Sunday, April 2, 2023

The Spirit of 2016 and the Illegal Meme


For some people, it's never stopped being 2020, and for the immuno-suppressed and their families, I get that. For me, it's never stopped being 2016, when begun, the meme wars were. The 2016 presidential election had an extraordinary amount to do with digital presence, and I don't think we've yet absorbed all of the lessons from how foreign influencers and Pepe-heads took over the conversation and suppressed part of the vote or rendered the importance of the franchise to "vibes". 

I have talked about the Brad Parscale/Internet Research Agency dual strategies at targeted voter suppression a few times in the course of TrumpWorld Grab-Bags because the similarities in tactics were tandem and synergetic. The Trump campaign in 2016 deliberately worked to target Black voters and peel them off of from the Democratic candidate. The same thing was done with the IRA

So if we take a look at recently convicted Douglass Mackey, who created voter suppression memes during 2016 as part of his online "Ricky Vaughn" persona, we see an individual not necessarily directly associated with a campaign or foreign influence, who nonetheless tried to influence an election through fraud. The text message, the option to vote via text, was inauthentic. The line was real, if not a valid way to vote. 

This reminds me a lot of Jacob Wohl, who along with Jack Burkman attempted to suppress the Black vote in 2020 via robocalls to dissuade Black voters from mailing in ballots because it might expose them to unwanted legal scrutiny. (A stunt that no less than--for no less exists--Fl. Governor Ron DeSantis tried to make a whole new reality.) This kind of inauthentic and misleading messaging, often targeted at minority voters, is not new for Republicans. Robocalls have been used before, sometimes in the form of push polls against candidates but also sometimes to misrepresent the date of voting. There are lots of ways Republicans have used to disenfranchise voters

But let's get back to 2016 and Mackey; who Don Jr. wants to tell us was a really really great shitposter back in the day.  Yeah, like a total white supremacist one. If you remember 2016, though, this was when the twin failsons Mike Flynn Jr. and Don Trump Jr. were reposting Pepe pump heads and anti-Semitic shit all the time. Like it was their jobs. (So did Flynn pere, so much so that I started to think about psyops even before the Russia/Turkey reveals and the more obvious psyop/Qanon/syncretic religion/digital soldier shit he's on about now.)  They displayed no standards for truth or concept that racism was even a dealbreaker. It was about winning--no matter what. 

No wonder the defense of Donald Trump in his 2016 election-campaign fraud hush money problem relies on chatter about ((Soros))) owned Bragg. (A highly respected and educated Harvard Law School graduate DA who is not, actually, in any way backed by George Soros so much as the law.)  It's based in pure racism, and assumptions about who has validity to talk and be represented in society--who should be untouchable, who should be cowed. 

Anyway, as with Fox News or Twitter Nazis, this is not about First Amendment rights being abridged, but whether people are responsibly using their speech to inform, not to defraud, defame or libel. His prosecution began under AG Bill Barr (so it was not some prejudicial Biden Administration deal) and one of his alleged co-conspirators was "Baked Alaska". Trump fans are not bright but are very committed, often to various correctional institutions. 

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