US President Donald Trump’s campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Saturday hosted a fraction of the expected supporters. Some of the no-shows may have been teenagers who decided to RSVP with no intention of attending.
Over the past few days, people who oppose Trump organised efforts on social-media apps TikTok, Instagram and Twitter to sign up for the rally, sometimes with fake names or burner email accounts. The message spread among teens, especially fans of Korean pop music, who have pivoted their networks to political causes recently. Memes on video-sharing app TikTok showed teenagers dancing in front of screenshots of their Trump rally registrations. Many of the posts were set to the tune of the 1993 song “Macarena,” prompting others to repeat the gesture and causing the meme to go viral.
It’s impossible to know how many of the no-shows at the rally can be attributed to the viral effort. Trump boasted nearly one million signups, far beyond the capacity of the Bank of Oklahoma Center, which has 19,000 seats. However, only a few thousand people showed up — an outcome the campaign attributed to “radical protesters, fuelled by a week of apocalyptic media coverage,” according to a tweet by Brad Parscale, Trump’s campaign manager.
Still, online, the opposition declared victory. “My 16 year old daughter and her friends in Park City Utah have hundreds of tickets,” Steve Schmidt, a political strategist who worked for President George W. Bush and Senator John McCain, wrote on Twitter. “You have been trolled by America’s teens.”