Tracking the trackers: hand-to-hand politics

by Nathaniel Smith, Politics: A View from West Chester, 2/29/16

Jeff Roe, Ted Cruz’s campaign manager responsible for some nasty campaign tactics, was in the news last week when Cruz had to fire his communications director for dirty tricks. Roe “was among the first local operatives to tail opponents with camera-wielding trackers and, a decade ago, to investigate the social media pages of candidates and their children” (Matt Flegenheimer, “Behind Ted Cruz’s Campaign Manager, Scorched Earth and Election Victories,” New York Times, Feb. 23, 2016).

Ah yes, tracking: do you remember the “macaca” incident ten years ago, which propelled Jim Webb into the Senate (a stroke of luck comparable to locations associated with Joe Sestak‘s 2006 CD-07 opponent, incumbent Curt Weldon, being raided by the FBI the month before the election)?

In August 2006, the incumbent Republican, George Allen,

singled out S.R. Sidarth, a student working for the Webb campaign who was taping Allen’s appearance. Allen addressed Sidarth, an Indian American and a person of color, as a “macaca”… as in, “Let’s give a welcome to macaca here. Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia.” An immediate outcry led to constant Allen apologies, insisting that he was not using a racial slur. His campaign has never been the same since…. (NPR, 9/22/06)

Now I’ve met one of those trackers, right here in West Chester, when John Fetterman, and one of the 4 Democrats who will be on the April 26 ballot for US Senate, gave a talk at West Chester University on January 27.

continue reading at Politics: A View from West Chester.

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