On June 28th, 2016, Melvin Redick of Harrisburg, PA made a post on FaceBook that told people that they could find "the hidden truth" about Hillary Clinton on a website called DCLeaks. Upon going there, which thousands of FaceBook users did, they read really shocking details of Hillary's evil deeds.
Melvin Redick doesn't exist. And the terrible story about Hillary was a complete fabrication. Melvin Redick and the DCLeaks website were both inventions of the Russian FSB, the successor of the Soviet KGB, which Vladimir Putin was head of before he became President of the Russian Federation.
These posts, thousands of them, all made to look like real interactions by real people, were generated by a type of software called a 'bot' - short for 'robot.' One hundred and twenty-five million Americans saw the FaceBook posts of these Russian bots - posts containing links that sent them to any of thousands of pages created by the Russian FSB, all designed to inflame their hatred with lies about Hillary Clinton (like the one about Hillary's child prostitution ring in a pizza parlor in the District of Columbia).
Russia doesn't take over our voting machines and flip switches; they identify people who hate 'liberals', and then tell them things that outrage them even further, so that they'll make an extra effort to go and vote. They foment distrust of our most sacred institutions - the ones that protect us. They want Americans to distrust their government, and to want to weaken Washington so that Obama can't come to Americans' homes and take their guns. They want what the typical Republican voter wants:an impotent government in Washington.
Russia wants Republicans to win. Republicans want a weak government in Washington. What a coincidence: so does Putin. And all it takes is an army of bots in St. Petersburg, locating Republicans online and sending them to pages that endlessly repeat the mantra, "Hillary would be worse."
Psychologists have long known that, if you repeat a lie often enough, it comes to be viewed as true by gullible voters - "low information voters," as they're euphemistically known. It means "ignorant." It means old white men who flunked out of community college. They're the target of the Russian bots. How many voters changed their vote because of these fraudulent bot posts? It wouldn't have to be many: 72,000 votes would have flipped the election.
Bots aren't hard to create. There's a "Bot Construction Kit" that you can download free from the Microsoft website. A high-school class could use it to duplicate what the Russian FSB hackers did. It would be a cool project. It would show students exactly how they did it. The government is looking to hire thousands of smart young people who can do battle with the hackers that our enemies are marshalling against our country. It's a job creator.
And it would show them beyond the shadow of a doubt that our enemies did their best to get Donald Trump elected President. Did their efforts swing the election? Your guess is as good as mine, but we're probably guessing the same thing.
Why did the Russians want Trump to be elected President of the United States? Was that the best way they could think of to damage our international stature, our faith in our institutions, and our children's future? I don't know; I can only show you how they did it.