For all the talk about how social media has transformed politics, there’s one way it hasn’t changed politics at all. Because if you’re in a political system where your presence depends on whether or not people will vote for you because they like what you say or they like the way you look, you have to get people to listen to what you say or how you look, at least from time to time.
If you don’t get either one, which is what’s happening to Donald Trump in spades right now, you’re a dead duck. Quack, quack, quackety quack.
Don’t get me wrong. Trump isn’t going away. He’ll be around in some form or another until his last, dying day. And I wish him no ill will so for all I know, he’s got years ahead of him in that respect.
But the difference between Trump now and Trump up until now is that when he showed up, he used to draw a crowd. And when he sent out a message on social media, it was read, and it was discussed. Sorry Donald, but that’s just not happening these days.
His last two rallies were held in friendly locations where previous events drew huge crowds with estimates in the fifteen-thousand range. If either of the recent rallies had more than 1,500 people in attendance, well, the media reports were being kind.
As to Trump’s social media presence, there is no presence. Either you’re on Twitter and Facebook or you’re not. And if you’re not, you don’t make up for your absence by creating a new social media network which still doesn’t work.
You see, the word ‘network’ is built around the concept that anyone can turn on their radio, or their TV, or their computer, or their droid and see your face or hear your voice. Try tuning into Truth Social and see what you get. You get a message which says to try it again some other time.
I love how the Trump noise machine is trying to convince Elon Musk that his attempt to buy out Twitter only works if he lets Trump back on the network so that Twitter will regain all those lost Trump fans. Except there’s only one little problem – Twitter hasn’t lost any users since it banned Trump two days after the riot on the Capitol steps.
The week of the 2020 election, Trump hit his all-time high figure for Twitter, with just under 90 million accounts. He began losing steadily after he lost the election, dropping roughly 50,000 every day until he ticked back up the day before he was banned.
And don’t make the mistake of thinking that the moment you’re an ex-President that your presence on social media begins to disappear. Right now, Barack Obama has 130 million Twitterfollowers, one-third more than Trump has ever had.
Notice how much time Barack spends worrying about his following on social media. That’s what happens when you win two Presidential elections with a plurality both of the electoral and the popular vote. In his two elections, Barack won a total of 687 electoral votes. In his two electoral attempts, Trump pulled in 536 electoral votes.
The fake news media keeps slavishly talking about the strength of the Trump ‘base.’ He got a whole, big 536 electoral votes in two Presidential elections. That’s a base? That’s what Grandpa would call ‘gurnisht helfen’ (read: nothing at all.)
I love how carefully scripted Trump and his bunch are trying to get his Twitter account re-instated if Elon Musk goes through with his bid to buy the social media platform. Trump of course plays hard to get, saying he wouldn’t go back onto Twitter even if he was asked.
Meanwhile, his daughter-in-law, who is referred to as a Fox ‘contributor,’ goes on the network, kisses Musk’s ass and says that ‘millions’ of Americans would return to Twitter if her father-in-law could get back on.
My prediction is that over the next few months, Trump will become (if possible) more vulgar, more stupid, and more extreme. Because now that the GOP competition for 2024 is DeSantis and Cruz, the only way he can shore up his social media audience is to go even further off the deep end.
Meanwhile, our man Joe just plods along. Good for him.