Below is an archived edition of Ctrl Alt Right Delete, a weekly email newsletter. This edition was published on 03/12/2017. Members of Factual Democracy Project have access to past editions. Subscribe to Ctrl Alt Right Delete.
No One Likes Trumpcare
Anyone else enjoy watching the Trumpcare meltdown on the right this week? Because I have. I’ve loved visiting Breitbart day after day and seeing the headlines. If Paul Ryan thought that Trump’s army would help him sell his Obamacare “repeal and replace” plan to the general public, he was dead wrong. On Tuesday, Breitbart ran an exclusive interview with Rand Paul explaining his opposition to the bill, then on Thursday, they ran a front page article in which Republican Senator Tom Cotton called on Congress to “start over.”
Meanwhile the frog squad has been almost silent. Twitter conversation around Obamacare/Trumpcare/Ryancare on the #MAGA hashtag is largely liberals trolling. The Donald subreddit has had little discussion, and nothing that’s become a hot or trending thread. And I’ve yet to find a popular pro-Trumpcare meme anywhere on the internet. While health care legislation has dominated the news this week, Trump’s online army doesn’t seem to care much.
Which is a problem for Trump. His communication strategy relies on amplifying and validating the frog squad’s content to make his point. Right now, neither the the right wing media nor his online trolls are on board. The Tea Party/Freedom Caucus wing of the GOP is pushing back against the legislation with everything they’ve got, and Trump doesn’t have any cannon fodder to defend him.
Opposition to Obamacare has always seemed to me like opposition to the first black presidentrather than opposition to the actual legislation. As I wrote last week, Trump no longer has Obama as a villain. He doesn’t have an easy way to tie Obamacare to racial resentment, something we know drives his base of support. Instead of presenting a plan for Obamacare repeal, Trump chose to let Congress take the lead. Now he’s forced to defend a plan that everyone hates. He has no villain. Most important: he has no echo chamber.
President Trump is on his own. More than he’s been since announcing his candidacy. It’s the biggest opportunity Democrats have had in ages to both save Obamacare and do some real damage to Trump’s image at the same time.
Here’s what the so-called alt-right has been obsessed with this week: Wikileaks’ Vault 7 leak of CIA documents. The leak hasn’t received as much news attention outside of right wing media and tech circles, but the frog squad absolutely sees the leak as proof that a “deep state” exists and that they’re out to take President Trump down.
#Vault7 is an underappreciated wedge issue. Candidate Donald Trump loved Wikileaks, often praised them, and called on them to release more hacked emails from the Clinton campaign. How does President Trump feel about Wikileaks now? The best we’ve gotten from WH Press Secretary Sean Spicer is that President Trump is “extremely concerned” and that “[a]nybody who leaks classified information will be held to the highest degree of law. We will go after people who leak classified information. We will prosecute them to the full extent of the law.”
Wikileaks has promised that more document dumps are coming. Given how much Trump’s army loves Wikileaks and hates the CIA, the White House will have difficulty communicating around this. Worth keeping an eye on.
- Does Facebook really affect how you see the world?
- Pulling no punches in fight against ‘alt-right’ and neo-nazis
- Conservatives insist Trump is not influenced by the alt-right. Here’s why they’re wrong.
- White Supremacists step up recruiting on campus, report says
- How anti-science forces thrive on Facebook
- World War Meme: How a group of anonymous keyboard commandos conquered the internet for Donald Trump—and plans to deliver Europe to the far right.
I wrote an explainer of The Indivisible Guide and why I love it for Campaigns & Elections.
Thank you to the amazing Nicole Belle for copy editing. Until next week…