WTF Community

🗳 2020 Primary Election


This Atlantic piece is truly frightening about the misinformation campaign being used by T 'n Co - and their expected media cost will be $1 Billion dollars. As was the case in 2016, there is a ton of micro-targeting going on…but the reinvention of the truth via pathways like Facebook and other social media arenas is stupefying.

Take a look here…WTFery for sure.

One day last fall, I sat down to create a new Facebook account. I picked a forgettable name, snapped a profile pic with my face obscured, and clicked “Like” on the official pages of Donald Trump and his reelection campaign. Facebook’s algorithm prodded me to follow Ann Coulter, Fox Business, and a variety of fan pages with names like “In Trump We Trust.” I complied. I also gave my cellphone number to the Trump campaign, and joined a handful of private Facebook groups for MAGA diehards, one of which required an application that seemed designed to screen out interlopers.

The president’s reelection campaign was then in the midst of a multimillion-dollar ad blitz aimed at shaping Americans’ understanding of the recently launched impeachment proceedings. Thousands of micro-targeted ads had flooded the internet, portraying Trump as a heroic reformer cracking down on foreign corruption while Democrats plotted a coup. That this narrative bore little resemblance to reality seemed only to accelerate its spread. Right-wing websites amplified every claim. Pro-Trump forums teemed with conspiracy theories. An alternate information ecosystem was taking shape around the biggest news story in the country, and I wanted to see it from the inside.

The story that unfurled in my Facebook feed over the next several weeks was, at times, disorienting. There were days when I would watch, live on TV, an impeachment hearing filled with damning testimony about the president’s conduct, only to look at my phone later and find a slickly edited video—served up by the Trump campaign—that used out-of-context clips to recast the same testimony as an exoneration. Wait , I caught myself wondering more than once, is that what happened today?

As I swiped at my phone, a stream of pro-Trump propaganda filled the screen: “That’s right, the whistleblower’s own lawyer said, ‘The coup has started …’ ” Swipe . “Democrats are doing Putin’s bidding …” Swipe . “The only message these radical socialists and extremists will understand is a crushing …” Swipe . “Only one man can stop this chaos …” Swipe , swipe , swipe .

I was surprised by the effect it had on me. I’d assumed that my skepticism and media literacy would inoculate me against such distortions. But I soon found myself reflexively questioning every headline. It wasn’t that I believed Trump and his boosters were telling the truth. It was that, in this state of heightened suspicion, truth itself—about Ukraine, impeachment, or anything else—felt more and more difficult to locate. With each swipe, the notion of observable reality drifted further out of reach.

What I was seeing was a strategy that has been deployed by illiberal political leaders around the world. Rather than shutting down dissenting voices, these leaders have learned to harness the democratizing power of social media for their own purposes—jamming the signals, sowing confusion. They no longer need to silence the dissident shouting in the streets; they can use a megaphone to drown him out. Scholars have a name for this: censorship through noise.

After the 2016 election, much was made of the threats posed to American democracy by foreign disinformation. Stories of Russian troll farms and Macedonian fake-news mills loomed in the national imagination. But while these shadowy outside forces preoccupied politicians and journalists, Trump and his domestic allies were beginning to adopt the same tactics of information warfare that have kept the world’s demagogues and strongmen in power.

Every presidential campaign sees its share of spin and misdirection, but this year’s contest promises to be different. In conversations with political strategists and other experts, a dystopian picture of the general election comes into view—one shaped by coordinated bot attacks, Potemkin local-news sites, micro-targeted fearmongering, and anonymous mass texting. Both parties will have these tools at their disposal. But in the hands of a president who lies constantly, who traffics in conspiracy theories, and who readily manipulates the levers of government for his own gain, their potential to wreak havoc is enormous.

The Trump campaign is planning to spend more than $1 billion, and it will be aided by a vast coalition of partisan media, outside political groups, and enterprising freelance operatives. These pro-Trump forces are poised to wage what could be the most extensive disinformation campaign in U.S. history. Whether or not it succeeds in reelecting the president, the wreckage it leaves behind could be irreparable.

The campaign doesn’t run just one ad at a time on a given theme. It runs hundreds of iterations—adjusting the language, the music, even the colors of the “Donate” buttons. In the 10 weeks after the House of Representatives began its impeachment inquiry, the Trump campaign ran roughly 14,000 different ads containing the word impeachment . Sifting through all of them is virtually impossible.

Both parties will rely on micro-targeted ads this year, but the president is likely to have a distinct advantage. The Republican National Committee and the Trump campaign have reportedly compiled an average of 3,000 data points on every voter in America. They have spent years experimenting with ways to tweak their messages based not just on gender and geography, but on whether the recipient owns a gun or watches the Golf Channel.

While these ads can be used to try to win over undecided voters, they’re most often deployed for fundraising and for firing up the faithful—and Trump’s advisers believe this election will be decided by mobilization, not persuasion. To turn out the base, the campaign has signaled that it will return to familiar themes: the threat of “illegal aliens”—a term Parscale has reportedly encouraged Trump to use—and the corruption of the “swamp.”


It took me a long time to get through this because it covers so much (& I had to let the dog out & in multiple times). This quote is near the end.

"The political theorist Hannah Arendt once wrote that the most successful totalitarian leaders of the 20th century instilled in their followers “a mixture of gullibility and cynicism.” When they were lied to, they chose to believe it. When a lie was debunked, they claimed they’d known all along—and would then “admire the leaders for their superior tactical cleverness.” Over time, Arendt wrote, the onslaught of propaganda conditioned people to “believe everything and nothing, think that everything was possible and that nothing was true.”


Sort of disappeared anyway…Joe Walsh suspends his campaign.



(David Bythewood) #559

Well of course he will. This was never about re-election, it’s about narcissism, and he thinks he can be president for life.


This news was eclipsed by the commotion of the last couple weeks, but it’s an awesome development for Susan Collins’s top Democratic opponent, Sara Gideon. :clap:

Planned Parenthood on Tuesday endorsed a Democrat hoping to challenge Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, saying Collins “turned her back” on women and citing her vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court as well as other judicial nominees who oppose abortion.

Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon of Freeport welcomed the endorsement from the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. “There’s never been a more important time to stand up for reproductive rights,” she said, in the face of “systematic attacks on reproductive rights across the country.”

Collins, who was honored by Planned Parenthood as recently as 2017 as “an outspoken champion for women’s health,” is facing perhaps the toughest reelection fight of her career. Critics have vowed they won’t forget her key vote for Kavanaugh, whose nomination survived an accusation that he sexually assaulted someone in high school.

From her decisive vote to confirm Kavanaugh to her refusal to stop Republican attacks on our health and rights, it’s clear that she has turned her back on those she should be championing,” said Alexis McGill Johnson, acting president and CEO of Planned Parenthood . She said Collins “has abandoned not only the people of Maine, but women across the country.”

The Impeachment of President Donald J. Trump

James Carville wants the Dems to win in 2020…but he is uncertain of this…

He wants the Dems to get a good sellable message and do not get lost in fringe(y) ideals - ie free tuition etc.




In a way, I kind of agree with that yelly old cable news man, it helps when you have clear messaging. There must be a better way to signal your position in a deeper social conversation without creating extreme headlines.

There’s so much noise, people aren’t tracking the candidates day by day. They only have time to catch the weird headlines on social media. Total turn off to regular voters because it requires a level of understanding that can only be achieved by keeping up with campaign news.

Candidates should pick their issue and beat It like a drum because it sure is loud out here in the city streets.


I agree…and don’t let T carry the narrative, or always reacting to what he’s doing or saying.

Health care…fair wages, infrastructure, education…those sorts of things are clearly defined issues.

(David Bythewood) #565

In an extraordinary and unexpected move, Federal Judge Eleanor Ross has declared Gov. Brian Kemp the loser in a lawsuit brought by investigative journalist Greg Palast to compel the State of Georgia to open up its complete files on the mass purge of over half a million voters from the rolls.

Surprising all parties, the judge ruled that Kemp’s defense was so weak that no trial is needed. The judge acted “sua sponte” — on her own initiative, unrequested by Palast’s attorneys.

(David Bythewood) #566

It’s gonna be a long damn election season.

(David Bythewood) #567

Trump begins his revenge against the Democrats by trying to disrupt the primaries:

Guess who’s back…

I had to double check and make sure this wasn’t an old article. It’s not, sadly.

Here are the QAnon supporters running for Congress in 2020

The QAnon conspiracy theory is rooted in the chan message boards. Here are 24 current or former congressional candidates who embrace it.


It’s remarkable that CNN is featuring this giant, banner headline. Glad to see that mainstream media is trumpeting this message. Yes, we want him gone, gone, gone.

I just had to do a screen capture to convey the enormity of it!


If you click on the screen capture above, it will take you to CNN’s live stream of the primaries, but not to the relevant section. You’ll need to scroll down to the section titled, Exit poll shows 81% of voters are “angry” about the Trump administration.

If you want to cut right to the chase, the article below describes the exit poll the banner headline is referencing. I’m stoked that CNN chose to take a single metric out of the poll and blow it up into a massive headline on their home page (above). Hope it stays in place for many hours.

Democratic voters turning out for Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary say they are looking for a candidate who can beat President Donald Trump over one who agrees with them on the issues by a roughly 2-to-1 margin, according to early exit polls conducted for CNN.

Six in 10 Democratic voters in New Hampshire prioritize a nominee who can beat Trump. Yet Democrats seem split over what qualities a candidate ought to have.

Just over a third say that they sought a candidate who could bring needed change, while about the same amount said they were seeking one who could unite the country. Far fewer prioritized finding a candidate who cares about people like them, and the share who said they were looking for a fighter landed in single digits.

Still, more than 8 in 10 who voted today say they plan to vote for the Democratic nominee in November regardless of who it is, while just 1 in 8 say they won’t.

Eight in 10 New Hampshire Democratic primary voters are angry at the Trump administration, the highest share of voters from the non-incumbent party who are angry stretching back to 2000, according to CNN exit polls. Six in 10 Republican primary voters were angry at the Obama administration in 2016, and 40% were angry in 2012. Meanwhile, 62% of Democratic primary voters were angry at the Bush administration in 2008, and 46% were angry in 2004.


Polls are closing in NH, results are starting to come in…


Yang is out!


Respect! Wishing Yang the best. Hoping he will pitch in and help elect the eventual nominee.


Michael Bennet out as well.


Bernie with 2 in 5 odds nationally. ThIs early race seems to be between all the moderates vs. Bernie.


:bookmark: Bookmark this one it’s a delegate count and calendar.