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Is The Trump Campaign A Grift To Sell Hats?

Ana Marie Cox suggests that the media may be catching on...
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Turns out Donald Trump got exactly what he wanted from running for President: the Republican National Committee's mailing list, for free.

This morning on Morning Joe the panel discussed the latest from Bloomberg about Trump's data and polling operation. Turns out Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and Trump Campaign Manager Breitbartian Steve Bannon, have big plans post-election. Because of course they do:

To outsiders, the Trump campaign often appears to be powered by little more than the candidate’s impulses and Twitter feed. But after Trump locked down the GOP nomination by winning Indiana’s primary, Kushner tapped Parscale, a political novice who built web pages for the Trump family’s business and charities, to begin an ambitious digital operation fashioned around a database they named Project Alamo. With Trump atop the GOP ticket, Kushner was eager to grow fast. “When we won the nomination, we decided we were going to do digital fundraising and really ramp this thing up to the next level,” says a senior official. Kushner, this official continued, “reached out to some Silicon Valley people who are kind of covert Trump fans and experts in digital marketing. They taught us about scaling. There’s really not that much of a difference between politics and regular marketing.

When Bannon joined the campaign in August, Project Alamo’s data began shaping even more of Trump’s political and travel strategy—and especially his fundraising. Trump himself was an avid pupil. Parscale would sit with him on the plane to share the latest data on his mushrooming audience and the $230 million they’ve funneled into his campaign coffers. Today, housed across from a La-Z-Boy Furniture Gallery along Interstate 410 in San Antonio, the digital nerve center of Trump’s operation encompasses more than 100 people, from European data scientists to gun-toting elderly call-center volunteers. They labor in offices lined with Trump iconography and Trump-focused inspirational quotes from Sheriff Joe Arpaio and evangelical leader Jerry Falwell Jr. Until now, Trump has kept this operation hidden from public view.

Clearly this operation is not about get out the vote. Author Joshua Green highlights the "exclusive" access he was given to the Trump "digital operation," but Ana Marie Cox knows the background -- that Trump has spent more on hats than polling. She she has to ask:


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GREEN: ....he has built massive small-dollar fund-raising operation, which because it was paid for by campaign funds, Trump can take after the election and use as an audience for a Trump TV network or a 2020 presidential run or some kind of media politics combination.

COX: So, it's a grift. a little bit. Like, because of the data he's gotten from the RNC that he now owns.

GREEN: I'll say this, it got cut from the piece, but I talked to a Republican strategist very much in the anti-Trump camp who likened this to the Nigerian prince spam we get in our emails, so yes, there are people who think this is a grift.

Gee, ya think? Green goes on to say that "Project Alamo" (yes, that's really the name) has not one but two "hat signing machines" to autograph the merch.

This isn't the first time a candidate has grifted rather than run a campaign. Don't forget that Trumpster Grifter Newt Gingrich spent most of his 2012 Presidential campaign hawking his wife's videography projects.

Grifters gotta grift, and grift together.

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