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Are you a diehard supporter of President Donald Trump, the kind of MAGA-swag wearing man who isn’t afraid to shout “I love my president!” while walking down the streets of New York City?
Well, then, prepare to be appalled. Right-wing disinformation peddler James O’Keefe III is here with his first “expose” of the 2020 election. He’s running an interview of a field organizer from the Sanders campaign, where he says that if Sanders is elected, Sanders will run anti-Nazi re-education camps for the most ardent of Trump’s white nationalist base.
BREAKING: @BernieSanders “free education” policies to “teach you how to not be a f**king nazi.”; 'There is a reason Stalin had Gulags'; 'Expect violent reaction' for speech. If Bernie doesn't get nomination "Milwaukee will burn"— James O'Keefe (@JamesOKeefeIII) January 14, 2020
Stay tuned: https://t.co/BFGnoCeJE7#Expose2020 pic.twitter.com/Koh6UTibbe
O’Keefe is the head of Project Veritas, a far-right outlet that uses misleading edits and various forms of entrapment to try and catch Democrats, liberals, and media members in “shocking” statements. His buffoonish efforts have tried to take down CNN, Twitter, Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.), and various other national figures, all without any success.
Now, he’s setting his sights on the 2020 race.
“So like, in Nazi Germany after the fall of the Nazi party there was a shit-ton of the populace that was fucking Nazified,” Sanders organizer Kyle Jurek said in the O’Keefe video. “Germany had to spend billions of dollars re-educating their fucking people. To not be Nazis.”
Like all Project Veritas videos, it’s unlikely the Project Veritas employee identified themselves before speaking with Jurek. In the past, Project Veritas employees have posed as dates to get people to speak with them.
And, the merits of de-Nazifying the world aside, a person on a campaign of over 300 salaried employees and infinite more volunteers hardly speaks to the literal plans of Sanders.
It’s not a plank of his platform or a tab on his website, mainly because it has no basis in reality. But that didn’t stop some of the more prominent voices in right-wing activism from demanding Sanders denounce his secret plan to establish gulags, or labor camps, in America.
Bernie campaign workers calling for re education and gulags fro President Donald Trump supporters. Threaten riots and beating cops if Bernie does not win. Nice campaign you have there Sen. Sanders. #Expose2020. https://t.co/tldle9ZXOA— Carmine Sabia (@CarmineSabia) January 14, 2020
Meanwhile, a Sanders field organizer threatens that "cops are gonna be...getting f*cking beaten in Milwaukee" at Democratic national convention. Latest PV Action investigation #Expose2020 ==> https://t.co/DwDsfaGoWA— Michelle Malkin (@michellemalkin) January 14, 2020
Bernie Sanders organizer promises Stalin-style gulags for Trump supporter pic.twitter.com/q4PazwKZyW— Jack Posobiec🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) January 14, 2020
It’s unclear who, exactly, O’Keefe is trying to persuade. But specific targeting isn’t entirely the point of these videos. Instead, the goal is to flood timelines with ambient disinformation—as much as possible, really—in the hopes that some sentiment of it sticks in the recesses of the average voter’s mind.
“Sanders, gulags? I certainly don’t like that.”
So don’t fall for it.
David Covucci is the Layer 8 editor at the Daily Dot, covering the intersection of politics and the web. His work has appeared in Vice, the Huffington Post, Jezebel, Gothamist, and other publications. He is particularly interested in hearing any tips you have. Reach out at [email protected]