Steve Schmidt. A name from the past in presidential elections, remembered by some politically minded Alaskans as the guy who chose Gov. Sarah Palin to be the running mate for Sen. John McCain in 2008.
Schmidt showed up as a savage commentator over the weekend applauding his teenage daughter and her friends for acquiring hundreds of tickets to the Donald Trump rally in Tulsa — tickets they had no intention of using.
The teen ploy that went viral across the country sucked up thousands of tickets and made it look like more than a million people had requested tickets to the Tulsa rally, only to make it appear that getting inside the arena was impossible due to the numbers having reached beyond the capacity. The media then reported that the turnout was disappointing to the Trump campaign, and that was the narrative that led the news cycle.
“My 16 year old daughter and her friends in Park City Utah have hundreds of tickets. You have been rolled by America’s teens. @realDonaldTrump you have been failed by your team. You have been deserted by your faithful. No one likes to root for the losing team,” Schmidt wrote on Twitter on Saturday night.
It was an ingenious youth-executed political disinformation campaign that cost the Trump camp a round in their battle with the mainstream media, as story after story on Saturday evening focused on how the stadium was not full, as it had been expected to be. Seats in the upper tiers of the stadium were empty.
The teens had used the app Tik Tok to communicate to others how to hoard tickets to the event and deprive Trump of an overflow crowd. From there, the social media trend went to Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, and stayed under the radar from the Trump campaign.
Schmidt has a special hatred for Trump, and left the Republican Party in 2018 out of his disapproval of the president. He has a podcast focused on Trump and spends his days tweeting against the president in the most personal and hateful terms:
“Tonight you sweated and snarled your way through what will be remembered as the ‘Emptysburgh Address.’ The story of your dangerous shuffle down the ramp was pathetic. Tonight was a failure, just like your Presidency. America saw a small crowd looking at a loser,” Schmidt wrote.
Schmidt knows a thing or two about losing. In 2008, Schmidt was the senior campaign strategist for Sen. McCain, the Republican nominee for president. At the time, McCain was leaning toward his preferred running mate, Sen. Joe Lieberman, but most of his advisers were against that choice because the ticket needed something to dazzle voters with, since Barack Obama had such celebrity status. They also needed more women voters for McCain. Schmidt convinced McCain to pick Palin and the ticket went on to lost to Obama-Biden. Back then, Schmidt had become a household word in presidential politics.
It’s not clear that Schmidt himself was working on the ticket-hoarding caper against Trump, but he knew about it and condoned it.
Several who attended the Trump rally told Must Read Alaska that thousands of Trump supporters outside the stadium were not able to reach it due to the protesters and the police barricades.
Although the stadium was by no means full, the Trump campaign said over 4 million watched the rally on television and thousands milling outside would have been welcomed in, had protesters not prevented them.