WashPost Writer Philip Bump Lets Cat Out of the Bag on Zuckerbucks for Democrat Turnout

May 14th, 2023 5:13 PM

All the liberal media complaining about the right-wingers trying to curtail democracy have tried not to report on "Zuckerbucks," or how Facebook mogul Mark Zuckerberg and his wife flooded money into Democrat cities for voter turnout. As Mollie Hemingway explained in her book Rigged: 

Four hundred million Zuckerbucks were distributed with strings attached. Officials were required to work with “partner organizations” to massively expand mail-in voting and staff their election operations with partisan activists. The plan was genius. And because no one ever imagined that the election system could be privatized in this way, there were no laws to prevent it. 

When Elon Musk shared a 2021 article from The Federalist, Washington Post political scribe Philip Bump penned an article on May 9 headlined, “Musk shares baseless election claim with millions of Twitter users,” smearing Musk and The Federalist.

“Interesting article,” Musk said of the 18-month-old piece. “Perhaps CommunityNotes” — Twitter’s crowdsourced notation system — “can add further context & corrections.”

This is a common way in which Musk elevates right-wing rhetoric. He’ll often engage with fringe voices by declaring their commentary to be “concerning” — suggesting it’s just something worth mulling over. Here, Musk is suggesting that this heavily adjudicated assertion somehow demands new attention.

But then Bump let the cat out of the bag. He admitted that "Zuckerbucks" weren't promoting "safe and reliable voting” during the Covid outbreak, as Zuckerberg-funded organizers originally claimed, but to increase voter turnout in Democrat-majority areas. House Republicans later discovered that less than 1 percent of the 2020 funds of the Center for Tech and Civic Life were spent on "personal protective equipment."

Much of the analysis in the Federalist article centers on the idea that these investments were larger in more-Democratic counties, using that as a peg for the argument that the investments were partisan and critical to Biden’s success.

But that argument is easily countered. CTCL’s investments were often in heavily Democratic areas — because those areas often have lower turnout rates. If you want to increase turnout, the smartest place to try to do so is places where turnout is lowest. In the United States, that’s often lower-income communities and communities that have high populations of Black and Hispanic residents, two groups that often vote heavily Democratic.

It has long been the case that non-White Americans vote less heavily than Whites.

He admitted "The higher the percentage of White people in a county, the higher the margin by which Trump won in 2020. Less-White often means more Democratic."

But Bump complained "the advantages some voters enjoy in the current system skew older, Whiter and Republican. If it was as easy for non-White and younger voters to vote as it is for older, Whiter ones, that would be a leveling of the playing field, not a skewing of it."

Bump grandly concluded: "This is the argument that Musk asks us to consider. With rhetoric cobbled together to more easily defend Trump’s 'stolen election' claims, the argument is that efforts to target low-turnout communities are centrally an effort to get more Democrats to vote — and therefore nefarious, even though it amounts to nothing more than allowing more eligible voters to vote." 

Jason Snead of the Honest Elections Project summarized Bump for everyone: