We were all shocked this weekend to see former Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale threatening suicide and locked up for his own safety.
Normally, I would not write about such a human tragedy, but two things have happened subsequently that suggest that Parscale’s downward spiral was not just a simple reaction to his being demoted from campaign manager to senior adviser a couple months ago.
It never seemed reasonable that Parscale was so depressed just from being demoted. He still had fame and fortune, right? So if Parscale wanted to recklessly end his own life, what had caused that? Was it because he regretted something enough to wish he weren’t alive to see the consequences?
This weekend it wasn’t clear what that might be, but today — on the day of the first presidential debate — two stories seem to add context to the tragedy.
First, the Daily Mail reports that Parscale “is under investigation for stealing up to $40M from Trump’s campaign and $10M from the RNC, as he spirals out of control over ‘gravy train’ ending and mounting debt from his lavish lifestyle.”
Obviously if Parscale had indeed engaged in such embezzlement and betrayal, his depression could be a result of both guilt and fear that the truth would soon surface.
But even more concerning is a story that headlined the Drudgery Report this morning from Channel 4 News that the British news company “has exclusively obtained a vast cache of data used by Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign on almost 200 million American voters.”
Remember, Parscale was the director of Trump’s digital campaign in 2016. He would have access to all that stored data. Is it possible he would have sought revenge for his demotion by leaking the treasure trove of secret campaign data? Was he subject to blackmail because of his own excesses? Apparently Parscale is an alcoholic, which increases the likelihood he did something stupid, either on purpose or even by foolishly responding to a phishing attack that gave a third party access to top secret campaign data.
Here’s how Channel 4 News described the data they collected:
It reveals that 3.5 million Black Americans were categorised by Donald Trump’s campaign as ‘Deterrence’ – voters they wanted to stay home on election day.
Tonight, civil rights campaigners said the evidence amounted to a new form of voter “suppression” and called on Facebook to disclose ads and targeting information that has never been made public.
The ‘Deterrence’ project can be revealed after Channel 4 News obtained the database used by Trump’s digital campaign team – credited with helping deliver his shock victory to become president four years ago.
Vast in scale, it contains details on almost 200 million Americans, among more than 5,000 files, which together amass almost 5 terabytes of data – making it one of the biggest leaks in history.
It reveals not only the huge amounts of data held on every individual voter, but how that data was used and manipulated by models and algorithms.
In 16 key battleground states, millions of Americans were separated by an algorithm into one of eight categories, also described as ‘audiences’, so they could then be targeted with tailored ads on Facebook and other platforms.
One of the categories was named ‘Deterrence’, which was later described publicly by Trump’s chief data scientist as containing people that the campaign “hope don’t show up to vote”.
Considering the importance of the black vote to Trump’s chance of being re-elected, this data dump has the potential to be game-changing if the Democrat narrative takes hold. Of course, everyone knows that a campaign tries to deter negative votes as well as to encourage positive votes, but in the currently heated political and racial climate, this report will no doubt be exploited by the Biden camp to try to hurt Trump.
There’s no way to know yet where Channel 4 got the data dump from, but it’s a concerning development in a campaign that doesn’t have a lot of room for error.
Considering that last weekend also saw the New York Times writing fake news “bombshell stories” about Trump’s taxes, it is clear we have now entered the scorched-earth phase of the election campaign. The Democrats will go to any lengths to destroy Trump. People like Brad Parscale are just collateral damage, same as Seth Rich was collateral damage in 2016.
Stay tuned. Hard to believe, but it’s going to get even uglier.
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