The Slatest

Trump Campaign Brags About Its Ongoing “Voter Suppression Operations”

Donald Trump on Wednesday in Kinston, North Carolina.

Sara D. Davis/Getty Images

Bloomberg has a big story Thursday about the Trump campaign’s data targeting operation and how it could be used to continue to make Donald Trump a political/media force after the election’s over. For immediate purposes, though, this is probably the most newsworthy section of the piece:

Instead of expanding the electorate, [campaign chairman Steve] Bannon and his team are trying to shrink it. “We have three major voter suppression operations under way,” says a senior official. They’re aimed at three groups Clinton needs to win overwhelmingly: idealistic white liberals, young women, and African Americans.


Sounds very sinister! What this turns out to mean in practice, though, is that the campaign is targeting specific Trump sound bites and negative Facebook posts about Clinton toward specific demographic groups.


  • “Trump’s invocation at the debate of Clinton’s WikiLeaks e-mails and support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership was designed to turn off Sanders supporters.”
  • “The parade of women who say they were sexually assaulted by Bill Clinton and harassed or threatened by Hillary is meant to undermine her appeal to young women.”
  • And some black Americans will see a Facebook post about Clinton discussing “superpredators” in 1996. (Clinton used the term in the context of a speech praising the racially controversial 1994 crime bill but did not use it to describe black citizens in particular.)

That’s less ominous, and doesn’t even seem particularly novel. Nonetheless, “don’t brag about committing ‘voter suppression’ ” is probably a pretty good rule of politics. Read the whole story here.

Read more Slate coverage of the 2016 campaign.