I promise not to write about the Trump campaign’s fundraising emails for at least a month after this.
Every one of them I see, forwarded to me by a friend who doesn’t know how he got on the list and has never contributed to Trump, is staggeringly stupid and insulting to the intelligence of anyone who receives them.
I’m not talking today about lying. Many of them don’t contain enough “factual” assertions to even be interesting as lies. I’m talking about the assumptions about gullibility of the recipients or, to put it another way, the steady insult to their intelligence. It’s hard to imagine the mentality of someone who would not feel insulted by the level of stupidity on which they are being addressed, just in terms of facts and arguments.
But today I mostly want to focus on the sheer volume of them. In July, my friend started numbering them as he forward them to me, and the count, just for July, was 241.
TWO HUNDRED AND FORTY-ONE. Not a joke. I make that an average of 7.8 emails a day from the Trump-Pence Make America Great Again 2020 committee, to a single American who has never given them a nickel, which they seem to both know and not know.
Is this normal? Is this smart? Does this work?
Of course, I realize emailing is pretty much free. But I’m stuck on the idea that someone believes it’s effective to send 7.8 emails A DAY to the same American — some of which identify that American as among Trump’s best and most devoted supporters, alternating with an occasional acknowledgement that that particular American has, to date, a lifetime contribution record of $0, and counting.
7.8 a day, on average, in July. Each containing words, but no facts, arguments or information to which any sentient being could attach any real importance.
A lot of them offer a thank-you-in-advance promise of a gift the committee says it will send you for contributing any amount — gifts like a Trump baseball cap with some of the famous MAGA slogans on them.
They also often promise – I have no idea whether there is any reality to this promise – that every dollar you send will be matched, or double- or triple-matched or, I kid you not, 600 percent matched by unnamed individuals. Can this be real? If not, is it legal to make such a 600-percent-match promise, and, if not, is there some entity somewhere in the universe that monitors such nonsense?
The last of the 241 in July was typical, offering to match your gift with a 600% additional gift from an undescribed source. (I think I’ve seen the promises go up to 700 percent, maybe higher, but I haven’t saved them all.)
In the case of my friend, who has never given a red cent, they sometimes display his lifetime record of having given to Trump-Pence as $0, and they’ll sometimes say that they’ve noticed he seems to be ignoring their appeals, but within an email or two they will also say that they know they can count on him because he one of their most reliable supporters.
Then sometimes, fairly frequently in fact, they will warn him that this is his last notice, his last chance to get the match, or that if he doesn’t act immediately, he will have missed something like the “critical end-of-month deadline.”
A lot of the emails say that sending the amount requested will enter the donor in a lottery that might get you dinner with Donald Trump or something similar. I have no idea whether any donors get any of these dinners or whether it is legal to make such offers if they are not fulfilled. Sometimes, the promise is that a donation of any amount will get you membership in the “Trump VIP Club” or some other similarly named organization.
Then, if you don’t take him up on that, you may get one noting that you haven’t acted by the deadline but “because you’re such a dedicated supporter,” Trump has decided to extend for just one more day the offer to let you into the club, if you just click one of the buttons (contribute $5, $20, and up) and submit the amount pledged.