In These Times - October 30, 2020

"The pos­si­bil­i­ty of Trump declar­ing vic­to­ry before all of the votes are count­ed in an anti-demo­c­ra­t­ic pow­er grab has been a con­cern in Demo­c­ra­t­ic cir­cles for months, but the president’s for­mer chief strate­gist pre­view­ing such an out­come gives it fresh cre­dence. And, Ban­non con­tin­ued, ​“Once we set that pred­i­cate that Trump’s the win­ner on Elec­tion Day, that is mighty hard to unwind… He [Trump] is not going to go qui­et­ly into that good night, trust me.”

America’s frac­tured real­i­ties are now cen­ter stage. Just tour some of the major sto­ries being spun through groomed algo­rithms into news feeds across the country:

There’s the Tuck­er Carl­son-fueled scan­dal claim­ing the Covid-19 virus was actu­al­ly cre­at­ed in a lab­o­ra­to­ry in Wuhan, Chi­na, poten­tial­ly for use as a ​“bioweapon.” Then there are tales of a ​“com­ing coup” that Democ­rats are alleged­ly plan­ning after the elec­tion — a the­o­ry pushed by a for­mer Trump nation­al secu­ri­ty advis­er and cir­cu­lat­ed across extrem­ist online com­mu­ni­ties claim­ing a sea of ​“har­vest­ed bal­lots” will be used to steal the pres­i­den­cy from Don­ald Trump. And, more dark­ly, there are charges that Hunter Biden, the for­mer vice president’s son, is some­how involved in a child sex tor­ture traf­fick­ing ring — a con­spir­a­cy that’s been spec­u­lat­ed upon not just by con­ser­v­a­tive pun­dits but also sit­ting Repub­li­can mem­bers of Congress.

Such is a sam­pling of the mes­sag­ing strat­e­gy being car­ried out by lack­eys of the Trump cam­paign ahead of Elec­tion Day 2020, a bar­rage of false accu­sa­tions that side­step the dis­as­trous record of the incum­bent pres­i­dent and instead seek to por­tray his Demo­c­ra­t­ic oppo­nent Joe Biden as both wicked and a threat to the Amer­i­can way of life.  

Read full commentary at In These Times