This blog is basically about the natural beauty of our earth and about the dangers global warming and environmental degradation pose for our earth. But since Donald Trump is such a prominent enemy of both nature and the health of our earth, sometimes is necessary to talk about him and his political machinations. This is why environmental politics are a part of this blog. And will continue to be.
Unfortunately Donald Trump is now far ahead in the fight for the 2020 presidential election. At least in the digital battle for the election. And it looks as if this could be the most important aspect of this election.
In an article in the October 16, 2019 New York Times, Thomas B. Edsall wrote an article about why Donald Trump is far ahead in the digital battle for the 2020 election.
Edsall said that, “for all his negative poll numbers and impeachment-related liabilities, President Trump has a decisive advantage on one key election battleground: the digital campaign.”
I think this is an important article from several points of view.
For one thing, the article details how many elections in America are won these days. Our past few elections have had very little to do with democracy or the free choice of citizens. Elections are now a lot about the ability of campaigners to identify all voters individually (via their mobile phones) and then act on this info for each individual voter. Every voter can be manipulated via emails and texts and even personal visits to their homes, using all their most private beliefs, into voting for and donating to the party who has infiltrated them.
Democracy it seems, at least temporarily, may no longer a part of American politics. Instead of democracy, the largest amount of money controls digital supremacy and digital supremacy decides elections. And all this is made possible mostly by Facebook and Google. (Facebook is currently in the lead, it has double the user data that Google has.)
And Trump is now way ahead in digital campaigning
And unfortunately no one seems to have any idea of how this whole problem might be fixed.
The other important thing about this article is that it shows exactly how digital skullduggery may enable Trump to win the 2020 presidential election when he actually has nothing like a popular majority. His current approval rate is about 41% where it has hovered for most of his presidency.
Manipulating voters turns on having myriads of specific information about every voter in America. Edsall points out just how extensive this information is.
“Facebook … offers many more categories into which users can be sorted and targeted, including: location (state, ZIP code, or congressional district), demographics, age, gender, languages spoken, relationship status, education level, work status and place of employment, income, ‘ethnic affinity,’ generation, life events, politics, Facebook connections, plus a wide array of other interests and tracked behaviors online. In addition, at the time of this writing Facebook permitted targeting on the basis of likelihood to engage with political content and based on ideology (a scale from very conservative to very liberal).”
All of this information was originally collected by Google and Facebook for the use of commercial advertising. But now it has been turned to political purposes.
There is currently a huge gap between in digital spending between Democrats and Republicans. Trump has spent $15.9 million on the 2020 campaign while the top three Democratic front runners have spent $15.5 million between them. But these figures actually under-represent just how far Trump is ahead.
And, to be fair, it is not only Republicans who do this. Democrats also engage in digital persuasion. They are just not as good at it as Republicans are, and they are also not quite as unscrupulous. While Republicans have no hesitancy about targeting ethnic affinities or emotional factors or even blatant lies, Democrats mostly try to stick to facts. However, even Obama used individual digital targeting to win his elections. At that time his digital experts were just better than their Republican opponents. Individual digital targeting has been going on since at least the days of the George Bush election.
“While Democrats are clearly worried about the jump the Trump campaign has on them in digital tech, Republicans are ecstatic,” says Edsall. He quotes a Republican consulting firm: “Trump’s re-election quest “will be the most sophisticated data-driven campaign we’ve ever seen,” Reid Vineis, vice president for digital operations at Majority Strategies, a Republican consulting firm, told me.”
All this digital tech may help Trump win the election, but not necessarily. There are a lot of differences between the last election and the upcoming one. In the last election many Democrats figured that of course Hillary would win and didn’t bother to vote. In this election many, many Democrats are highly motivated to vote.
For another thing, according to the most serious polls like Nat Silver’s, Trump’s popularity is at only 41% of all voters. If there is a large democratic turnout in the 2020 election, they have a good chance of winning.
True, the Republicans, due to their gerrymandering efforts, can lose the popular vote by perhaps up to ten million, and still win the election in the electoral college. But if enough Democrats turn out, as it looks like they will, they very definitely can still win in the electoral college.
Another factor. It looks to me like Trump will not be able to add any more voters to his base than he already has; his base has been stuck at 41% for the last two years. It doesn’t look to me that Trump will be able to expand his base enough to win the election. It looks like he has already got everyone he can get. And with only 41% of the total vote, he just doesn’t have enough.
Hopefully, all of this will enable the Democrats to win the 2020 election. If they don’t, I’m afraid our country may be in for extremely serious problems in the future.
There is much more scary detail on how the Republics are ahead in the digitally in the full article. If you want to read it in detail, a link to the entire article follows.