Some thoughts on electoral momentum and information warfare
Momentum is a fundamentally the propagation of enthusiasm amongst the electorate. Every single person who has enthusiasm , is implicitly part of 'momentum'. It's not something you see others doing. It's something you're part of - either as a node propagating the enthusiasm to more people, or ending with you. You can either create and propagate momentum, or it ends at you, and it's left for others continue.
Momentum generally cannot be manufactured. This is because it is propagated organically. There's a limit to the number of people you can enthuse, who aren't particularly excited to begin with, just because you say so. However, when there's an underlying positive sentiment, momentum channelizes that together into a potent force. It's like a tree , with enthusiastic people being branches propagating the message forward to more branches and leaves.
While momentum cannot be artificially created, it can be actively hampered. This is done by vigorous astroturfing
- a response to momentum that's built upon grassroots enthusiasm (astroturf, the sports playing surface, has artificial grass texture). It seeks to dampen the natural enthusiasm, by propagating rumors, falsehoods or anything that plays on the sentiment seeking to lead people to question their enthusiasm. Every single person - not just 'supporters' of the other side' are targets of astroturfing. In fact, it is primarily focused on those who are supporters of the momentum. It seeks to lower your enthusiasm to propagate the positive energy.
Why is all this important ? Because those who support a political cause and notice both natural popular enthusiasm for a leader, and active astroturfing by his opponents, are part of either enhancing momentum or being of bringing it to a grinding halt. When that happens, you're a stub, and nothing further branches from you.
It is easier to halt momentum than to construct or propagate it. That is because like physics we aren't collectively always propagating enthusiasm towards a cause. Therefore the active state of being is that people are generally positive, but not so much, that there's an active groundswell of news, excitement and motivation building. Astroturfing down a nascent momentum is far easier than cultivating it.
In 2014, the mainstream press unwittingly fed the momentum. They didn't recognize what they were seeing because it's been a long time since a GE had so much energy. It was newsworthy to them, but fundamentally it was feeding the NaMo momentum. In 2019 they have learned their lesson, because they're keeping an active embargo on poll rally reporting - anything they report ends up feeding popular momentum, therefore avoid reporting on scale and enthusiasm.
It's therefore important to internalize what momentum is, and what astroturfing is. YOU are momentum, not someone else. Remember the old milforum conversation with a senior Russian scientist regarding (I think early Su-30 MKI/Lyulka Saturn) transfer of technology. He responded "what is technology ? Not these pieces of metal. I am technology
. I know how to build it this way and why." Astroturfing is directed at your enthusiasm, and the less motivated, and more confused/worried/unsure you are, the more effective that astroturfing is.
Don't be part of the problem by pausing to deal with astroturfing. Don't convey negative energy based entirely upon an external FUD focused on distracting your energy. Propagating negative energy towards your own side is about the worst thing you can do, because not only does momentum end at you, but you are unwittingly or otherwise, a node reversing it. Never let yourself be made into someone else's useful idiot.