The unraveling of Donald Trump’s campaign has forced him to throw a Hail Mary pass with which the Republican party is fairly familiar: black voter suppression.
A report from Joshua Green of Business Week was released this morning detailing the Trump camp’s plans to suppress African American voter turnout through a below-the-radar Facebook campaign. The campaign, which would focus on Clinton’s use of the phrase “super predators” to refer to some African-American males, would take the form of “South Park-style animation” with a cartoon Clinton delivering her super predator line in its original 1996 audio while the words “Hillary Thinks African Americans are Super Predators” pop onto the screen.
The campaign is planning on using the cartoon campaign in what Businessweek referred to as “dark” Facebook posts–read: targeted, paid posts.
The black voter suppression campaign won’t be limited to Facebook: On Oct. 24, Trump’s team has also bought spots on select African-American has also begun to purchase radio spots on select African American radio stations.
The attempt to discourage black voters is just one of “three major voter suppression operations” which the Trump campaign has undertaken. One involves targeting young women through the invocation of Bill Clinton’s sordid past with infidelities and the parade of women who have claimed that Bill sexually assaulted them, aimed at young women. The other suppression campaign is aimed at young political idealists, Bernie Bros and Gals, through highlighting Clinton’s WikiLeaks e-mails and her support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
How quickly people forget that Crooked Hillary called African-American youth "SUPER PREDATORS" – Has she apologized?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 26, 2016
Trump’s plans for a black voter suppression campaign may not be new in terms of their goal, but are fairly novel with regard to medium. As the Business Week report states, Trump’s effort to “discourage young women by rolling out Clinton accusers” and to “drive down black turnout in Miami’s Little Haiti neighborhood with targeted messages about the Clinton Foundation’s controversial operations in Haiti” is a gamble. It is far from traditional for campaigns to spend a great swath of their data resources targeting their opponent’s constituents rather than they’re own. As Green points out, “It could just as easily end up motivating them.”
One thing is certain though. The mass of data the Trump campaign has aggregated since the start of his campaign–campaign officials have stated that they foresee the campaign collecting between 12 and 14 million email addresses and the contact information for 2.5 million “small-dollar” donors–will make a nearly perfect jump-off point for a future Trump network. And as Green pointed out, since Trump paid for his campaign himself, he alone will own access to this trove of information.
Almost as scary a thought as Trump’s finger on the button.
[via Bloomberg Businessweek]