Politics in all countries has always been run through money. Even far-left politics, like Cuba’s Fidel Castro and Che Guevara had money funding their communist utopia. Che Guevara had education – was a doctor – at a time when education was for those with resources. Guevara had the money to take a nine-month’s long journey on a motorcycle before his politics galvanized for him. Guevara may have abandoned his bourgeois upbringing, but he did so by leveraging his education to allow him the luxury of molding Cuba into the leftist realm he longed for. All political movements have money behind them funding them towards prominence. Grassroots may be the face, but the money is what drives the agenda. This is true for Antifa as well as for the Alt-right movements and all the other movements out there. Money is not what is changing, but rather how the movement brings eyeballs to their cause.
Longtime readers of my blog know that I have focused on opposing the hatemongering that Donald Trump represents for Mexicans, Mexican immigrants, like myself, and other immigrants that make America great. Were it not for Trump’s demonizing of Mexicans, I’d likely be focused on immigration reform issues and border politics.
Creating opposition to Trump’s hatred has been difficult to magnify above the loud and obnoxiousness of Steve Bannon and the other nativists extoling the America First doctrine by attacking foreigners. Make no mistake, the attacks against foreigners has existed for generations. Nazi Germany and Hitler exterminated many Jewish and other minorities under the guise of the dangers of foreigners. Brexit is another example. Bannon and Trump are not new in scapegoating immigrants for the ills of the country.
The reality is that the clear majority of U.S. voters have no animosity towards immigrants, but that is not understood because of the megaphone that Bannon, Trump and the Alt-right have at their disposal. A megaphone funded with millions. What’s changed is how the megaphone of hate is applied. The new face of hate politics is at play nationally, as well as locally. In El Paso, it is demonstrated in the Veronica Escobar versus Dori Fenenbock race and there are many national races leveraging the tactic of social media targeted analytical messaging to voters. Expect the El Paso race to get nastier as the election draws closer, as well as national politics in the U.S. and in México.
There are many examples, but the Mercer family allows us to examine how the politics of hate are being leveraged today.
Although the Mercer family has been tagged as being behind Donald Trump, it doesn’t appear they fully support the Trump agenda. The Mercer family was solidly behind the Ted Cruz campaign, but when Cruz ended his campaign, the Mercer family started supporting Donald Trump. But it wasn’t Donald Trump they were necessarily supporting, but rather, his potential and ultimate ability to win the White House. The Mercer family was supporting the political agenda of Steve Bannon and was hoping to leverage the Bannon policy agenda through the Trump administration.
However, what is the Mercer public policy agenda?
It’s hard to tell. They fund multiple agendas. It could simply be access to power.
Whatever their policy agenda is, it is their money that is partially funding the hate politics of today.
Steve Bannon’s Breitbart is the palatable face of the Alt-right movement. According to Newsweek, the Mercer’s have given at least $10 million to Breitbart. While traditional news media outlets are struggling to reach readers, Breitbart, and other hate media are being funded by multimillionaires to spread their hate across the country. But instead of using print and television media, the new slate of hate mongers are targeting audiences through social media analytical analysis. This is where Cambridge Analytica enters the picture.
Cambridge Analytica, styles itself as a “data-driven” marketing and political campaign management firm using data to target specific audiences. Mercer is part owner of Cambridge. Mercer also funded part of the Brexit – get Britain out of the EU – movement, in addition to funding Cruz and Trump during the 2016 campaign season. Cambridge Analytica is the new hate mongering platform through social analytics and they aren’t limiting their activities to U.S. politics. Not only were they involved with Cruz and Trump, but also with Brexit and now they are looking into México’s upcoming national elections next year. Cambridge Analytica has opened an office in Mexico City and is hiring.
But it all comes down to the Mercer family and their money. Without it, the social media battle lines would not exist. Breitbart and Bannon wouldn’t be peddling their hate were it not for the Mercer family money. But it’s not just the Mercer’s, Bannon at al or Antifa and Alt-right – the Russians are also prolific in this new political war.
The U.S. government is investigating Russian troll factories like 55 Savushika Street, where with a budget of about $1 million monthly, according to CNN, writers and artists were hired to create blogs, create online news outlets and post memes and other social media posts to push forth certain political agendas. Mercer, for its part, reached out to Julian Assange, an enemy of the United States, and offered to leverage Wikileak’s Hillary Clinton’s emails through Cambridge Analytica. Assange confirmed via Twitter the offer and stated that he rejected it. As you can see, it doesn’t matter the agenda, nor the legalities of it, but rather leveraging social media mechanisms to target audiences receptive to the hate messages. Interestingly and missed by most, Cambridge Analytica started out in Europe but came to the U.S., ostensibly to peddle their technique from the safe-haven the U.S. offers them.
Under European laws, using social media data without users’ permissions violates EU laws guaranteeing individuals the right to privacy. México, likewise, has strong laws protecting users’ privacy online. The United States is a safe-haven for companies willing to use users’ social media content without their permission to build analytical engines for targeted messaging. Cambridge Analytica can’t store user data in Europe without running afoul of strong privacy laws. But that doesn’t stop Cambridge Analytica from selling its mined user data to European and Mexican political operations.
My little grassroots efforts to counter the Trump hate of Mexicans and immigrants is reaching thousands of people, but it comes nowhere close to the millions that the Russian trolls and the Mercer channels are reaching. I’m also not spending millions upon millions of dollars to troll Trump. Nonetheless, I’m happy to reach the people that I do just through simple hard work.