I enjoy making political mischief

The road to the presidency isn’t straight. The path winds uphill and down. Some hills are steep and slopes are slippery. Candidates face obstacles along the way. There are bumps, curves and detours. The marathon requires patience and endurance.

Politics are a magnet for dirty tricks. I confess to participating when viral chicanery sucked me into its web. Trump’s in Tulsa was beset with mis-steps. The first date chosen collided with Juneteenth. At the June 20 re-scheduled rally an unfilled arena greeted Trump.

Fear of the virus might have diminished turnout. Or perhaps it was the campaign by Tic Tok teens prmoted by a politically active grandmother to reserve tickets and not attend in order to inflate expected attendance.

When Trump planned his next gathering in Portsmouth, NH I got in on the prank and reserved two tickets to an event I had no intention of attending. I asked friends and relatives what to wear and chuckled every time I pressed “send” on my laptop. The rally was canceled “due to weather,” but I had fun.

What happened next was a bonus. I knew registration landed me in Trump’s data base of supporters, but wasn’t prepared for how often I heard from the campaign. In the name of Trump, Don Jr., Eric and his wife Lara. A half-dozen emails and a flood of texts a day begged for money. My daughter said unsubscribe, but I cherished my role as a pretend supporter.

I enjoyed being a spy to gain intel on fundraising ploys and methods aimed at little people like me. Frequent messages were designed to:

• Flatter — “When you make your FIRST contribution of ANY AMOUNT, you’ll instantly join the ranks in the Trump Donor Hall of Fame. This prestigious group will be remembered forever as the Patriots who won us the 2020 Election, and I’m offering YOU a spot.”

• Appeal to patriotism — “I want to know who stood with me during this crucial time. I’ve asked to see a list of EVERY Patriot who steps up to help us reach our $1,000,000 goal by 1:59 PM TONIGHT. I hope I see your name.”

“This email is for PATRIOTS ONLY and is not intended to be shared.”

• Appeal to vanity — “As a Trump Team Leader you will be one of the most important assets for the President and all Republicans across the country in 2020. Democrats and the Fake News will do whatever they can to take us down.”

• Make me feel special — “Since you’ve been such an important part of our movement, I wanted to give you this exclusive opportunity to become an Official 2020 Trump Platinum Member.”

“Because of your unwavering loyalty and dedicated support, YOU were identified as one of the few Patriots who qualified for the Trump Donor Hall of Fame.”

“President Trump always cares what YOU think about these important decisions so he’s asked us to reach out to his BEST supporters for their input.”

• Use guilt — “I’ve asked my team to pull the records of my BEST donors — our most loyal Patriots who I can always count on when I need them the most. I’m disappointed to say that when I asked for your file, they told me you’ve NEVER contributed.”

• Use more guilt — “Where have you been? President Trump is heading to Texas on July 29th for a special event and he wants YOU right there with him as his special VIP guest. He knows you’re one of his most loyal allies, which is why he wants to use this time to discuss a few key campaign strategies with you.”

“Have you stopped checking your email? You’ve been invited to join the President at the 2020 Convention Celebration in Florida, but our records show that you’ve IGNORED all of our emails.”

• Leverage the truth — “The truth is, we’re ONLY offering this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to President Trump’s MOST LOYAL supporters, like YOU, and we know he’ll be really disappointed if you don’t enter to win. We can only accept 100 more entries today — make sure yours is one of them.”

• Issue challenges — “With just over 100 DAYS LEFT until the most important election in American history, it’s absolutely critical that you activate your Trump Executive Membership.”

• Hawk books, “limited-edition” Freedom 2020 Hats and “PERSONALIZED SIGNED photos of President Trump.”

Trump’s campaign has bigger problems than me, a nosy writer with a sense of humor looking for a column. He can’t find a city to host his coronation.

That this election year is unusual is an understatement. The pandemic transforms business as usual. No glad handing, a political staple. Meet and greets are scarce as hens teeth. The Republican convention to crown the incumbent will be a shadow of its former splendor.

Charlotte, my former hometown, won the right to host the event but insisted on scaled-down hoopla because of the virus. That decision led Trump to choose Jacksonville, FL for his balloon drop. Last week reality landed with a thud in the Oval Office when Trump abruptly cancelled on Jacksonville, bowing to overdue common sense.

As for me? I hope they keep those entertaining emails coming.