The less voters hear from Donald Trump on social media, the more they like him
Being kicked off social media has sanitised Donald Trump’s image in a way that allowing him to keep posting incendiary and inflammatory comments never would have
For all its troubles, the world has at least been a quieter place since Donald Trump was effectively silenced on social media through bans imposed by Facebook and Twitter a year ago.
Over 12 years and in 57,000 tweets, Trump kept lobbing his digital grenades, which he saw as an essential tactic in his advance to political power.
Even after he entered the White House and became the most powerful figure in the world he kept tweeting at a rate of 36 posts a day.
“Why would Kim Jong-un insult me by calling me ‘old,’ when I would NEVER call him ‘short and fat?’”, the then-US president asked his followers, reinventing Oval Office diplomatic convention in 2017.
Trump v Biden
Trump was similarly bellicose in using social to target domestic rivals. “Crazy Joe Biden is trying to act like a tough guy,” he tweeted in 2018.
“Actually, he is weak, both mentally and physically, and yet he threatens me, for the second time, with physical assault. He doesn’t know me, but he would go down fast and hard, crying all the way.”
Social media was Trump’s direct line to his base. It enabled him to rail against mainstream media, which grew addicted to reporting his digital diarrhoea, keeping him permanently in the public gaze.
It is tempting to see Twitter as Trump’s oxygen supply and to believe that now the valve has been switched off his political career is over. Yet it’s far from clear that the gagging of the 45th President has been to his detriment.
When I spoke recently to Robert Moore, the ITV News senior correspondent based in Washington, he expressed the view that tech platforms were “helping” Trump by saving him from his own digital gaffes while supporting his narrative of being hard done by.
“It’s not clear to me that Big Tech, by chucking him off their platforms, have done much damage to him,” Moore said. “In fact, maybe in some ways they have sanitised him – we can no longer read his incendiary and inflammatory tweets and that may have done him a favour. To some, he is now looking more like a martyr down in Mar-a-Lago than a wild-eyed political fugitive.”