At approximately 6:30PM AEDT, Donald J. Trump — a man who shares in common all the traits of burgeoning fascists through history — was declared the 45th president of the United States of America. He will take the office with a Republican majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. And the internet army that believes it elected him already has a new target.
The internet’s Trump fans spent yesterday evening gloating, and Reddit’s r/all was the first to take the heat. By 5:30PM AEDT, members of r/the_donald had massively upvoted a thread mocking the rest of the platform’s users. On Reddit, moderators are tasked with keeping the peace on the site, removing hateful threads and mitigating vote brigading — the act of rallying people to upvote or downvote posts. Rsashe1980, who posted the thread titled “HEY LOSERS SJWS OF REDDIT HOW DOES OUR DICK TASTE?…,” is a moderator of 20 different Trump-related subreddits.
Elsewhere on Reddit, non-political communities like r/StarWars and r/Fallout made posts begging users to stop flooding their boards with election-related threads. “Raids” of unrelated communities were being plotted in a Trump Dischord server called Centipede Central where members of the New Right dedicated an entire room to the gleeful collection of sobbing Hillary supporters.
As the evening wore on and Trump’s victory became certain, threads appeared on various imageboards wondering what came next.
Several celebrities had threatened to emigrate if Trump’s presidency came to pass. They were early targets. “We break ground in two months” said a Reddit thread with the words BUILD THE WALL appended to it. The mass execution of anyone accused of being a “shill” was also proposed.
The denizens of these communities are deluded into fully believing they were the sole reason for both Brexit and Trump’s election, and set their sights to the upcoming election in France.
It would seem the shitposters’ new goal is to help elect Front National party member Marine Le Pen — France’s far right presidential candidate, who has already congratulated Trump on his victory. A low-quality infographic placed UKIP’s Nigel Farage and Donald Trump alongside Le Pen, Germany’s Frauke Petry, Kirralie Smith in Australia and Austria’s Heinz-Christian Strache — all far-right proto-fascist outsider candidates.
One of several severe downsides of a President-Elect Trump is that these vile online communities now know their tactics — doxxing, coordinated harassment, the wilful spread of misinformation — are not only without consequence but the correct tactical decision in political discourse. How much of an impact these communities had in influencing Trump’s presidency will never be quantifiable. At best though, it’s a digital reflection of real political unrest elsewhere in the Western world.
Up until yesterday, a Trump presidency was considered impossible by America’s best prognosticators. France, Austria, Germany and Australia would do well not to make the same mistake.