This website lets you call U.S. senators and leave angry Russian

If you can't beat foreign influence in politics, join it

Published On
Feb 22, 2019

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Campaigning for the 2020 U.S. presidential election is already ramping up, with dozens of Democrats expected to try their luck. But according to intelligence services, the last time someone ran against Donald Trump, Russia stepped in to influence the election. Who’s to say it won’t happen again?

And the trail of Russian money didn’t go cold after 2016. Voters can’t be blamed if they feel like the Kremlin may have more say in politics than the average American. So why not make Russia work for the voters?

That the idea behind “The Red Line,” a site built by MSCHF Internet Studios that is both practical and a practical joke. Feel like your senator is beholden to Russian handlers? Then act like a Russian handler. Disgruntled voters can look up their GOP senators and write a message (or maybe a directive?) in English. The site uses Amazon Web Services’ translation library to turn it into Russian, and Amazon Polly creates an .mp3 audio file of the text being read in Russian.

From there, the site uses Twilio to auto-dial the chosen senator’s office in Washington, D.C., and plays the recording for the answering service or whichever staffer picks up the call. No phone or microphone is required.

MSCHF is also behind several other politically-themed projects, including an app that plays the national anthem when the user kneels.

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