Last weekend, The New York Times reported on a particularly sleazy way the Trump campaign earned donations in the final months leading up to the 2020 election: They pre-checked yellow boxes asking supporters to make their payments recurring. Many didn’t un-check that box and were astounded, even devastated financially, upon finding their bank accounts unwittingly drained. Now there’s a similar trick is afoot, this time with an over-the-top, threatening message to go with it.
As per the Times, a group called the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) has been sending out donation forms, also with a pre-checked box denoting a monthly charge. There’s also some rather intense text to go with it.
“We need to know we haven’t lost you to the Radical Left,” it reads. “If you UNCHECK this box, we will have to tell Trump you’re a DEFECTOR & sides with the Dems.”
Bullying language and all-caps words aside, it’s the same ploy the Trump campaign used, forcing donators to uncheck the box to stop recurring payments they might not want or be able to pay. Consumer advocates called the measure a “dark pattern,” especially considering the Trump team was forced to pay $122 million in refunds during the 2020 cycle to their own supporters. (Donation refunds are not uncommon, but compare and contrast with the Biden campaign, which refunded almost $100 million less during the same period.)
Still, people were surprised by the new, cartoonishly aggressive language.
— Tim Miller (@Timodc) April 7, 2021
This is the NRCC's homepage prechecked donation box right now.
— Shane Goldmacher (@ShaneGoldmacher) April 7, 2021
It seemed unlikely that Trump would be told about each every so-called “defector.”
Not only does it make you a defector, Trump will be told about it… https://t.co/Q0zBbftdFf
— Josh Dawsey (@jdawsey1) April 7, 2021
But it does seem likely some of his supporters would believe that.
Note that they believe – and they're probably right – that at least some of their own supporters think there will be an actual phone call placed to Trump to inform him that Fred Snerdglurp of Pensacola is a DEFECTOR from the cause, and Trump will be very disappointed. https://t.co/UDU1xye963
— Paul Waldman (@paulwaldman1) April 7, 2021
As gross as this pre-checked box bullying tactic is from the @NRCC, the truly scary part is the huge number of people in the MAGAverse who will comply out of fear of disappointing their HeroDaddy. Never have a group of people so pathetic been so dangerous. #MAGA #GOP #defectors https://t.co/F5NlegJi75
— Rupert Woozley (@HainsworthMyles) April 7, 2021
More than that, it just seemed weird.
DEFECTOR! Wow, this is an incredibly scary email from the Republican Party to their own supporters. pic.twitter.com/ovB6VP16N0
— Vaccinated American (@seankent) April 7, 2021
Republicans telling their own supporters that if they don't give money they are a "DEFECTOR" and the party "will have to tell Trump" on them. This is some super-culty shit of the Scientologist / Stalinist / Jim Jones / Kim Jong-un variety. pic.twitter.com/rfiYbOe8Xn
— Eugene V. Belitsky (@Jhenya_Belitsky) April 7, 2021
And it drove many to simply make jokes.
Tired: Cancel culture
Wired: Defector culture https://t.co/LPyS9MACKD
— Ezra Klein (@ezraklein) April 7, 2021