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[en] We present a comprehensive investigation of cosmological constraints on the class of vector field formulations of modified gravity called generalized Einstein-aether models. Using linear perturbation theory we generate cosmic microwave background and large-scale structure spectra for general parameters of the theory, and then constrain them in various ways. We investigate two parameter regimes: a dark matter candidate where the vector field sources structure formation, and a dark energy candidate where it causes late-time acceleration. We find that the dark matter candidate does not fit the data, and identify five physical problems that can restrict this and other theories of dark matter. The dark energy candidate does fit the data, and we constrain its fundamental parameters; most notably we find that the theory's kinetic index parameter nae can differ significantly from its ΛCDM value.