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Tue Jan 19, 2021, 10:53 AM Jan 2021

How two losers created Stop the Steal

(Salon) In January 2013, a 26-year-old right-wing blogger named Ali Akbar joined the campaign of Curtis Bostic, a former Charleston, South Carolina, city councilman and Tea Party conservative who was running against disgraced former governor Mark Sanford in a Republican congressional primary. Bostic narrowly lost to Sanford (who served two more terms in the House before getting primaried out in 2018), and the campaign disassociated itself from Akbar, whose history as a convicted felon and hack political operative had caught up with him once again.

But over those first three months of 2013, Akbar — now known to the world as Ali Alexander, architect of the 2020 Stop the Steal movement — befriended the candidate's son, Daniel Bostic, then a 20-year-old aspiring model and actor who over the next eight years would partner with Ali in a number of failed ventures, including a cryptocurrency project, a listless consulting agency, a defunct MAGA gossip blog, and a scam donation project created with right-wing trolls Jacob Wohl and Laura Loomer. The partnership's lasting contribution to the world, however, came earlier this month, when the massive pro-Trump rally they organized on the National Mall on Jan. 6 turned into a violent siege of the U.S. Capitol, defiling the seat of American democracy and leaving half a dozen people dead, including two police officers.

Back in 2013, Akbar (as he was then known), a fast-talking aspiring strategist from the Dallas-Fort Worth region, had been casting about for a new gig after Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential bid failed, taking with it his own efforts to make inroads with mainstream Republicans. Conservatives had grown increasingly wary of Akbar's felony fraud convictions and other allegations of improper conduct, such as asking donors for personal information. Akbar's political journalism project, known as National Bloggers Club, was struggling, too, after its founder's history and conduct created complications for top advisers to the Romney campaign. (Akbar was first anti-Romney and then pro-Romney.) He claimed the site was a nonprofit but apparently never registered it as such with the IRS. Its current status is "revoked," according to federal tax records.

"Akbar was a Libertarian, a Reagan conservative, and a Tea Party journo all at the same time," said freelance reporter Ron Brynaert, whose complicated history with Akbar/Alexander stretches back more than a decade. "He's always been a delusional liar with a messiah complex, who talks out of both sides of his mouth and contradicts himself." ...........(more)


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