By all measurements, Col. “Buzz” Patterson was the ideal Republican candidate to challenge Rep. Ami Bera (D-CA) in the 7th Congressional District in 2020. Patterson, a 20-year military combat pilot in the United States Air Force (Retired), was also a distinguished White House military aide, bestselling author, and popular conservative public speaker. Among Patterson’s literary efforts include two New York Times best sellers, “Dereliction of Duty” and “Reckless Disregard.” His most recent books include “War Crimes” and “Conduct Unbecoming.”
Patterson worked in the White House for the Clinton Administration, and was responsible for carrying the nuclear football, officially known as the Presidential Emergency Satchel, always accompanied by a military aide carrying launch codes for nuclear weapons.
He said he’d been an intermittent Twitter user for about 10-12 years without incident. When his campaign started, they started using his account extensively, raising the bulk of campaign contributions on social media, and primarily Twitter.
Patterson said about one month before Election Day, on October 1, 2020, his Twitter account went down completely.
“We had no Twitter presence for about 34 days,” Patterson said. “We never even got a ‘suspended’ notice from Twitter. It was suspicious timing.”
Twitter said it was hacked.
He said it was almost impossible finding a live body at Twitter to speak with, but finally connected with a Twitter representative in Washington D.C. “She did help us get the account back up, but not until after the election,” he said. “We had 145,000 followers on Twitter, and almost all campaign contributions were through Twitter.”
Patterson said in the climate of COVID lockdowns, Twitter was imperative to his campaign. “We needed social media – it was crucial.” He said they couldn’t canvas neighborhoods and meet voters because of COVID restrictions, so connecting with voters on social media was the next best thing.
Patterson’s Twitter account was miraculously restored the day after the November 6, 2020 Election.
Patterson lost his race against Rep. Ami Bera. “Bera barely even ran a campaign, as if he knew he didn’t have to,” Patterson said.
“Then Biden was elected and almost magically my Twitter account was reinstated the next day,” Patterson said. “I do believe this was an in-kind contribution to Bera.”
And then, when he thought his Twitter experience couldn’t get any more frustrating, he lost 30,000 Twitter followers on January 20, 2020, the day Joe Biden was inaugurated. “It’s weird they can just turn it off and back on again,” Patterson said.
Patterson also runs the social media for STARRS.US – Standing Against Racism and Radicalism in Services, a pro-military non-profit group which has also run up against Twitter’s unseen censors. Recently Patterson said Twitter wiped out all of STARRS’ Twitter followers after only one post was put up. “We were suspended immediately,” Patterson said. He contacted Twitter and was told they were permanently suspended for violating platform rules after just one post.
“If you’re a conservative, at any given time you can wake up in the morning and have your entire organization wiped off the Twitter platform,” Patterson said. “Yet the most important tool in politics today is not television or the main stream media, it is social media. Donald Trump took that and made it work getting all of the free earned media.”
“They wanted us to quit,” Patterson said.
“Now we are seeing 1,000-1,500 new followers a day,” Patterson said. He has rebuilt his Twitter account to 195,000 followers and attributes it to the pending sale of the company. “With the Elon Musk purchase, we are seeing followers come back.”
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