While Democrats put all their energy into checking for Russians under the bed, rather than organizing for the 2018 midterms, right-wingers are busy expanding their social networks.
Every day on Twitter, one can find thousands of posts like the above, in which “MAGA Patriots” urge their contacts to follow other Trump fans. The movement is sometimes referred to as the Trump Train.
Why should we care? Because today’s election campaigns are less and less focused on traditional persuasion, and more on identifying base supporters, then making sure they turn out to vote.
By having one’s own contacts mutually follow like-minded friends (and friends of friends, and even strangers), Tea Partiers and other far-right groups are building a massive turnout engine. It also has other political benefits, such as reinforcing the feedback loop of ideological news, while providing adherents with a built-in network of contacts who will defend their politics and attack critics.
Another political phenomenon which mainly occurs out of view of liberals and progressives: Many of these Twitterers also have an odd habit of regularly wishing each other “good morning” or “good night” on social media—posts usually accompanied by sunrises or sunsets featuring flags, soaring eagles, Jesus, and other canned patriotic or religious imagery. This, too, seems to have some kind of network-building function, which could be merely political, or could be used for more sinister purposes in a crisis.
(Note: I discovered this by accident—while searching for news of the New England Patriots.)