Operation designed to stop conservative citizens casting votes during midterm elections
Several Democratic operatives, led by a former Obama official, have been caught running an operation designed stop conservatives from voting during the midterm elections.
The scheme was devised to convince conservative voters to switch to voting for Democrat candidates or not turn up to vote at all.
The operatives, funded by left-wing tech billionaire Reid Hoffman, set up a misleading online campaign posing as disgruntled conservatives who claimed that “real conservatives” were boycotting the Republican Party and switching to vote Democrat instead.
Fake Facebook pages were set up and run ads designed to convince GOP voters not to vote in the midterms.
The bombshell discovery was made during an investigation by The Daily Caller News Foundation which found that the operatives ran a widespread campaign in the run-up to the 2018 midterm elections.
Hoffman, the liberal billionaire exposed for paying for the scheme, was also recently found to have previously funded a “false flag” effort in the 2017 Alabama special election.
According to theDCNF, American Engagement Technologies (AET), which was founded by former Obama administration official Mikey Dickerson, bought ads for two Facebook pages, “The Daily Real” and “Today’s Nation,” encouraging Republican voters to stay home in the midterm elections, Facebook’s ad archives show.
Both pages appear to be designed to give the impression that they were operated by frustrated conservatives rather than by Democratic operatives.
The American flag-adorned pages encouraged conservative voters to either stay home in November or vote for Democrats to punish Republicans for being insufficiently conservative.
Other ads called polls predicting a “blue wave” in the 2018 elections “unreliable” and downplayed the election’s importance.
The misleading ads collectively garnered millions of impressions on Facebook, TheDCNF’s review of Facebook’s archives found.
Hoffman, a co-founder of LinkedIn and an early investor in Facebook, previously acknowledged funding AET after both he and the group came under fire for running a self-described “false flag” campaign during the 2017 Alabama special election.
That misinformation campaign was intended to falsely link Republican senatorial candidate Roy Moore to Russian influence operations.
AET’s operations in the 2018 midterm elections show that the Hoffman-funded group went further than previously known in attempting to mislead American voters for the purpose of swinging an election.
One series of ads pushed the narrative that the Democratic “blue wave” was actually a “myth” and said the polls showing a Democratic advantage were “unreliable.”
Another series set of ads pushed a narrative that congressional Republicans were betraying “real conservatives.”
“Some Trump supporters see midterm losses for congressional republicans [sic] as a wake-up call to get serious on the wall,” the Democratic operatives wrote in another post.
Another post included a link to an article about frustrated populist Republicans and stressed the need to “send a message” because “Trump is failing us.”
A similar ad, referring to the midterm elections, told voters that “none of this even matters” and chided “both sides” for “shouting so much.”
Another ad told voters that “both sides are a mess.”
One series of ads told voters that there were “No good choices” in the midterm elections.
Voting for Democrats to send a message “feels like the best option,” the Democratic operatives wrote.
Other ads linked to an article that urged “Semi-Trumpers” to either cross party lines, vote third-party or stay home in November, rather than vote Republican.
“Even more true in light of the recent violence,” read the caption.
“If you aren’t helping, don’t show up.”
A similar set of ads linked to an article that called for Republican voters to boycott the GOP.
The post was captioned: “I hope folks go for this. Seems like the only thing that can save true conservatives.”
Neither Dickerson nor Hoffman returned requests for comment.
Another Hoffman-funded group, News for Democracy, similarly used a patriotic-themed page called “Our Flag Our Country” to push anti-Trump messaging in the midterms, as The Washington Post reported on Monday.
Facebook is investigating whether News for Democracy violated its rules against misleading political advertising, according to the Post.