Donald Trump at campaign rally
Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore

We all know — or rather should know by now — the tools and tricks the Republicans and the Russians used to steal the 2016 presidential election. That should mean they can’t get away with it again. But they’re sure as hell going to try. And unless we prepare to deal with them adequately, it will work.

Republicans, Russian operatives (bots and hackers), the American right-wing media machine (Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and his ilk, and Breitbart.com, to name just a few), and social media (primarily Facebook) all worked very effectively in concert to spread mischaracterizations, wild conspiracy theories and outright lies about Hillary Clinton.

But Hillary was an easy target in that Republicans had successfully demonized her, even among a disappointing number of Democrats, ever since she was First Lady and dared to enter the policy arena with the introduction of Hillary Care. It won’t be as easy to pull the same s*** with Biden, but they are working hard at it.

There’s nothing we can do to stop the spread of misinformation, but we can be prepared to deal with it much better than we did in 2016. For one thing, we’re better equipped to recognize it when we see or hear it. It’s time we take some kind of stand-in our families and among our friends and co-workers, even if it’s a simple shaking of one’s head in disappointment at those who would buy into the bulls***. There’s nothing wrong with gently shaming someone you care about.

This time, we must turn it around and use these platforms to our fullest advantage. If they post, or tweet, or retweet their bunk a million times, we must counter it 5 million times. Never ever forget that there are more of us than there are of them. Always has been, always will be. They know it and it scares the crap out of them. 

We know voter suppression has long been a favorite tactic of the GOP. There was a time in U.S. history when only white male landowners had a vote. Republicans yearn for those days. The only time I can say with certainty that Donald Trump spoke the unvarnished actual truth was when he said, “If everybody voted, Republicans would never get elected again.” 

So it will be imperative that Democrats get out the vote! If we do this, then it will be nearly impossible for the GOP to pull a repeat of so many past elections.

We know from the Mueller report, beyond a doubt, that Trump has already taken help — monetary and intel-wise — from the Russians. He also took monetary assistance from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Israel. And he has already indicated quite clearly that he’s open to getting dirt on an opponent from a foreign entity to win re-election. We had a whole impeachment thing about that, you may recall. Even Senate Republicans didn’t deny he’d done it, they just deemed it not meeting the threshold for impeachment. 

It seems it would be difficult for the GOP to accept foreign assistance this time around now that they know we’re expecting it. If they do try it, the national outcry will be loud and long. The narrative that must be set in advance is that such actions would not only clearly violate election laws, they would meet the constitutional definition of treason, at least where Russia is concerned. 

The plain old smears have already begun. There’s at least one website that uses manipulated video footage to make it look as though Biden is inappropriately touching prepubescent girls. The obvious aim is to portray him as “creepy uncle Joe the pedophile.” It’s truly vile. It’s also pretty rich coming from the camp whose standard-bearer is a self-avowed sexual predator who likes to, and I quote, “grab ’em by the p***.” It’s called projection, which is yet another tool the GOP loves to use. They’ve also commenced with the implication that Biden is mentally incapacitated: more projection from Team Trump. Remember, their guy is the dude who got lost between Air Force One and his waiting limo.

These are the kind of things we’ll be seeing plenty of on Facebook and hearing about from family, friends, and co-workers. On the internet, look for what others might be posting as effective responses to such crap and repost while encouraging others on our team to do the same.

When encountering it in person a polite roll of one’s eyes and shaking of one’s head and just walking away may be the best course of action. It lets your views be known without having to engage in a both-siderism conversation. 

So there you have it. We know what they did and what they’re likely to do or are already doing again. Being armed with this knowledge and having the truth on our side positions us well for sweeping victories come November. But only if everybody does their part. Let’s all commit to that.