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Trump's Fundraising E-mails Depend on Fear

An e-mail Donald Trump sent out recently had as the subject line: "They were authorized to shoot me." It was a fundraising e-mail. The point was if you gave Trump your last $10, that would deauthorize "them" from shooting Trump. Or something. The preview was: "I nearly escaped death. Biden's DOJ was locked and loaded for deadly force at Mar-a-Lago ..." This was complete nonsense, of course, but Trump needed to get his supporters to read the pitch. When someone is getting 10 e-mails a day from Trump, getting people to read them is increasingly difficult.

What the e-mail was actually about was a recently unsealed document about a 2022 FBI search of Mar-a-Lago looking for classified documents, something a federal judge had approved. The search was as low-key as possible, with no helicopters or even FBI vehicles. No doors were knocked down. All that was in the document was standard boilerplate language from the Justice Dept. manual explaining the limited circumstances in which agents were allowed to use force—namely, if the target completely blocked execution of the court order. Trump wasn't even at Mar-a-Lago when the agents were there. But Trump's version was more likely to scare the recipients into getting out their credit cards.

With so many e-mails a day from the campaign, Trump needs to find some way to get people to pay attention, and scaring the bejezus out of them seems to be the one he has chosen as #1. But there are diminishing returns here. You can get the supporters worried about imminent harm to the candidate only so many times a day before they become immune to it. Perhaps readers are familiar with the story of the boy who cried wolf.

Another popular way to get people to read the e-mails is to dangle a prize in the subject line, like: "There are sweepstakes to win trips to Las Vegas and London. (You can enter to win with a $20.24 contribution)." When there is a chance of winning a prize, people will look at the e-mail. Of course, even if it is true, the chance of winning is microscopic, and it might not even be true. Of course, when this also runs out of steam, Trump will have to try something else. How about reducing the e-mail load to two messages a week? That might work, but Trump is not going there. (V)

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