Occasionally presidential history repeats itself. Only this time it may have done so in reverse.
On July 13, 1973 Alexander Butterfield revealed he had helped ‘install’ Nixon’s infamous tape machine in the White House. This week Brad Parscale revealed on “60 Minutes” he had helped ’embed’ Facebook personnel in the Trump campaign. The first revelation helped bring down a President; the second helped elect one.
Details are sure to unspool over the next many days while critics and defenders engage mightily. Especially if Parscale is right in saying Facebook helped his man via the electronic power of tens of millions of psychologically targeted ads.
Here is a presidential issue that may run more than skin deep. Deeper than any Putin collusion, deeper than any Trump rigging, deep enough right down to the very architects of democracy.
Look at it this way. When Aristotle, John Locke, and Thomas Jefferson thought of democracy, they saw it as a social contract between government and citizen. But if the indispensable contractual right to vote is compromised by a stunning new manipulative technology, we are faced with a profound new political question:
If a candidate can tap into our deepest feelings, angry and ugly as they may sometimes be, is this then democracy at its most malevolent….? or its most honest?
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