Tomorrow’s inauguration of The Donald promises to be rancorous, with plenty of the usual suspects showing up to protest. In recent years, one of the more common political movement descriptions has been “astroturfing.” Why astroturf? It’s fake grass, of course – and the astroturfers are guilty of setting up fake grass-roots movements, using a very few, very loud people to make their case.
A comment I made the other day on this story got me to thinking, though. Might there be a business opportunity here? Providing protestors on demand, say, for a variety of causes? Maybe covering both sides of an issue at the same protest? Reproduced below is a hypothetical interview I posted at the link, between an unnamed interviewer and the protest organizer:
Interviewer: “So, you will supply protesters on demand?”
Protest Organizer: “Sure. As many as you like.”
I: “For what causes?”
PO: “Oh, any cause. Any cause at all.”
I: “Any cause?”
PO: “Sure. Remember that big fracas at the President’s press conference last week? All the people in the street screaming and throwing things at each other?”
PO: “Mine. Those were all my people. Both sides.”
I: “Both sides?”
PO: “Yep. Both sides.”
I: “Don’t you have any principles at all?”
PO: “Sure. The kind that involves cashing checks.”
Capitalism at its finest; see a need, create a business to fill it.
It seems to me that the key to success in such a venture is to be completely impartial in providing paid protestors; double your market share, as it were, at a stroke. Personally I’d draw the line at supporting terror groups or anyone advocating violence, but other than that – go for it. Political rally? Supply protestors for both sides. Animal rights kooks protesting? Provide vegan bikini bunnies and pro-meat grower protesters alike.
Double your money, double your fun!
Is this possible business model cynical and mercenary? You bet your sweet bippy it is. But it might just be a viable model: Very little overhead, a wide market, sustainable as long as political and social issues still cause tension in our country.