It wasn’t enough for Democrats to lay their electoral loss at the feet of the Russian government. They are blaming some of their other failures on the Kremlin as well.
The Huffington Post recently published a piece in which it questioned the reasons for the success of the #WalkAway campaign, which is actively encouraging Democrats to leave the party. Since hairdresser and actor Brandon Straka started the campaign in June, a significant number of individuals have used the popular hashtag to share the stories of their exodus from the left on Twitter and Facebook.
Of course, the left cannot allow such a story to spread, so they did what they do best: Blame it all on the Russians. The Huffington Post’s article, titled “Russian Bots Linked To Viral Twitter Attacks On ‘Hateful’ Dems,” claims that the Russians are artificially increasing web traffic for the #WalkAway movement to influence the upcoming midterm elections in November. Their argument seems pretty compelling — but a closer look shows that it does not stand up to scrutiny.
Bots Are Pushing #WalkAway
In the piece, author Mary Papenfuss claims that the Russian government is using bots to swing the results of the midterm elections. “But the hashtag has been connected to Russian bots,” she wrote. “It has ranked as the third or fourth most popular Kremlin-linked hashtag for days, according to bot tracking by the Hamilton 68 site run by the bipartisan Alliance for Securing Democracy, which keeps tabs on Russian activity on the American internet.”
Papenfuss acknowledges that the Russian government is not creating content promoting the hashtag, but she states that “bots typically grossly exaggerate Twitter traffic — and influence — by replicating chosen messages tens of thousands of times.”
The author noted that the Russian’s objective in this instance would be to game the algorithms that determine which content is featured at the top of internet searches. In this way, some guy named Boris could manipulate the opinions of Americans on social media.
The Huffington Post isn’t the only media outlet attributing the rise of the #WalkAway movement to bots. Journalist David Wiegel recently posted a tweet arguing that bots are contributing to the popularity of the movement. “The #walkaway hashtag – short for ‘walk away from the Democratic Party’ – is like a playground for bots,” he wrote. “I clicked three of the accounts at random and checked their first tweets. Two clearly originated as bots, one was created today to feed the hashtag.”
Unfortunately for the left, their assessment of the movement is flawed.
Bots Are Not Driving The Success
In her piece, Papenfuss cites the Alliance for Securing Democracy, which uncovers Russian bot activity on social media. However, she does not provide recent data from the organization measuring Russian activity on social media, nor does she report on the overall number of posts over any time period. Fortunately, Liberty Nation decided to dig deeper.
According to their data, as of this writing, 1,381 tweets using the hashtag #WalkAway were posted by alleged “Russia-linked influence networks” over the past seven days. Brand24, one of the most popular social media monitoring tools, shows 7,786 tweets with this hashtag over the last week.
The data from the Alliance for Securing Democracy and Brand24 reveal that only about 18% of the tweets containing the hashtag over the past seven days were shared by entities that are alleged to be working with The Kremlin. The data shows that these supposed Russian-affiliated accounts did not “grossly exaggerate” the campaign’s traffic.
Currently, there is no way to calculate the exact number of individuals who have left the Democratic Party and joined the campaign, and nobody is claiming that hundreds and thousands of Americans are fleeing the party at once. But the organic success of the campaign is irrefutable — a significant number of people are using the movement to demonstrate the deep flaws in the left’s approach to political discourse. Of course, the left would rather ignore these issues and write the movement off as yet another insidious Russian plot.
The Left Has Only Itself To Blame For #WalkAway
If you look at the individuals who are speaking out in the #WalkAway campaign, you can see the real reasons why they left. They are fed up with the Democratic Party’s bizarre obsession with identity politics. They don’t favor socialism. They are tired of the left slamming President Trump for his crass language while they engage in behavior that is far worse.
It is the left that is harassing conservative officials in public. Democrats are the ones encouraging their followers to form mobs against those with whom they disagree. Leftists are the ones physically assaulting right-wingers at college campuses, political rallies, and in restaurants. What’s most disturbing is that while many conservatives have criticized the president when they feel he has gone too far, much of the left’s repugnant behavior is met with approval, silence, or whataboutism by many of their ilk.
To be fair, most on the left are not fans of violence or disruptive behavior against their political opponents. Unfortunately, many of their leaders and a significant number of visible members are tacitly supporting those who do engage in these types of actions.
#WalkAway is only the beginning. If the left refuses to reign in the people on their side who promote hatred, violence, and demonization of conservatives, they can only expect to see more people flee from their ranks. Regrettably, it appears they are refusing to learn their lessons.