No More Apologies: Inside Facebook’s Push to Defend Its Image

Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive, has signed off on an effort to show users pro-Facebook stories and to distance himself from scandals.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, signed off last month on a new initiative code-named Project Amplify.

The effort, which was hatched at an internal meeting in January, had a specific purpose: to use Facebook’s News Feed, the site’s most important digital real estate, to show people positive stories about the social network.

The idea was that pushing pro-Facebook news items — some of them written by the company — would improve its image in the eyes of its users, three people with knowledge of the effort said. But the move was sensitive because Facebook had not previously positioned the News Feed as a place where it burnished its own reputation. Several executives at the meeting were shocked by the proposal, one attendee said.

Project Amplify punctuated a series of decisions that Facebook has made this year to aggressively reshape its image. Since that January meeting, the company has begun a multipronged effort to change its narrative by distancing Mr. Zuckerberg from scandals, reducing outsiders’ access to internal data, burying a potentially negative report about its content and increasing its own advertising to showcase its brand.

The moves amount to a broad shift in strategy. For years, Facebook confronted crisis after crisis over privacymisinformation and hate speech on its platform by publicly apologizing. Mr. Zuckerberg personally took responsibility for Russian interference on the site during the 2016 presidential election and has loudly stood up for free speech online. Facebook also promised transparency into the way that it operated.

But the drumbeat of criticism on issues as varied as racist speech and vaccine misinformation has not relented. Disgruntled Facebook employees have added to the furor by speaking out against their employer and leaking internal documents. Last week, The Wall Street Journal published articles based on such documents that showed Facebook knew about many of the harms it was causing.

So Facebook executives, concluding that their methods had done little to quell criticism or win supporters, decided early this year to go on the offensive, said six current and former employees, who declined to be identified for fear of reprisal.

“They’re realizing that no one else is going to come to their defense, so they need to do it and say it themselves,” said Katie Harbath, a former Facebook public policy director.

The changes have involved Facebook executives from its marketing, communications, policy and integrity teams. Alex Schultz, a 14-year company veteran who was named chief marketing officer last year, has also been influential in the image reshaping effort, said five people who worked with him. But at least one of the decisions was driven by Mr. Zuckerberg, and all were approved by him, three of the people said.

Alex Schultz, Facebook’s chief marketing officer, has been influential in reshaping the company’s image.
Credit…Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images

Joe Osborne, a Facebook spokesman, denied that the company had changed its approach.

“People deserve to know the steps we’re taking to address the different issues facing our company — and we’re going to share those steps widely,” he said in a statement.

For years, Facebook executives have chafed at how their company appeared to receive more scrutiny than Google and Twitter, said current and former employees. They attributed that attention to Facebook’s leaving itself more exposed with its apologies and providing access to internal data, the people said.

So in January, executives held a virtual meeting and broached the idea of a more aggressive defense, one attendee said. The group discussed using the News Feed to promote positive news about the company, as well as running ads that linked to favorable articles about Facebook. They also debated how to define a pro-Facebook story, two participants said.

That same month, the communications team discussed ways for executives to be less conciliatory when responding to crises and decided there would be less apologizing, said two people with knowledge of the plan.

Mr. Zuckerberg, who had become intertwined with policy issues including the 2020 election, also wanted to recast himself as an innovator, the people said. In January, the communications team circulated a document with a strategy for distancing Mr. Zuckerberg from scandals, partly by focusing his Facebook posts and media appearances on new products, they said.

The Information, a tech news site, previously reported on the document.

The impact was immediate. On Jan. 11, Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer — and not Mr. Zuckerberg — told Reuters that the storming of the U.S. Capitol a week earlier had little to do with Facebook. In July, when President Biden said the social network was “killing people” by spreading Covid-19 misinformation, Guy Rosen, Facebook’s vice president for integrity, disputed the characterization in a blog post and pointed out that the White House had missed its coronavirus vaccination goals.

“Facebook is not the reason this goal was missed,” Mr. Rosen wrote.

A mob climbed the walls of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, later said the insurrection was not organized on the social network.

Credit…Jason Andrew for The New York Times

Mr. Zuckerberg’s personal Facebook and Instagram accounts soon changed. Rather than addressing corporate controversies, Mr. Zuckerberg’s posts have recently featured a video of himself riding an electric surfboard with an American flag and messages about new virtual reality and hardware devices.

Facebook also started cutting back the availability of data that allowed academics and journalists to study how the platform worked. In April, the company told its team behind CrowdTangle, a tool that provides data on the engagement and popularity of Facebook posts, that it was being broken up. While the tool still exists, the people who worked on it were moved to other teams.

Part of the impetus came from Mr. Schultz, who had grown frustrated with news coverage that used CrowdTangle data to show that Facebook was spreading misinformation, said two people involved in the discussions.

For academics who relied on CrowdTangle, it was a blow. Cameron Hickey, a misinformation researcher at the National Conference on Citizenship, a nonprofit focused on civic engagement, said he was “particularly angry” because he felt the CrowdTangle team was being punished for giving an unfiltered view of engagement on Facebook.

Mr. Schultz argued that Facebook should publish its own information about the site’s most popular content rather than supply access to tools like CrowdTangle, two people said. So in June, the company compiled a report on Facebook’s most-viewed posts for the first three months of 2021.

But Facebook did not release the report. After the policy communications team discovered that the top-viewed link for the period was a news story with a headline that suggested a doctor had died after receiving the Covid-19 vaccine, they feared the company would be chastised for contributing to vaccine hesitancy, according to internal emails reviewed by The New York Times.

A day before the report was supposed to be published, Mr. Schultz was part of a group that voted to shelve the document, according to the emails. He later posted an internal message about his role at Facebook, which was reviewed by The Times, saying, “I do care about protecting the company’s reputation, but I also care deeply about rigor and transparency.”

Facebook also worked to stamp out employee leaks. In July, the communications team shuttered comments on an internal forum that was used for companywide announcements. “OUR ONE REQUEST: PLEASE DON’T LEAK,” read a post about the change.

At the same time, Facebook ramped up its marketing. During the Olympics this summer, the company paid for television spots with the tagline “We change the game when we find each other,” to promote how it fostered communities. In the first half of this year, Facebook spent a record $6.1 billion on marketing and sales, up more than 8 percent from a year earlier, according to a recent earnings report.

Weeks later, the company further reduced the ability of academics to conduct research on it when it disabled the Facebook accounts and pages of a group of New York University researchers. The researchers had created a feature for web browsers that allowed them to see users’ Facebook activity, which 16,000 people had consented to use. The resulting data had led to studies showing that misleading political ads had thrived on Facebook during the 2020 election and that users engaged more with right-wing misinformation than many other types of content.

In a blog post, Facebook said the N.Y.U. researchers had violated rules around collecting user data, citing a privacy agreement it had originally struck with the Federal Trade Commission in 2012. The F.T.C. later admonished Facebook for invoking its agreement, saying it allowed for good-faith research in the public interest.

Laura Edelson, the lead N.Y.U. researcher, said Facebook cut her off because of the negative attention her work brought. “Some people at Facebook look at the effect of these transparency efforts and all they see is bad P.R.,” she said.

The episode was compounded this month when Facebook told misinformation researchers that it had mistakenly provided incomplete data on user interactions and engagement for two years for their work.

“It is inconceivable that most of modern life, as it exists on Facebook, isn’t analyzable by researchers,” said Nathaniel Persily, a Stanford University law professor, who is working on federal legislation to force the company to share data with academics.

In August, after Mr. Zuckerberg approved Project Amplify, the company tested the change in three U.S. cities, two people with knowledge of the effort said. While the company had previously used the News Feed to promote its own products and social causes, it had not turned to it to openly push positive press about itself, they said.

Once the tests began, Facebook used a system known as Quick Promotes to place stories about people and organizations that used the social network into users’ News Feeds, they said. People essentially see posts with a Facebook logo that link to stories and websites published by the company and from third-party local news sites. One story pushed “Facebook’s Latest Innovations for 2021” and discussed how it was achieving “100 percent renewable energy for our global operations.”

“This is a test for an informational unit clearly marked as coming from Facebook,” Mr. Osborne said, adding that Project Amplify was “similar to corporate responsibility initiatives people see in other technology and consumer products.”

Nick Clegg, Facebook’s vice president for global affairs and communications, pushed back over the weekend against Wall Street Journal articles about the company.
Credit…Marlene Awaad/Bloomberg

Facebook’s defiance against unflattering revelations has also not let up, even without Mr. Zuckerberg. On Saturday, Nick Clegg, the company’s vice president for global affairs, wrote a blog post denouncing the premise of The Journal investigation. He said the idea that Facebook executives had repeatedly ignored warnings about problems was “just plain false.”

“These stories have contained deliberate mischaracterizations of what we are trying to do,” Mr. Clegg said. He did not detail what the mischaracterizations were.

2020 Election Investigative Documentary: Who’s Stealing America?

The year 2020 has been most unusual.

It started with an unprecedented global pandemic caused by the CCP virus, and it’s concluding with the U.S. presidential election, which has captivated the world.

On election night, on Nov. 3, an assortment of anomalies were observed, followed by a large number of specific allegations of election fraud. As the integrity of the election continued to be questioned and evidence continued to emerge, most mainstream media stuck to a one-sided narrative by calling the 2020 election the most secure in American history, and sought to silence opposing voices.

The results of the 2020 election will not only decide the future of the United States, but also determine the future of the world.

Following election night, The Epoch Times’ investigative team quickly went to work. In an attempt to uncover the issues behind the election, investigative reporter Joshua Phillip traveled across the country to swing states to interview whistleblowers, big data experts, and election experts.

This is the first investigative documentary published on election integrity in the 2020 U.S. presidential election.

Why was the vote count halted in key swing states on election night? What are the problems and potential fraud associated with mail-in ballots? Is Dominion Voting Systems secure or not? What lies behind the $400 million received by the parent company of Dominion Voting Systems less than a month before the election? Who is trying to manipulate the U.S. election behind the scenes? Who is the benefactor of an increasingly divided American society? What will become of America at this historical juncture?

What choice should you, I, and every American patriot make? The Epoch Times’ investigative team presents to you a detailed investigative report.

Watch the documentary on the Epoch Times and NTD websites:

 

Notes:

It is no surprise that mail-in votes that were counted later favored Biden, while in-person ballots favored Trump.  Trump discouraged his supporters from voting by mail, while Democrats, who were more cautious about Covid, were encouraged to vote bby mail. ( ~ 7 min)

Swing state voters:

Would Republicans be likely to vote for Republican Congresspeople but not for Trump for President?

Richard Hopkins, Erie County Postmaster.  Project Veritas.

Poll watchers weren’t allowed close enough.  People weren’t allowed in.

Michigan resident was sent an absentee ballot.  Was asked to sign an affidavit.  Someone voted in my name.

Voters were not on the list.

Detroit: The atmosphere for poll watchers was hostile.  I got yelled at for stepping closer.  I was not feeling comfortable.  I can’t figure out what you would be doing unless you were hiding something.

1 million votes had irregularities.  1000 people used PO Boxes and voted by mail.

We called people that moved but a ballot was cast anyway. (My Brother in Ontario voted in PA) (~ 25 min)

Georgia poll watchers were sent home while ballots were counted.  This must have been organized and planned in advance?

Wireless network:  AV_Connect:  stands for Absentee Voter?

The contract specifies that the voter machines be connected to the internet.

Without Wayne county, Biden would not have won.

Voting machines can be easily hacked in 2 minutes.

When I typed in Dominion voting safe ..  I got

In the past, experts warned that voting machines could be hacked.

The alleged vulnerabilities are a feature, not a bug.

Backup overflow error is not a normal error.  It is what you might get if you were backing up to a SQL Database.

Closed Source is more vulnerable than Open Source.

The Salami method:  the software uses fractional vote.

The Television ticker changed.  I’d like to see the log.

Diebold technology was transferred to Dominon

Dominion’s parent company received $400 million right before the election

Staple Street Capital website was redesigneed

cancelled a planned appearance at a hearing

eric coomer’s bio was removed from the website, offices were closed

employees deleted their LinkedIn profiles

There are two UBS Securities companies in the world.  One in China.

China purchased Dominon

Bloomberg profile shows Chinese nationals in charge of UBS.

Her background is shrouded in secrecy.  Here photo can not be found on the internet.

UBS was established by the Vice President of China.

 

 

 

 

 

Judge Approves Release of Dominion Forensic Audit

A judge in Michigan on Monday permitted parties in a court case to release the results of a forensic imaging examination of Dominion Voting Systems machines, with redactions of code.

The 23-page report was published soon after by Allied Security Operations Group. It includes expert analysis from Russell Ramsland, a former Republican Party candidate who works with the group.

Ramsland’s team concluded that Dominion’s system “intentionally generates an enormously high number of ballot errors.”

Dominion didn’t respond to a request for comment.

13th Circuit Judge Kevin Elsenheimer agreed to remove a protective order that was blocking the release of the report on the request of attorney Matthew DePerno, after attorneys with Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s office said they didn’t oppose doing so.

DePerno pushed for the removal in a court hearing, saying the order was meant to be temporary and it had achieved its purpose of preventing him from releasing information on the imaging before Benson’s office had an opportunity to review it.

“We believe that public interest in seeing what we discovered and what we say in the report would outweigh any potential harm to Dominion software,” DePerno told the court.

He argued that confirming the accuracy of the electoral process is a greater public interest in this case than any potential issues related to Dominion software and that the company had an opportunity to intervene in the case but did not do so.

Erik Grill, an assistant attorney general, criticized the lawyer for giving an interview late last week in which he asserted Benson lied, saying doing so essentially violated the protective order.

“The secretary of state has been prejudiced by the premature disclosure of the preliminary report. We just wanted to review the preliminary report and present a counterargument at the same time that the preliminary report was issued,” Grill said. “That is no longer possible as a result of Mr. DePerno’s interview.”

jocelyn benson
Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson speaks in Detroit, Mich., on Aug. 18, 2020. (Rebecca Cook/Reuters)

He also asserted that DePerno distributed the report to outside parties, pointing to lawyers in a separate case alerting the U.S. Supreme Court of new evidence filed in DePerno’s case.

DePerno said he did not share the report with any other parties.

Benson doesn’t oppose the distribution of the report, provided the secretary of state can release its counterargument, Grill added.

An Antrim County attorney said it didn’t oppose the release, as long as the county is similarly allowed “to explain the several errors that we believe are contained in the preliminary report,” which he said was based on “faulty assumptions and incorrect assumptions.”

The order came in Bailey v. Antrim County. Plaintiff William Bailey asked to be allowed to examine Dominion machines because of the skewed results that the county reported in the presidential election. County officials initially said Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden received more than 2,000 votes over President Donald Trump, but later changed the results to show Trump received nearly 4,000 more votes than Biden.

Benson and Antrim County Clerk Sheryl Guy have said what happened was due to human error.

“The error in reporting unofficial results in Antrim County Michigan was the result of a user error that was quickly identified and corrected,” Benson said in a statement last month.

But the new suit said many questions remain unanswered, including whether Dominion tabulators in the county were tampered with, whether they have the capacity to connect to the Internet, and whether they had any open VPN ports during the election.

The judge earlier this month allowed Bailey’s attorney and experts he brought in to examine the machines. They conducted a forensic examination.

Elsenheimer had at the same time issued a protective order, blocking the release of the results of the examination.

Attorney General Barr to Leave Administration, Trump Announces

William Barr is stepping down as attorney general “before Christmas,” President Donald Trump wrote in a Twitter post on Dec. 14.

“Just had a very nice meeting with Attorney General Bill Barr at the White House. Our relationship has been a very good one, he has done an outstanding job! As per letter, Bill will be leaving just before Christmas to spend the holidays with his family,” Trump wrote.

Trump said that Deputy Attorney General Jeff Rosen, whom he described as “an outstanding person,” will become the acting attorney general after Barr departs the administration.

“Highly respected Richard Donoghue will be taking over the duties of Deputy Attorney General,” Trump wrote. “Thank you to all!”

 

 

 

Trump also posted a letter from Barr, who was appointed by Trump in 2019, who said he will be now “wrapping up a few important matters” in the Department of Justice (DOJ). The letter details how the DOJ is continuing to look into allegations of voter fraud during the Nov. 3 election.

“I am greatly honored that you called on me to serve your administration and the American people once again as attorney general,” Barr added.

In recent weeks, Trump has signaled that he was disappointed with Barr’s performance after the DOJ said it wasn’t able to find evidence of widespread election fraud. Barr told The Associated Press in late November that “to date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have affected a different outcome in the election.”

The DOJ later attempted to clarify his remarks, saying that numerous news outlets published incorrect or misleading reports.

The president had also expressed his displeasure with how Barr handled probes into the origin of the probe into Trump’s campaign. Barr had appointed U.S. Attorney John Durham to look into these investigations, and so far, only one FBI official, Kevin Clinesmith, was indicted and convicted.

Trump on Dec. 3 told reporters that the DOJ and Barr haven’t “looked very hard” into allegations of voter fraud or irregularities.

“When he looks he’ll see the kind of evidence that right now you are seeing in the Georgia Senate,” Trump said, referring to hearings in the state on alleged fraud and irregularities. “He hasn’t done anything yet,” he said at the time.

When he was asked about Barr’s job status, the president told reporters to “ask me that in a number of weeks from now.”

Barr struck an optimistic tone in his letter. He noted that Trump was able to deal with “baseless accusations” that his 2016 campaign colluded with Russia.

“Few could have weathered these attacks,” Barr said, “much less forge ahead with a positive program for the country.”

“The nadir of this campaign was the effort to cripple, if not oust, your administration with the frenzied” Russia accusations, he said.

Barr also touted Trump’s record in dealing with the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) economic exploits as well as the president’s actions against Mexican drug cartels.

According to Justice Scalia, Trump’s Lawyers Should Face Sanctions for ‘Litigation Abuse’

The vast majority of Americans now recognize that Joe Biden will be our nation’s next president. Nonetheless, only moments after all the major networks called the election for Biden, Donald Trump issued a defiant statement promising to “prosecute our case in court” and arguing that Biden has been “falsely” declared the winner. It’s not exactly clear what Trump’s legal objection is, but it appears he’ll be arguing that some unspecified number of “illegal” ballots were counted, and also that there’s been a media and pollster conspiracy to mislead the public.

Being a sore loser disgraces the office of the president, but acting disgracefully is not illegal. After all, the president and the few remaining pundits who repeat his totally unsupported ideas can’t easily be punished for lying to the American people. But his lawyers in these promised lawsuits are different than politicians and pundits. As officers of the court, they swear oaths to present only cases that have a “basis in law and fact.”

If the Trump campaign continues to file cases claiming fraud that lack any actual evidence of fraud or malfeasance, its lawyers should be fined, suspended or even disbarred. But don’t take my word for it—take the word of the late conservative hero Justice Antonin Scalia.

Scalia weighed in on this issue in 1993. That year, the Supreme Court adopted amendments to the federal rules of civil procedure, which are the boring, complicated compendium of legal rules that apply in every federal court in the country. Under those rules, a lawyer may not sign a paper that is “being presented for any improper purpose, such as to harass, cause unnecessary delay, or needlessly increase the cost of litigation.” The rules also state that “the factual contentions” in a legal pleading must either “have evidentiary support” or “will likely have evidentiary support after a reasonable opportunity for further investigation or discovery.”

In sum, it’s against federal law for a lawyer to do what Trump is openly asking his legal team to do: make stuff up about fraud solely to delay, confuse and harass. Courts are broadly authorized to impose sanctions on lawyers for violating these rules, including by issuing fines and suspensions.

So how harsh should judges be in applying these rules? In a 1993 opinion regarding changes to this rule, Scalia wrote that judges should come down hard on lawyers abusing the system in this way. In his view, lawyers who go to court without evidence for their cases should be sanctioned with mandatory fines, and they should not be given any opportunity to correct their errors by withdrawing frivolous filings. “In my view,” he wrote in an opinion expressing little sympathy for lawyers who engaged in what he termed “litigation abuse,” “those who file frivolous suits and pleadings should have no ‘safe harbor.'” Scalia thought that courts must punish this conduct to deter bad behavior and free up the use of the courts’ time to hear legitimate disputes.

It’s particularly important that the courts take Scalia’s advice and deny any “safe harbor” to lawyers who file cases without evidence just to delay or harass, for two main reasons. First, judges cannot allow the president to use the courts to give these baseless claims an aura of legitimacy. Republican House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, for instance, has tweeted that the “election is not final” until the legal “process is resolved.” But if the Trump campaign is just going to file meritless cases every day for the next two months, then, by this standard, the election will never be final. This is nonsense. Judges should not allow the Trump campaign to point to pending lawsuits to let people think that the election is not final, and lawyers who would be a party to this abuse must be sanctioned.

Second, letting lawyers skate by for filing baseless lawsuits is particularly perverse in the middle of the pandemic. Courts are invaluable public resources, and court proceedings have been delayed substantially this year. Trump’s lawyers should not be allowed to clog the already over-taxed state and federal courts with a blitz of baseless litigation that wastes the time of judges and court staff, and costs the taxpayers money. To deter this behavior, the lawyers who dare file cases without evidence must be punished.

To be sure, everyone with a good faith legal claim deserves a day in court. And there are surely a few claims that even Trump can bring in good faith; for instance, if Trump is within the margin of a recount in a particular state, there’s no reason he can’t file suit asking for one—as long as he’s willing to foot the bill if the recount doesn’t change the outcome. But most cases won’t have a prayer, because they are not even supposed to be based in reality. Members of the American Bar Association must be very wary of taking the president up on this campaign of frivolous lawsuits. Judges following in Scalia’s footsteps can, and should, punish the lawyers severely.

The Warning Signs of a Combustible Presidential Transition

This summer may provide a grim preview of what the post-election period will be like.

LATROBE, Pennsylvania—President Donald Trump has long signaled that if he loses reelection, it would surely be illegitimate. With his base primed to believe that victory is the only acceptable outcome, the post-election period could be the most combustible in memory. This wrenching summer—and the Trump rally I attended here yesterday—provides a grim preview of what the weeks after the November 3 vote could look like, with a subset of Trump’s supporters already showing that they’re prepared to advance his interests in the streets.

When I asked Leo Walker, a 68-year-old retiree at the rally, whether the president’s backers would publicly protest a Biden victory, he said, “They’ll do more than that. They will take the country back.” By force? “They will take the country back. There’s no doubt in my mind.” Trump, Walker said, “can do no wrong.”

The weeks after the election could be “a very dangerous period” for the country, says Miles Taylor, a former senior official in the Homeland Security Department, whose agents were deployed to quell recent police-violence protests in Portland, Oregon, against the wishes of the state’s leadership. Taylor left the agency last year and has since emerged as an outspoken critic of the president. “I talk to law-enforcement officials all the time who I used to serve with, and they’re nervous about November and December,” he continued. “We’re seeing an historic spike in gun sales. There’s some of the worst polarization in United States history. This is beyond a powder keg. This is the Titanic with powder kegs filled all the way to the hull.”

Faced with civil unrest, a president’s job at the most basic level is to calm things down. That’s not Trump’s style. He’s called the Black Lives Matter movement a “Marxist group,” ignoring its role in fighting racism. He defended 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse after he was charged with killing two people during demonstrations in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last week. On the opening night of their presidential-nominating convention, Republicans gave a speaking role to Patricia and Mark McCloskey, the wealthy white homeowners who pointed guns at Black Lives Matter protesters who marched past their St. Louis property. On Twitter, Trump cheered the arrival of his supporters who showed up in Portland to counter prolonged protests there.

The president has also stoked confrontation beyond the demonstrations over police violence and systemic racism. In the spring, he tweeted a demand to “liberate” Michigan, Virginia, and Minnesota, three states with Democratic governors who’d imposed measures aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus. Armed protesters showed up at Michigan’s state capitol in May objecting to Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-at-home orders. They’ve also turned up in Texas to defend businesses that have opened in spite of the orders.

“It’s absolutely terrifying,” says Rosa Brooks, a former Pentagon official in the Obama administration who’s been running war-games-style exercises about the election outcome. “People who study political violence have been warning for a long time that conditions that we’re seeing in the United States resemble those that you see in countries that slide all the way down into civil conflict. We’re only going further down that chute.”

Should the election drag on or should their candidate lose, Trump’s most aggressive supporters might consider it a patriotic act to publicly contest what they see as a fraudulent election. That’s one scenario Brooks has been weighing through her work with the Transition Integrity Project, which includes dozens of former government officials and political strategists from both parties. After holding exercises to game out a potential post-election crisis, one conclusion the group reached was that “President Trump and his more fervent supporters have every incentive to try to turn peaceful pro-Biden (or anti-Trump) protests violent in order to generate evidence that a Democratic victory is tantamount to ‘mob rule,’” as was described in a recent report. (Atlantic staff writer David Frum is a participant in the project.)

In interviews at the rally here yesterday afternoon, Trump supporters told me a Biden victory is so implausible that it could come about only through corrupt means. Latrobe sits in a county where Trump defeated Hillary Clinton four years ago by a 2–1 margin, and no one I spoke with thought Trump was in any real danger of losing this race either.

Walker spoke of a potential “revolution” were that to happen. “He ain’t got a prayer,” Walker said of Biden. “He can only win with fraud.

“That’s the only prayer, and that will cause the third and final revolution in this country,” he added, citing the Revolutionary War and the Civil War.

Before I entered the airplane hangar where the rally was held, I spoke with John and Michele Urban, a couple from Latrobe, as they waited in line to get inside. “Either way, there’s going to be turmoil,” Michele Urban said. “A revolution. I’d never thought I’d live to see it. I’m 66 years old.” Her husband, 68, told me: “Democrats have sealed their own fate. They’ve proven they’re not true Americans. They’re not for this country, and they’re not for our freedom. We’re just not going to take it any more. Trump is a godsend.”