The Offense Takes the Field: Digital Activists Launch DemCast

By: Adam James

I sat down with the Twitter activist known as “Democracy Storm” to discuss the much needed transition from defensive to offense for the Resistance movement (a broad coalition of Democrats, Far Left Liberals and NeverTrump Republicans/Independents) that is preparing for a 2020 election that is likely to see more interference from foreign powers than there was in 2016.

Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III wrote in his investigative report that the Internet Research Agency (IRA) conducted an operation they referred to as “information warfare.” Democrats were caught unprepared during the 2016 campaign by the Russian government interfering in “sweeping and systematic fashion.” Their efforts that, “favored candidate Trump and disparaged candidate (Hillary) Clinton” succeeded beyond Putin’s wildest dreams. Because of this and the lack of consequences, Special Counsel Mueller expressed concern that this is “the new normal.”

“Mueller said under oath that trump is a liar.” Storm Tweeted. But it will take more than a tweet to fight the ongoing social media war between Donald Trump and his allies and American democracy. Storm joined with her friend Nick Knudsen in 2019 in a project designed to first gather forces from all over social media to launch DemCast. The Resistance movement needs to act as one and Storm has played been a big part in assembling that team.

This is especially impressive given that outside of social media, Storm once told me, “I’m an introvert.” But the Trump regime’s actions have driven her far away from her comfort zone and for quite some time now, she’s become a real leader and contributed much in the work that led to big Democratic gains in the 2018 midterms .

One of the first manifestations of that leadership was (and continues to be) through a social group collectively known as #GeeksResist. Storm said they wanted to, “teach people how to make the most out of social media.” The group, to which I count myself a member, is a large one. Geeks has evolved into a training academy, with a fun twist, for those left of center and very left of center to learn the basics of the social media app and its tools. “Elections can’t be won by a digital campaign alone,” Storm clarified but, “The war is happening on social media .”

Social media was indeed the battleground of the last election. The heavily redacted Mueller Report Vol. I section 3 part 2 outlines Russia’s multi-faceted approach to the instant communication platforms of Facebook and Twitter from creating fake profiles to organizing Trump Rallies. The report also demonstrates how excited the Trump campaign was to have the Russians’ illegal support. Trump told a reporter himself recently that he’d welcome foreign interference on his behalf.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller reiterated that Trump is likely to have his chance. As he sat before Congress on July 24 he called accepting foreign help unpatriotic “and a crime.” When asked asked if he thought the Russian interference in 2016 was a one-off, Mueller warned, “It wasn’t a single attempt. They’re doing it as we sit here, and they expect to do it during the next campaign.” Mueller also cleared up his opinion of the government’s response under Trump, “Much more needs to be done in order to protect against these intrusions—not just by the Russians, but others as well.”

Storm, with her partner Nick, don’t pretend to solve the issue of state-sponsored cyber attacks on American democracy but with DemCast they are providing many of us a way to fight back against the disinformation efforts. Storm said they also hope to, “Marry a digital army to grass roots journalism.” The program is still in its infancy but they know exactly why they are here and why it will be critically important to succeed; “Donald Trump outspent Hillary Clinton 13:1 on social media.”

“The election of Donald Trump would not have been possible without a dedicated social media influence campaign from Russia, fueled by data that was mined by Cambridge Analytica with the explicit purpose of stoking fears and hatred, and amplified by Russian bot armies and amoral conservative media outlets that routinely propagated lies to the American people. Donald Trump outspent Hillary Clinton 13:1 on social media, because his campaign understood that digital is the new frontier of campaigning, 24/7/365. They bombarded American eyeballs with images, videos and propaganda. It worked.”

-from the DemCast Concept Proposal

Storm reported, “We’ll be amplifying good factual content.” This means bringing together outside content from sites like this one, podcasts like Two Broads Talking Politics, direct contributors, and graphic artists, to amplify the work and the message. Aside from combining so many different types of contributors, DemCast will also create original content.

But the elections will be won when digital efforts hit the ground. Storm said, “We’ll focus heavily on state races-the presidential will get most of the [main stream media] attention.” MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell appears to agree as the announced this week that he would have a standing invitation to Senate candidates (Majority 60 does also). Storm indicated that their team will be assembling “boots on the ground, people to phone bank, to work booths etc” to win elections from city council seats to governorships, from US House seats to winning back control of the Senate. It will be and organizing groundswell to defeat Trumpism and its foreign allies and to reclaim the promise of America.

There is much more to come as DemCast begins to rollout but you can find them using the hashtag #DemCast on Twitter and across social media, on Facebook and on their own site at Majority 60 and DemCast share common contributors and friends and so it is with much delight that I encourage you to check them out. Storm, herself can be found on Twitter @DemocracyStorm .