Wylie said that Bannon's plans began to solidify in 2014, when Cambridge Analytica consulted various Republican campaigns and PACs ahead of the midterm elections. The company began to test and apply its psychographics by using Facebook data to model individuals' personality types in order to understand how to influence them.
Documents show the John Bolton Super PAC, which promoted candidates supported by recently appointed White House national security adviser John Bolton, paid Cambridge Analytical $454,700 in 2014 for "behavioral microtargeting with psychographic messaging." Those services included strategies that broke individual voters into "clusters" based on what messages would resonate with them.
Wylie also said the company used focus groups and messaging trials in 2014 to test some of the concepts that became core themes of the Trump campaign, such as "drain the swamp" and imagery of walls. "A lot of the narratives of the Trump campaign were what we were testing in 2014," Wylie said.
He added that Bannon directly presided over much of the company's initial research. "Everything that we were doing ultimately had to be passed up to Bannon for approval," said Wylie, who left the company in late 2014.
Wylie said Bannon would fly to London about once a month for company meetings, and during that time he came to understand Bannon's ideology. "He really liked the idea of using a military-style approach to changing people's perceptions," Wylie said.
Curt Devine, Donie O'Sullivan & Drew Griffin
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