Did people leave the Democratic Party in droves this weekend? If the reporting of several leading conservative sites are too be believed, yes, the left got a lot smaller under the so-called #WalkAway movement.
But it probably didn’t.
What is the #WalkAway movement?
The impetus for the right is a six-minute video posted in May from a New York-based hairdresser. Brandon Straka, who is gay, spoke into the camera about the Democratic Party’s most “insidious lie” and how the party co-opts people of color and LGBTQ people without actually advancing their causes.
“Once upon a time, I was a liberal,” the video begins. “I felt I’d found a tribe.” But, he said, they will do “absolutely nothing for you.”
Although the video is old, it’s been circulating on the web and exploded at the end of last week, when it was covered by the Epoch Times and Breitbart.
From the Epoch Times, on Thursday.
Some 5 million people on Facebook and YouTube have seen the video by now. A very handsome gay man, who you just assume is about to scold you on progressive talking points, instead says this:
“Once upon a time, I was a liberal. Well, to be honest, less than a year ago, I was still a liberal.
“I reject a system which allows an ambitious, misinformed and dogmatic mob to suppress free speech, create false narratives, and apathetically steamroll over the truth.”
As it exploded, leading conservatives posted about it online, including Sarah Palin and the president’s son.
Only in the alternative universe that the failing New York Times lives in, could this story not be titled:— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) July 1, 2018
“How the Left Gave Up on the 1st Amendment.”
The liberal Resistance now in open warfare against the entire Bill of Rights. Terrifying. #walkaway https://t.co/dJuINMczNO
The Democratic Party is the party of slavery. The party of Jim Crow. The party of segregation. The party of the KKK.— CJ Pearson (@thecjpearson) June 30, 2018
Democrats walked away from black folks long ago. Now, it’s our time to #WalkAway. pic.twitter.com/tvhk5Qa5Qp
But conservatives who are boasting about #WalkAway have… never been a part of the Democratic Party. People did begin posting about why they left, but almost all of it predated this video, a move evidenced by the number of Obama voters breaking from Trump in 2016.
This was me in 2008. In 2013 I woke up and saw that Democrats weren't interested in representing ALL the people.The change I hoped for never came because they focused on revenge politics and gave a platform to ignorance rather than true equality. So I decided to #WalkAway pic.twitter.com/pLaEjzuP5F— Charles The Historian (@TheGr8Historian) July 2, 2018
And there’s just one problem with the burgeoning movement.
One of the top accounts that’s been celebrated across conservative circles, @sophialimited, who said she had Hispanic, immigrant parents who decided to leave the Democratic party, was a bot. Twitter suspended it, but not before it racked up tens of thousands of retweets.
This is a fake/bot account trying to make #WalkAway happen. 16k RTs for "Sofia Vargoros," a bot with a profile pic stolen from — I am not kidding — a book about getting rich from penny stocks. pic.twitter.com/wTwphtPS23— Sarah Lertzman (@sllertzman) July 1, 2018
The bot swelling didn’t stop conservative blogs from covering the news as a dramatic movement “#WalkAway Movement Gains Momentum as People Leave the Democrat Party in Droves” wrote the Gateway Pundit.
Breitbart announced it has “quickly morphed into a major force on social media and beyond.”
But, if anything, it just became a joke among liberals.
I am a bot with a Latino person’s profile picture I stole from a stock photo site. Even though Trump is keeping immigrant children in cages, I will #WalkAway from the Democratic party and convince you to do the same because Donald Trump Jr. will retweet and give me many likes.— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) July 2, 2018
Because no one is walking away from the Democratic party just because Breitbart said people were.