- - Thursday, May 5, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

A year ago it was revealed, through an unauthorized leak from a former employee, that the Kremlin had set up a shadowy business arrangement through which an army of trolls countered adverse information and spread the regime’s propaganda via social media worldwide. The effort was particularly focused on the West and its push for sanctions against Russia in response to the annexation of Crimea and Russia’s involvement in eastern Ukraine. The drive of former Soviet satellites to move closer to the European Union was also targeted. The Kremlin needed to put an end to political pressure against it and foster its own agenda and explanation of events in Ukraine and elsewhere.

Since I write a great deal about Russia and former Soviet issues, I experienced this troll army firsthand. Before the revelation about the organized social media effort came out, I marveled at how quickly pro-Russian social media accounts would pounce if I wrote anything negative about the Kremlin. These interactions were complete with threats, insults and abusive language, sometimes with the intention to intimidate. An old Soviet tactic is to marginalize the messenger when you don’t like the message. I realized at the time something coordinated was going on, and the published account of the troll army was one of those “aha” moments.

Based on my experience with these Kremlin trolls, it’s so obvious to me that much of #NeverTrump is really #ImWithHer in sheep’s clothing.

In addition to geopolitical issues, I write a lot about U.S. politics from a conservative view. I have not denigrated any of this cycle’s crop of GOP presidential candidates. I’ve put out good and bad information about Donald Trump’s campaign. I have also pointed out the similarities between the establishment’s reaction to the Trump campaign and to Ronald Reagan’s in the late 1970s, such as this statement of then-GOP Sen. Chuck Percy: “A Reagan nomination and the crushing defeat likely to follow could signal the beginning of the end of our party.”

In concern for my children’s future, I have asked the party to unite behind the GOP nominee because I believe a Hillary Clinton presidency would be the end of the America I once knew.

The response to these online postings has been eerily similar to my experience with Russian trolls. The pushback has been instant. It has been vicious and won’t let go — NEVER Trump, even if he were reincarnated into the Gipper himself. There is no discussion, there is no debate. I guess in their eyes, “the science is settled.” It has come from multiple accounts and social media channels. Many of the accounts were newly created. Hillary has taken a page from the Kremlin’s playbook, which, understanding the left’s penchant for control, is not surprising. However, the experience is disturbing. It’s Orwellian. It’s scary. I expect this from Russia. I don’t expect it from Americans.

This is why I ask the Republican Party to unite behind our nominee. There is no other choice. Hillary will do anything, say anything, sell anything of ours for money and power. The third and fourth Obama terms will obliterate freedom in this country. Conservatives won’t be able to practice conservatism. The media will be controlled. Tyranny will have arrived. These are the stakes. A write-in vote for Ted Cruz or not voting at all is a vote for the end of the American dream of freedom. I’m sorry, but that is the reality.

Isn’t it interesting that the establishment is fighting so hard against Mr. Trump but won’t lift a finger against President Obama and his agenda? Why is that? Are their agendas really in sync? There’s an adage: Follow the money. There is money and power behind the #NeverTrump movement. They are trying to fool many unknowing conservatives to follow along and be duped into giving Hillary the White House.

Yes, maybe conservatism has morphed somewhat into pro-Americanism. But how is all that compassionate conservatism working out for you as we rack up $21 trillion in debt and thousands of bodies come home from the Middle East with nothing to show for it?

I say it’s time to take care of Joey Bag o’ Donuts.

L. Todd Wood, is a former special operations helicopter pilot and Wall Street debt trader, and has contributed to Fox Business, The Moscow Times, National Review, The New York Post and many other publications. He can be reached through his website, LToddWood.com.

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