Don’t do Putin’s Work for Him

❗️A guide for progressives on how to discuss political corruption in a Russian-infiltrated world❗️

4 mins read
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By an Anonymous Resister who must remain anonymous due to the sensitive nature of their job but whose identity is known to DemCast.

It appears painfully necessary to put out this warning. I’ve seen lots of posts like “the democratic party is corrupt” or “the DNC is rigged” – these are problematically Trump and Putin boogeyman talking points, and you should NOT BE AMPLIFYING THEM. They do damage to democratic engagement by planting the seed that a person’s participation does not matter and they sow divisions during one of the most consequential elections we face. If you’ve been using these phrases, PLEASE STOP IMMEDIATELY.

This isn’t to silence people that would like to expose genuine corruption, but you need to stop using boogeyman phrases.

Here are two basic litmus tests to responsibly and effectively discuss corruption: “Can I name who it actually is that is corrupt?” and “Do I have bona-fide proof?”

Let me explain why these tests are important using the problematic phrase “the Democrats are corrupt” as an example.

This doesn’t meet the first litmus test. What does “the Democrats” mean? Does this refer to the DNC (200+ people), or does this include elected officials that are Democrats (280+ at the federal level, thousands at the state level)? Does it include individual Democratic voters? The pool you’ve now accused is 45+ million people. Do you see the problems vague accusations create?

No progressive should ever do Trump’s or Putin’s work for them. To give a an example that meets the first litmus test you’d say something like “Bob Smith, treasurer of the Fakeville Democratic Party, and his staffer Nancy Jones, are corrupt – they were caught doing [insert corrupt act here].” This also provides the important component of ACCOUNTABILITY. It’s hard to punish “the Democrats” for being corrupt without knowing who is corrupt and ensuring they are removed from their post.

Failure to be specific also hurts innocent people – “the Democrats” includes wonderful elected leaders like Val Demings, Lauren Underwood, Chris Van Hollen, Grace Meng, Jamie Harrison, and representatives from every state, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands who do not deserve to be maligned by your careless words. These are real people. They are supported by real staff members. We all feel this deeply when our own party turns inward and cannibalizes itself and we need all the energy we can get to fight Trump’s atrocities.

The second litmus test is proof; this one is straightforward: it needs to evidence-based, reported from a reputable source (e.g., not an unnamed and unverified Twitter account – if that account is right, there will be someone or many someones out there in the journalism world that will pick it up and run with it to validate the claim in a verifiable, evidence-based way).

Bonus tip: use your claims of corruption wisely because there are only so many times you can call wolf before everything becomes rigged or a conspiracy or railroaded, and further – the more you call an amorphous process corrupt, the more it serves to suppress engagement in that process. If the Iowa Caucuses are “rigged,” there are voters in 49 remaining states looking at your words thinking: “well if it’s rigged, why bother.”

Thanks for listening, and I beg of people to be more responsible. If YOU want to help build a better democracy this is ground zero to getting it right.

DemCast is an advocacy-based 501(c)4 nonprofit. We have made the decision to build a media site free of outside influence. There are no ads. We do not get paid for clicks. If you appreciate our content, please consider a small monthly donation.

DemCast is an advocacy-based 501(c)4 nonprofit. We have made the decision to build a media site free of outside influence. There are no ads. We do not get paid for clicks, but are sustained solely on donations from grassroots supporters. Because our revenue isn’t click-driven, we don’t take in any direct revenue from the creative contributions of grassroots activists who post on the site. This sets us apart from other media sites. And we’re proud of that.

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