U.S. Freedom Convoy revs up the right-wing internet
Is it a real threat or just a bunch of digital exhaust?
With Russia invading Ukraine, Texas Gov. Abbott all but criminalizing the existence of trans youth, and far-right trucker convoys threatening to shut down DC, this week has been an absolute sh*t storm. We’re hoping that next week will be less so, but if online indicators are to be believed, we should fasten our seatbelts.
Ahead of expected “freedom convoy” protests in DC over the next few days, DC police have been making contingency plans, a fence has been erected around the U.S. Capitol, and national guardsmen will be deployed. Are the much-hyped U.S. Freedom Convoys really going to be a thing? Are they just wishful thinking by right-wing pundits like Tucker Carlson? Early signs show it may just be a bunch of digital exhaust.
We’ll take a look in this week’s FWIW. But first…
By the numbers:
Digital advertising in this year’s competitive elections is starting to heat up, with Stacey Abrams, Greg Abbott, and Raphael Warnock each making the top ten political ad spenders on Facebook nationwide last week. Down in Florida, we’ve watched as Sen. Marco Rubio’s digital Latino outreach strategy starts to take shape - his campaign is spending a few thousand dollars each week targeting different communities on Facebook with ads tailored to them. Read more about it here >>
Meanwhile, here were the top-spending political advertisers on Google platforms last week, including YouTube:
Pro-Biden group Building Back Together is continuing its efforts to sell the administration’s agenda online ahead of the midterms. They’ve been running the below ad on YouTube for a few weeks, targeting voters in Pennsylvania and Georgia:
We haven’t seen ad dollars behind this one, yet, but it’s worth a mention. Colorado Democratic candidate for Congress Alex Walker, running against Rep. Lauren Boebert, released this video on Wednesday to launch his campaign. We don’t have any additional comment 🤐:
Looking elsewhere, political advertising on Roku continues to lag. We only spotted a few notable advertisers on the streaming platform last week, including Indiana Sen. Todd Young, Texas AG Ken Paxton, and Protect Our Future PAC.
Lastly, here are the top political ad spenders on Snapchat so far this year:
Midterm spending takeaways
The midterms are upon us, and we’re keeping a close eye on digital ad spending in key Senate, House, and Gubernatorial contests. For full access to the most comprehensive dataset of midterm digital spending, become a paying subscriber here. >>
Raphael Warnock was the top-spending battleground Senate candidate on FB + Google ads last week (view Senate data).
Stacey Abrams was the top spending battleground Gubernatorial candidate on digital ads last week (view Gov data).
IL-14 was the most expensive swing U.S. House district race online last week (view House data).
New from Campaigner:
What’s it like to go from field organizer to campaign manager in just a few short years? For this week’s Campaigner newsletter, we spoke with Chartu Lopez-White, who’s currently a Campaign Manager on a State Senate campaign in North Carolina. Read + subscribe on to hear about her experience getting involved with politics, and what she thinks down-ballot campaigns should keep in mind as they try to win over voters.
Is the U.S. Freedom Convoy just revving up or is it digital exhaust?
Depending on where you get your news, you may have heard that the truckers and far-right activists who successfully blockaded parts of Canada for weeks have inspired some type of spinoff movement in the United States. Given the impact of Canada’s protests, we’re on high alert - not to mention how many supporters of the U.S. Freedom Convoys have ties to January 6th or QAnon.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to FWIW to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.