Russia pushed Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein during the 2016 election, according to a US government report. Russia’s social media operation targeted African-American voters and encouraged them to vote for Stein over Hillary Clinton.
According to a report ordered by the US Senate, Russian operatives ran an Instagram account called @woke_blacks, which pushed support for Stein. Two days before the 2016 election, the account sent the following message: “The excuse that a lost Black vote for Hillary is a Trump win is bs. It could be late, but y’all might want to support Jill Stein instead.”
This was part of a major strategy by Russia to depress Hillary Clinton’s vote by changing the voting preferences of African-Americans. Two leaked reports have shown that Russia targeted black Americans specifically as part of their efforts to secure the presidency for Donald Trump.
NBC News found that the Russian Internet Research Agency tweeted ‘Jill Stein’ more than 1,000 times during the 2016 election. It is already well-known that the IRA used its resources to increase Trump’s chances of winning, running many fake Facebook pages and ads.
The Russian operatives were also keen to stress Hillary Clinton’s controversial comments about African-Americans in the 1990s, when she apparently referred to some black Americans as ‘super predators‘. Her husband, President Bill Clinton, has been widely criticized for how his policies affected black Americans. Russia was eager to remind voters of this.
The Green Party has not yet responded to the reports, but it is unlikely that Jill Stein was aware of any of the Russian operations. She was a long-shot candidate whom the Russians used to try and harm Clinton’s chances. In the end, African-Americans turned out for Clinton in large numbers.