Members of Reddit’s most misogynist communities have a second home online: Donald Trump’s subreddit.
TheRedPill is a subreddit dedicated to the “discussion of sexual strategy in a culture increasingly lacking a positive identity for men” and believes that “feminism is a sexual strategy.” As The Daily Beast’s Brandy Zadrozny wrote last month, “the red pill” is popular among the pickup artist community, wherein those “in the Men’s Rights Movement think they’ve swallowed the ‘red pill’ and can see through the evils of a politically-correct society whose supposed goal is to kill what remains of the world’s masculinity.”
According to a Daily Beast analysis, the third most popular subreddit for active users of TheRedPill in its last 1,000 threads is r/The_Donald, Reddit’s home for Trump supporters. In comparison, r/The_Donald is only the 53rd most popular subreddit for users of r/AskReddit, the site’s largest community.
R/The_Donald was a more active community for TheRedPill users than default subreddits like r/news and r/videos, to which all users are automatically subscribed upon signing up.
Donald Trump’s campaign has used /r/The_Donald as a key part of its digital strategy. The Trump camp’s Digital Director Brad Parscale tweeted in June that he visits The_Donald “daily.” And all of that shows in the memes and talking points that show up on r/The_Donald before anywhere else—from allegations that Hillary Clinton is unfit to be president because she’s allegedly suffering from a litany of diseases, to antisemitic memes that later found their way to Donald Trump Jr.’s Twitter account.
Trump’s subreddit was the sixth-most used subreddit among active users of r/MensRights, a “subreddit consisting of both men and women who believe that there is serious discrimination against men inherent in western societies.” This isn’t the behavior of a more-or-less average redditor. A member of r/AskReddit is more like to post on 52 other subreddits than posting to Trump’s community.
The eighth-most actively frequented community by posters at r/PussyPassDenied is r/The_Donald. R/PussyPassDenied lists itself as a community “where women are not allowed to use their gender as a handicap or an excuse to act like assholes. Yay equality!”
The top post this month on r/PussyPassDenied is a link to a video titled “Woman punches man at a Trump rally but didn't think he would defend himself.”
Trump has received criticism for his treatment of and language directed towards women. At least 13 women have accused the GOP candidate of sexual assault in alleged incidents dating back to the 1980s. A leaked 2005 audio tape released last month featured Trump saying that he can “grab [women] by the pussy” because “when you’re a star, they let you do it.”
So one might suspect that members of woman-hating communities might flock to Trump’s home on Reddit. But now, you don’t have to assume. There’s data to show that these two outposts in the internet swamplands are connected.
Average active Reddit users don’t appear to frequent those same communities with the same regularity. Of active users in Reddit’s largest community, r/AskReddit, r/MensRights is the 218th-most frequented subreddit, the highest ranked of the three.
R/The_Donald ranks 53rd among those same r/AskReddit active users.
The Daily Beast based their collection on an open source Subreddit Analysis bot created by Reddit user SirNeon to comb through the 1,000 most recent Reddit threads in each subreddit. (The bot is not publicly functioning, but was restored by The Daily Beast, which will post its code to GitHub.) The bot crawled the first 1,000 submissions for each subreddit as returned by Reddit’s API, then looked for the usernames in the first 200 comments within those submissions.
The code then checked for the first 100 subreddits on which each user submitted or commented.
The subreddits were then placed into a ranking, sorted by the number of unique active users in each community.
The bot then ran the same analysis for r/AskReddit, the site’s biggest community. The Daily Beast used it as a rough proxy for “average” Redditor.
Compared to users of Reddit's most popular community, r/Askreddit, users of r/The_Donald are around 3 times more likely to post to r/PussyPassDenied, 2.8 times more likely to post to r/MensRights, and 5.9 times more likely to post to r/TheRedPill.
R/The_Donald has, at points, seemingly taken over Reddit’s larger community. Reddits’ administrators made changes to the site’s algorithm to prevent the community from spamming the front page of the website, which is the eighth most visited website in the United States.
But the impact of Trump’s subreddit expands well beyond just Reddit, and r/The_Donald is more than just a collection of Trump’s online fanboys. It’s become a vital component to his campaign’s digital strategy.
In July, Donald Trump hosted an Ask Me Anything session on r/The_Donald, where he answered 12 questions and 2,200 users were banned for rules as vague as “no dissent.”
Two weeks ago, the Trump campaign’s digital director Brad Parscale completed an AMA of his own on r/The_Donald.
But the subreddit is even more conspiratorial-minded than the authoritarian for whom its named. When the r/The_Donald searched for new moderators earlier this year, it asked potential applicants to “use cuck in a sentence,” if “white supremacy different than white nationalism?” and “Was 9/11 an inside job?”