Middle America Does Not Have a Monopoly on Tough Times

Drew Magary, writing for GQ:

Middle America does not have a monopoly on tough times. There are a lot of people living in cities and elsewhere who have it just as rough, if not worse. And guess what? No one seems to give a shit. In fact, the GOP just orchestrated a whole campaign to disenfranchise a lot these voters, so you’ll pardon me if I save my empathy for the people who are actually screwed now, instead of the voters who did the screwing. I’d rather not waste my time trying to psychoanalyze why so many people were captivated by a political message rooted in pure hate. There’s no time for that. I’m going to fight instead.

Voter Suppression Using Facebook Dark Posts

Some amount of credit for the win must be directed at the digital operation, which was profiled at length in Bloomberg Businessweek.

An alarming, but unsurprising, statement made in that profile:

“We have three major voter suppression operations under way,” says a senior official. They’re aimed at three groups Clinton needs to win overwhelmingly: idealistic white liberals, young women, and African Americans.

Some of the tactics used to drive this suppression have recently been reported, including the use of "Dark Posts" via Facebook Ads:

For example, Trump’s digital team created a South Park-style animation of Hillary Clinton delivering the “super predator” line (using audio from her original 1996 sound bite), as cartoon text popped up around her: “Hillary Thinks African Americans are Super Predators.” Then, Trump’s animated “super predator” political advertisement was delivered to certain African American voters via Facebook “dark posts” — nonpublic paid posts shown only to the Facebook users that Trump chose.

Many people are susceptible to believing anything they see on Facebook or Google. The idea that anything could be loaded into a Dark Post and receive massive, targeted distribution via Facebook Ads without broad public scrutiny is alarming.

facebook and political media

It's amazing how far Facebook has come since the 2008 election: from a grassroots organizing, novelty poll generating curiosity to a dominant pillar in shaping the national political conversation.

This year, political content has become more popular all across the platform: on homegrown Facebook pages, through media companies with a growing Facebook presence and through the sharing habits of users in general. But truly Facebook-native political pages have begun to create and refine a new approach to political news: cherry-picking and reconstituting the most effective tactics and tropes from activism, advocacy and journalism into a potent new mixture. This strange new class of media organization slots seamlessly into the news feed and is especially notable in what it asks, or doesn’t ask, of its readers. The point is not to get them to click on more stories or to engage further with a brand. The point is to get them to share the post that’s right in front of them. Everything else is secondary.

To Trump, Even Losing Is Winning

Neal Gabler, a favorite, for the New York Times:

People run for the presidency for all sorts of reasons. But Donald J. Trump may be the first to run because he sees a presidential campaign as the best way to attract attention to himself. There seems to be no other driving passion in him, certainly not the passion to govern.

Clearly.

Attention has always been the foundation of Mr. Trump’s modus operandi. Basically, he sells his name: Trump steaks, Trump water, Trump University. You have to hand it to him, though. He discovered that, in a celebrity society like ours, where so many people are competing for attention, running for president puts you a leg up even on the Kardashians.

How do we keep this from happening again?

apoplectic

What a great word.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus is "apoplectic" over Donald Trump's refusal to back House Speaker Paul Ryan or Sen. John McCain, a top Republican source said.

Starting to wonder if this campaign has a bottom...

(Related.)