President Donald Trump and his team now face a new obstacle obstructing his path to a second term in office.
Trump’s campaign used the 4th of July weekend to test-drive its text messaging program, a cornerstone of its small-donor outreach and its voter turnout plan. But after sending out over 1 million patriotic-themed messages, the enterprise was taken offline by anti-spam monitors employed by mobile phone giants.
People familiar with the chain of events said Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T flagged potential regulatory problems with the peer-to-peer messaging operation, which differs from robo-texting in that texts are sent individually, as opposed to a mass blast. But within Trump’s orbit, the episode has further fueled suspicions that big tech companies are looking to influence the election.
“A campaign’s email and text messaging list are some of the most important assets they have in 2020,” Republican digital strategist Eric Wilson said stressing it was “really very concerning to see that such a significant issue happened and to see that it wasn’t resolved in a timely manner.”
The Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association, a trade organization representing mobile phone outfits added, “We expect all senders — whether airlines, schools, banks or campaigns — to include clear opt-out language and gain prior consent before sending a text.” And stated, “These simple steps help protect consumers from spam and maintain text messaging as a trusted medium for everyone.”
Ex-GOP consultant Tim Cameron claimed, “They’re all working to get out the vote, so to see telecom come down and prevent any campaign or organization from getting out the vote is troubling.”
“Peer-to-peer texting has quickly become a critical tool for Republicans and Democrats. Both sides agree, it’s going to lead to more Americans voting, a great thing for our country,” Trump campaign digital director Gary Coby declared. “There is bipartisan commitment to continue working with mobile carriers and the entire mobile messaging industry to ensure the channel remains open and secure.” This could be a game changer in the presidential race.