What if Donald Trump's campaign had an ace in the hole waiting for Election Day? What if there were a secret cadre of voters unsampled by any of the polls — because they don't own phones — who would turn the tide for Trump in swing states?
If that sounds crazy, that's because it is.
A hoax article claiming that all of the Amish people in America are going to vote for Donald Trump and swing the election in his favor has been shared thousands of times on Facebook, despite the fact that it is completely, 100% fake.
The "story" is yet another bait-and-switch from the notorious fake news site abc.com.co. Just glancing at the article, everything appears to be on the level. Even Google was taken in, with the article appearing in top search results for "Amish" and "voting."
But if you think about it for more than 30 seconds, you soon realize that:
- That's not what abcnews.com looks like.
- That's not abcnews.com.
Needless to say, a lot of Trump supporters are mashing go on the share button without thinking about it for 30 seconds.
Debunking this isn't exactly hard. Just a little bit of research reveals that the Amish aren't crazy about voting for leaders of the worldly kingdom. Historically, most of them don't vote, and if you've ever been stuck in traffic behind a buggy in Lancaster County, PA, you know how slow they are to change their ways.
What if they did suddenly decide to break with tradition (they never would) and get into politics in a big way? Well, Elizabethtown College's Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist studies estimates there are 79,890 Amish in Pennsylvania. In the 2012 election, Barack Obama won the state by 309,840 votes. Even if the Amish all voted as a bloc, it would take a very close election for them to make a difference.
But remember, this is political fan-fiction. The only reason we're talking about the Amish is because of a fake news story on a fake news site.
When you consider some of the attitudes and beliefs common among Trump supporters, it's not hard to see why this hoax took off. It promotes the fantasy that there is a secret mass of white voters loyal to traditional values just waiting to jump in and save the day — a literal "silent majority."
But it's not real. It never was real. It is a fake thing because it is fake.