For Donald Trump’s re-election campaign, there seems to be one issue more pressing than pushing for the border wall, heralding his accomplishments, or taking shots at his prospective opponents — wishing himself and his wife a happy birthday.
As Vice News reported, Trump has bought close to $1 million worth of Facebook ads celebrating his own birthday and encouraging supporters to sign a card sending their wishes. One of the ads claimed that Trump would personally read the name of every supporter who signed the card, then implored, “Will he see your name?”
As the report noted, the cards have helped Trump’s campaign build a giant database of voter information that will help later fundraising efforts — and it has been very effective so far.
“Imposing an arbitrary deadline for supporters to act, the birthday ads have been essential to a digitally savvy Trump campaign that strategists say has built out a sizable early lead over Democrats in collecting voter data,” the report noted.
Marne Pike, CEO of digital strategy firm Veracity Media, told Vice News that the birthday card is a savvy way to engage people who normally might not wade into political issues. But it has also garnered some criticism for Trump, as the self-congratulatory card constitutes the bulk of his campaign’s digital spending to date. In fact, the $752,000 that his campaign spent on Facebook birthday messages was more than any Democratic candidate spent on any other single issue.
POTUS spent $1 mill (of money raised from whatever supporters) wishing himself a happy birthday — while also passing a pile of money to Facebook. Tell me again how we've learned from 2016? https://t.co/twYwm1Eh53
— Molly McKew (@MollyMcKew) June 14, 2019
Trump has enlisted his entire family to push the birthday cards, the report noted, with his sons and wife Melania sending messages asking fans to wish Donald a happy birthday. Other ads implored followers to sign a birthday card for Melania Trump, though some of these were removed by Facebook for an unknown reason.
While Donald Trump has turned his birthday into a self-celebration and campaign strategy, the president’s critics turned the day into an ode to his most-hated political opponent. Many dubbed Friday, June 14, to be John McCain Day, honoring the late senator and frequent target of Trump’s ire. Many spread messages on social media praising McCain for his service to the country.
As CNN reported, the idea started with Andy Lassner, executive producer of The Ellen DeGeneres Show and one of Trump’s chief critics online.
“Honoring an American hero today,” Lassner wrote. “Let’s celebrate @realDonaldTrump’s birthday today by having #JohnMcCainDay trend. I’m sure this would mean a lot to [a] patriot like Donald Trump.”
The idea quickly took hold, with many forgoing birthday messages to Donald Trump in favor of praise for John McCain.