Right-wing political operative Ali Alexander has brought back “Stop the Steal,” a campaign to get right-wing activists to discredit mail-in voting, disrupt vote-counting, and falsely accuse Democrats of stealing the presidential election—presumably because legally cast ballots are being counted in states that have yet to declare the winner of the 2020 presidential contest. (Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden appears to be prevailing among votes cast by mail-in ballots.)
The move comes after President Donald Trump declared a premature victory in the early morning hours Wednesday and accused Democrats of mass voter fraud, a false narrative he’s been pushing for months about mail-in voting. At a Wednesday afternoon press conference in Philadelphia, Trump’s legal team, including conspiracy theorist and Trump sycophant Rudy Giuliani, doubled down on those claims, as have right-wing activists. The race is still too close to call, but as more mail-in ballots have begun to be counted, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has taken the lead.
In a panicked Periscope broadcast Wednesday evening, Alexander said he was “busy organizing thousands and thousands and thousands of people” to join “voter integrity” rallies in Phoenix, Arizona, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Detroit, Michigan, Madison, Wisconsin, and Atlanta, Georgia, (and perhaps Nevada) to protest. Alexander said the first rally would feature “Pizzagate” booster Mike Cernovich at the capitol in Arizona at 7 p.m. Wednesday evening, claiming that they’d have hundreds there and 10,000 attendees there by Friday. A second rally took place Wednesday night in Las Vegas. Alexander encouraged viewers to go to a website where they could register with the campaign and explained how he hoped to draw attention to these rallies.
“We’re matching influencers with operatives, so every influencer will have an operative there also working with local media, capturing all the vehicles going in and out ‘dropping of ballots,’” Alexander said. “We’re gonna capture everything.”
“If you need a plane ticket, I’ll PayPal you money, because people have sent me money,” Alexander said, before clarifying, “We’re flying giant influencers. We’re flying those people who are offering to share their audiences.”
Earlier in the day, Ali had put out a call for right-wing political operatives to lead the campaign in a number of states where Trump and Biden are in tight races or where Biden has won by a slim margin.
He called on Scott Presler and far-right activist Jack Posobiec to join the effort in Pennsylvania; Turning Point USA Founder Charlie Kirk and Cernovich in Arizona; Alex Bruesewitz in Wisconsin; and CJ Pearson and Daniel Bostic, a producer of “The Plot Against the President” in Georgia. He also called on Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch, a right-wing legal outfit that doubles as a communications shop, to work the legal network and Amy Kremer of Women for Trump and Ed Martin of Phyllis Schlafly Eagles to work the campaign nationally. He also said that Ed Martin, Amy Kremer and Kylie Jane Kremer would be “running point” for a Washington, D.C. event 1 p.m. Thursday.
At Wednesday’s rally in Phoenix, Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona, who has his own ties to far-right nationalists, introduced Cernovich to the assembled crowd waving Trump flags. Taking the megaphone, Cernovich claimed that 200 anti-fascist activists had planned to disrupt his rally, but he said they’d never show up because, “I’ll get sent to prison after kissing their asses—legally and lawfully under self-defense laws.”
Cernovich went on to attack Fox News. “Do you think Fox News is suppressing pro-Trump vote?” He asked the crowd. “Yes!” The crowd shouted back.
Alexander also lashed out at Fox News in his Periscope, saying the conservative, pro-Trump network’s coverage of the presidential election was why he launched the campaign. He asked his viewers to spend 15 to 20 minutes after his Periscope harassing Fox News reporters and producers.
“Fox News is about to call the election for Joe Biden. How does this happen? They called Arizona too early. … I think it’s going for Trump,” he said. “If they call Nevada for Biden, then they will accidentally be forced. You need to tweet the hell out of everyone at Fox News.”
In September, Alexander took to Periscope to float the idea of revamping “Stop the Steal” for the 2020 presidential election, Jared Holt reported for Right Wing Watch then. At that time, Alexander had said that the 2020 “Stop the Steal” campaign would bypass social media by collecting phone numbers from supporters.
The original “Stop the Steal” campaign was led by Alexander in 2018, along with convicted felon and self-described “dirty trickster” Roger Stone, who Alexander said came up with the phrase, and his associates, including Posobiec. The campaign featured protests and misinformation against a ballot recount in Florida’s 2018 Senate race between Republican Rick Scott and Democrat Bill Nelson. In that campaign, pro-Trump activists from around the country descended on Florida to protest and spread misinformation, a seeming reboot of the so-called “Brooks Brothers riot,” which broke out following Florida’s contested presidential election results in 2000. Stone was behind that riot, which shut down recount efforts in Miami-Dade.
For the 2018 “Stop the Steal” campaign, Alexander said that he had recruited QAnon followers as well as people experiencing homelessness to fill spots at the protest. Politico reported in 2016 that Alexander’s PAC had received a large donation from billionaire Robert Mercer; Ali claims to not be taking money from him for this campaign.
It appears the 2018 “Stop the Steal” campaign was an attempted dry run for the 2020 presidential election. On Twitter, Alexander claimed to have approached Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel about running the campaign and that she had mocked it. On Wednesday, Alexander lashed out at those around Trump and McDaniel, who he called “the dumbest woman in history.” He said that the RNC, McDaniel, and the Trump campaign were not doing the campaign.
Forced errors in messaging and non-legal and non-protest actions coming out of the GOP right now is simply stunning. Trump may ruin his own efforts before they start. Why is no one around him doing this right?
— Ali ? #StopTheSteal (@ali) November 4, 2020
Alexander claimed that his campaign of right-wing and far-right activists just want “a fair, predictive, determinative result” and that “This election is going to be conducted fairly where it produces a legitimate result that both sides can come together on.”
“I’m going to be here in Texas, just providing my friends with support,” Alexander said. “What I want to do is bring this country as much together as we can and have a certain outcome and ride off into the sunset.”