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Trump rallies are the centrifugal force driving his campaign. And the campaign has weaponized them to hoover up maximum attendee data.

  • "Axios on HBO" looked inside the campaign's systematic efforts to gather as much information as possible about attendees — information they hope will supercharge the Trump re-election bid.

Here's how it works: Trump's team has designed the sign-up process — and key parts of the rally buildup — to suck a maximum of information from the people attending. Cellphone numbers are their most prized assets.

  • The data pitches are beamed from Trump surrogates on the screens outside the venues, from a well-rehearsed warm-up speech by campaign manager Brad Parscale, and from the omnipresent MAGA merchandise stalls inside the rally.

Why it matters: Sources in the Trump camp say they hope to cash in on the base-first strategy that put their candidate in the White House back in 2016. For that to work, they need to know everything about their base. And these rallies may make that possible.

The big picture: The affection between the Trump campaign team and the thousands of people who flock to his rallies is mutual — and strong. In fact, impromptu campsites also spring up around the rallies, as our film crew documented last month in freezing conditions in Manchester, New Hampshire.

And Manchester is no fluke. Trump supporters have also literally pitched their tents for overnight stays before rallies around the country:

"I did it once — it's addictive," one of the frozen MAGA campers told "Axios on HBO." "It's like, I've gotta do another one. Because I've never had the opportunity to express such love. Everybody's in love here."

Team Trump is in love, too.

Go deeper

Tech scrambles to derail inauguration threats

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Tech companies are sharing more information with law enforcement in a frantic effort to prevent violence around the inauguration, after the government was caught flat-footed by the Capitol siege.

Between the lines: Tech knows it will be held accountable for any further violence that turns out to have been planned online if it doesn't act to stop it.

Dave Lawler, author of World
30 mins ago - World

Uganda's election: Museveni declared winner, Wine claims fraud

Wine rejected the official results of the election. Photo: Sumy Sadruni/AFP via Getty

Yoweri Museveni was declared the winner of a sixth presidential term on Saturday, with official results giving him 59% to 35% for Bobi Wine, the singer-turned-opposition leader.

Why it matters: This announcement was predictable, as the election was neither free nor fair and Museveni had no intention of surrendering power after 35 years. But Wine — who posed a strong challenged to Museveni, particularly in urban areas, and was beaten and arrested during the campaign — has said he will present evidence of fraud. The big question is whether he will mobilize mass resistance in the streets.

Off the Rails

Episode 1: A premeditated lie lit the fire

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. Axios takes you inside the collapse of a president with a special series.

Episode 1: Trump’s refusal to believe the election results was premeditated. He had heard about the “red mirage” — the likelihood that early vote counts would tip more Republican than the final tallies — and he decided to exploit it.

"Jared, you call the Murdochs! Jason, you call Sammon and Hemmer!”