Weaponized AstroTurf

Many of you know I used to be involved with the left.  And even in those days I found them puzzling.  They seemed to have a love for committees, coalitions, ad hoc emergency councils.  The punchline is there seemed to be more of these groupings than people … the same handful of leftists would create one group after another, punch out a batch of propaganda, and disappear back into the mists.  Even among them there was a joke– one Trotskyist is a tendency, two is a faction, three is a split.

This has been a theme, not just of my campaign, but many of my writings – that the left as we know it is the same twelve loudmouths who are good at shouting their agenda but don’t represent any real people.  I call it weaponized AstroTurf.

Now these activists have been around for a while.  In fact, one can say they’ve been around since the late 60’s, using the same lingo and tactics, desperately trying to revive their lost glory.  But weaponized AstroTurfing really age under the Obama administration, something I became aware of years ago when the Democrats started using it against the Jews.  Since Obama wasn’t getting the support he wanted from Jews for things like the Iran deal or his campaign against Netanyahu, he looked to AstroTurf groups like JStreet or Jewish Voice for Peace.

And then there was the whole issue of Obama auditing conservative groups.  Why is this important?  Because of the irony.  Many of the AstroTurf groups on the left are taking advantage of the very non-partisan “social welfare” status that conservative groups were audited for under Obama.  Examples are Crowdpac, a registered B corporation, and Indivisible, a 501c4.  Both classifications prohibit political activity from being the organization’s primary activity.  And yet a quick look at their front pages tells you otherwise.

I could keep listing them… they are rich and varied, from obvious Astroturf like the Anne Frank Center, to more subtle groups like ADL or SPLC which play off their historic name for Silicon Valley leftist dollars.  I’ll leave alone people like Zoe Quinn who have their own bot army ready to attack anyone who contradicts them.  Or how the major media and big business are all behind them.

But what does that mean for the rest of us?  Those of us private citizens who just want to get to the truth and have frank discussions with others over the internet?  It means to be very wary of who you talk to and who you trust on the internet.  Organizations can buy thousands of followers quickly – and with the blessing of the Twitter or Facebook censors can get that amplified further.  A group with thousands of likes or followers could well be one or two college graduates, looking to build their place in the Demoratic Party apparatus.

Meanwhile, don’t feel overwhelmed by negative feedback.  A lot of times it’s just one person with multiple accounts.  As I keep saying, propaganda isn’t about convincing you of an idea, it’s convincing you that you’re the only person who doesn’t believe that idea.

My hope is that in the months to come we can out more of this Astroturfing, and show that what we’re up against is just some lonely wizard behind a curtain.  But it’ll have to be us doing the outing, and it’ll be us having to publicize this information.  We can’t rely on institutions or representatives.