Back in the 1960’s the Republican Party went all in on “ratfucking”, the practice of winning elections by any means necessary. They tricked people into voting on the wrong day. They fooled people into thinking a Democratic candidate was gay (this was the 60s) or a criminal or otherwise “damaged”. They pulled all kinds of shady and illegal stuff to win until they got overconfident and the Watergate investigation brought it all crashing down.
After that, they were much more careful but they continued to cheat and lie and steal to win for the next 50 years, growing increasingly bold (or desperate depending on your point of view) and ambitious as the country’s demographics and their own growing extremism made the Republican Party increasingly toxic. This pattern of recklessness and escalating illegal behavior culminated in the 2016 election of Donald Trump, what should have been the crowning achievement of the right’s 50 year crusade to ratfuck America.
But with the release of a secretly recorded video of the CEO of Cambridge Analytica, a “data analysis” firm bankrolled by the right wing extremist Mercer family, detailing all the different ways they illegally rig elections, it’s become clear that we’re about to experience another Watergate moment but on a scale we haven’t begun to grapple with:
A British television station broadcast video Monday apparently showing the head of the data analysis firm Cambridge Analytica, which worked for President Trump’s 2016 campaign, talking about using bribes, traps involving sex workers and other unethical tactics to swing elections around the world.
The broadcast by Channel 4 News offered no evidence that such methods were used during Cambridge Analytica’s work for the Trump campaign, which paid the firm at least $6 million. But the broadcast sparked a fresh round of questions about a company already embroiled in controversy about its use of personal information from tens of millions of Facebooks users — the vast majority of whom had no idea their names, likes and work histories had been collected for political purposes.
CA is insisting that it didn’t actually do any of those things but the CEO, Alexander Nix, spends an awful lot of time on that tape being awfully specific about things his company “doesn’t” do. It’s kind of like listening to a mafia hitman talk about how, “hypothetically”, if he were to have whacked 30 guys, these are the ways he’d have done it. But, you know, he didn’t really do it. Wink, wink.
Oh, and as Rachel Maddow pointed out last night, Cambridge Analytica shared all of their methods on how to target Americans for online ratfucking propaganda with Lukoil, a Russian oil company that just happens to be run by the Kremlin. Why would a Russian oil company want to know about political targeting during an American election? We may never know. Wink, wink.
Cat’s out of the bag now, though, and the coming investigations into Cambrdgie Analytica’s corrupt operations will lead investigators to other avenues of ratfucking which will lead to more and more criminal activities like a giant set of dominoes that will crush anyone and everyone involved, especially once the Democrats take control of the House and Republicans won’t be able to protect their benefactors anymore. The GOP will bitch and moan about “witch hunts” and the like but after their hamfisted protection of Trump, Republican credibility is hovering somewhere between zero and “Are you fucking kidding me?”
In the end, Republicans and the right wing billionaires that own them will have slit their own throats. There’s a easy way to shoot down conspiracy theory nonsense like “Global Warming is a hoax perpetrated by tens of thousands of scientists” in that the larger a conspiracy gets, the exponentially more difficult it gets to conceal. Somewhere along the line, the powers that be of the right forgot that truth. They’ve created a machine dedicated to illegally stealing elections that is so large and complex that it is now impossible to hide. It’s been there for a while but Trump’s people are so sloppy and undisciplined (while Trump himself is forcing others with even a tiny shred of conscience to blow the whistle) that it’s all being exposed in very short order. Wait until the inevitable links to Fox News start to crop up. The panic on the right will be palpable.
The money behind it all, the Mercers, the Kochs, etc., will never be touched because they’re protected by their billions, but the machine will be torn apart and that is the only thing keeping the Republican Party in power. Without it, the GOP will crumble as their candidates are forced to appeal to a broader, more moderate base that currently does not exist. It will take years, if not decades, for the right to reorient itself away from the rabid white nationalism and extremism the ratfucking machine enabled.
It’s going to ugly. It’s going to be messy. It’s going get violent as the right lashes out in rage because they won’t be able to use fronts like Cambridge Analytica to keep stealing elections. But in the end it’s all going to collapse because they got too greedy and decided that America was theirs and theirs alone.
The Constitution and the rule of law say otherwise and no amount of ratfucking is going to stop us from having free and fair elections in America again.
I’m a stay at home dad, father to a special needs son and a special daughter, a donor baby daddy, a militantly pragmatic liberal, the president of the PTA, a hardcore geek and nerd and I’m going to change the world. Or at least my corner of it.