Would you vote Hillary for a brand new Samsung tablet? That highly illegal proposition seems to be what a new Hillary campaign Get-Out-The-Vote initiative seems to be banking on. This document, sent to us by someone working inside the Hillary machine appears to be a draft of a plan to blanket certain neighborhoods in fliers that promise--and deliver--an "Obama Tablet" to anyone who goes into a voting booth (or, perhaps, submits a signed mail-in ballot) and bubbles in Hillary Clinton, and takes a selfie photo with the marked ballot to prove they did it.
Not only does this violate a multitude of campaign laws, but the financing for thousands of Samsung tablets, but the cost, at about $100.00 per tablet (retail) would run at least 20 to 30 million if they were going to try to significantly affect a national vote.
It would also, unquestionably be discovered if it were traceable to the Hillary campaign.Finally, no one we know would vote Hillary for a 100 dollar tablet. Right?
However, the information we've gotten is that the Hillary campaign is trying to replicate the success that Obama had with Obama-Phones in the black community. In this case, by attempting to use a loophole in the Bush-Era Lifeline program (which did provide free landline phones to impoverished homes), they are going to claim the tablet is a "communications device" and is therefore covered under the program and current law. While actual vote buying as the ad promotes is still illegal, it will likely be done through a web of unaccountable entities distributing the actual message.
These filers will be used to blanket black neighborhoods, appealing to young people who would otherwise not vote, and have been told constantly that Mr. Trump is a racist. This kind of appeal, although probably very, very illegal, if funded with sufficient dark-money could move demographics in a few key swing states.
We asked Michael Whaley, a Democrat strategist, about this plan. He told us "This is a nearly unprecedentedly brazen attempt in terms of modern election strategy. While there has, historically, been vote-buying in the United States, this is overt and, while illegal, could wind up being litigated in the courts far past November 8th. This is the sort of thing the Clintons excel at."
He continued to note that as younger black voters "Tend not to trust Clinton any more than Trump," it is likely that the campaign is becoming strained in areas where it is planning on winning as much black support as Obama won while not under-performing Obama with whites.
"That isn't happening," Whaley said. "Right now they're doing very well with the African American vote but at the expense of moderate, white suburban voters. Those voters have consistently been told Trump is a racist, and they don't like that--but we're seeing, as the campaign goes on, movement back towards the center and a tighter race. In the 2012 election, the black community was heavily invested in free phones including new-model iPhones and top-end Android products. These Obama-Phones were a very successful outreach to the welfare-based black community and it looks like Clinton is trying to up her game with that same segment. Ironically, those same phones are what they'll use to take the selfie."
Asked if it was judged illegal after the election what would happen, Whaley shrugged: "I assume if the administration is already entrenched, with a friendly attorney general and several circuit-court appointments made or pending, they'll be untouchable. We also know that while the Democratic National Committee or Dark Money group might be indicted, the charges would, as always, never quite reach Clinton herself."