Republican Party officials gave then 28-year-old James Barnes too much credit for helping Donald Trump win the White House in 2016 -- especially the one senior official who singled out Barnes, suggesting he played a key role in getting the billionaire elected president.
As a social media platform, Facebook mostly caters to liberal views. As one marketing and social guru once told me, its members are mostly Democrats who oppose most conservative views and insist their beliefs are the only valid ones.
The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday that Barnes, who was once determined to help Trump win the election, left Facebook in the spring and now is dedicated to getting Trump out of office in 2020.
Barnes now works at the non-profit Acronym, an organization that builds digital infrastructures for the progressive movement -- not to be confused with the digital marketing agency Acronym.
As much as Barnes and the Trump campaign would like to think Facebook, advertisements and targeting have the power of persuasion, it takes more than rhetoric to convince someone to vote for a man without poise or a political background. Many voters were influenced by issues related to the movement of manufacturing overseas, tariffs getting out of hand, and the state of the overall economy.
It doesn’t matter how many “powerful” Facebook tools and products Barnes used to extend the reach of Trump’s campaign. What matters is the misinformation and the objective articles that get shared through the platform. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard young adults say “if it’s on the internet it must be true” or “if it’s on Facebook it must be true.”
Facebook played an increasingly important role in the last three U.S. presidential elections, according to the WSJ.
It only played a larger role based on the money being poured into the platform by presidential candidates buying into the rhetoric that Facebook and its advertising has the ability to alter behavior and sway voter thinking.
One thing may derail Trump -- if Michael Bloomberg, who officially announced he had entered the presidential election on Sunday, offers ideas and policies far from the left to support the moderate conservatives.
Raising money through an advertising campaign is one thing. Helping a candidate win the election is something completely different.