Democracy is on life support in the U.S. This didn’t just happen overnight. One of the original daggers in its side is the 1971 Powell Memo, which outlined a comprehensive strategy for building institutions to promote free market worship and limit participatory democracy.
This is the story of how the Trump campaign used data to target African Americans and young women with $150 million dollars of Facebook and Instagram advertisements in the final weeks of the election, quietly launching the most successful digital voter suppression operation in American history.
Throughout the campaign, President-Elect Donald J. Trump shrewdly invested in Facebook advertisements to reach his supporters and raise campaign donations. Facing a short-fall of momentum and voter support in the polls, the Trump campaign deployed its custom database, named Project Alamo, containing detailed identity profiles on 220 million people in America.
With Project Alamo as ammunition, the Trump digital operations team covertly executed a massive digital last-stand strategy using targeted Facebook ads to ‘discourage’ Hillary Clinton supporters from voting. The Trump campaign poured money and resources into political advertisements on Facebook, Instagram, the Facebook Audience Network, and Facebook data-broker partners.
I really hate to use the word UnAmerican, so let’s just say I can hardly imagine anything more unconstitutional and unpatriotic. Public dissent is essential to the functioning of democracy. For example, no-one would have noticed Dr. King and the civil rights movement if they hadn’t disrupted businesses.
A Republican Washington state senator who supported Donald Trump is proposing a bill that would slap an “economic terrorism” label on protest activities already prohibited by law and dramatically intensify their penalties.
The proposed bill would allow police to charge protesters who “block transportation and commerce, cause property damage, threaten jobs and put public safety at risk” with a class C felony. Ericksen said strikes and picketing would still be permitted.
Let me get this straight: As recently as a week ago, Trump supporters threatened armed revolution if their candidate lost the election. Now that he has in fact won the election (without the majority of votes) they are complaining that people are nonviolently protesting his politics of hate?
I’ve never seen such sore winners. It must be rough when you run everything and still think the entire world is out to get you.
I was talking recently with a very learned and progressive scholar of history about the depth of the right wing’s messaging strategy, and he was unfamiliar with this document that helped create and define a broad and effective corporate-conservative machine: the Powell Memorandum. We all need to know this history.
Based in part on his experiences as a corporate lawyer and as a representative for the tobacco industry with the Virginia legislature, [Lewis Franklin Powell, Jr.] wrote the Powell Memo to a friend at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The memo called for corporate America to become more aggressive in molding politics and law in the U.S. and may have sparked the formation of one or more influential right-wing think tanks.
In August 1971, prior to accepting Nixon’s request to become Associate Justice of Supreme Court, Lewis Powell had sent to the leadership of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce the “Confidential Memorandum”, better known as the Powell Memorandum, and still under the radar of general public. It sounded an alarm with its title, “Attack on the American Free Enterprise System.” The previous decade had seen the increasing regulation of many industries. Powell argued, “The most disquieting voices joining the chorus of criticism came from perfectly respectable elements of society: from the college campus, the pulpit, the media, the intellectual and literary journals, the arts and sciences, and from politicians.” In the memorandum, Powell advocated “constant surveillance” of textbook and television content, as well as a purge of left-wing elements.
In an extraordinary prefiguring of the social goals of business that would be felt over the next three decades, Powell set his main goal: changing how individuals and society think about the corporation, the government, the law, the culture, and the individual. Shaping public opinion on these topics became, and would remain, a major goal of business.