids who thought they were so clever in their failed sabotage attempt to the adults who should have known better than shamelessly cheering on dirty tricks that could involve potential illegalities and national security risks have, in the end, set themselves up for potential destruction of their young — and old — reputations.

It is time now for those Watergate tools that were used to get to the bottom of that scandal — and bring them to bear in getting to the bottom of Rallygate. Those tools included a special counsel and/or an investigation and prosecutions by the Department of Justice. And, but of course, Senate and House hearings. There is every reason to expect that this effort to sabotage the Trump campaign rallies will be attempted again. Not to mention, there is every reason to expect there will be an attempt to sabotage the election itself.

The day Richard Nixon left the presidency, he gave a tearful farewell speech to his Cabinet and staff. Nixon closed his speech by saying this:

Always remember others may hate you but those who hate you don’t win unless you hate them. And then you destroy yourself.


Welcome to Rallygate.

Jeffrey Lord
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Jeffrey Lord, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is a former aide to Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp. An author and former CNN commentator, he writes from Pennsylvania at jlpa1@aol.com. His new book, Swamp Wars: Donald Trump and The New American Populism vs. The Old Order, is now out from Bombardier Books.
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