Wed. May 18th, 2022

It was like old times. On Wednesday alone, Donald Trump issued statements about a potential war with China, what Congress should do about the debt ceiling, false allegations of a stolen election and his Fox News ally “the great Sean Hannity”.

But how many people noticed it?

The former US president is broadcast on social media, and these days sends out statements via e-mail that clog the inboxes of journalists whose attention has been turned elsewhere. The time when a single tweet from Trump could electrify cable news, rattle financial markets and unverve foreign capitals is long gone.

His post-presidential online engagement is in free fall, the Axios website reported this week, citing data from SocialFlow, an optimization platform that measures clicks from posts referenced from its network of publishers.

Click on content about Trump fell 37% in August and September compared to June and July, according to the results. This represented a decrease of 50% since March. The drop has been relentless since the blockbuster event of Trump’s trial against prosecutors in February.

In short, “the former guy,” as Joe Biden calls him, who once brutally colonized feeds on social media, is fading fast, a victim of the fast-paced news cycle he once ruled.

Monika McDermott, Professor of Political Science at Fordham University in New York, said: “His online presence has certainly declined due to a number of factors. First of all, he was better on Twitter because he was powerful. He was in the moment: people were following him and getting constant updates. Any other platform is very difficult for him to navigate with his style and personality. ”

“Beyond that, he has lost his position as president of the United States, and he does not yet have a concrete election that he is actually running for. Attention has been raised away from the current administration and what is going on in the country and the Delta variant and all sorts of other things. He has to some extent become irrelevant to the general population, though he is still very relevant to his still very loyal followers. ”

Trump had more than 88 million followers on Twitter, using it as his social media megaphone, stoking divisions, insulting opponents, and committing crime against spelling.

Twitter suspended Donald Trump's account two days after the January 6 uprising in the Capitol.
Twitter suspended Donald Trump’s account two days after the January 6 uprising in the Capitol. Photo: Joshua Roberts / Reuters

But Twitter joined several other social media platforms to ban him after a bunch of his followers attacked the US Capitol on January 6th. Twitter said his tweets had violated its policy with the exception of “glorifying violence” and “very likely” would encourage people to repeat what happened in the deadly uprising.

From that moment on, Trump’s ability to dominate the online agenda went down sharply. Subsequently, he launched his own “platform”, a glorified blog that bit the dust after a month. He goes on to email statements through his Save America political action committee, but they are often long and rarely troublesome cable news cyron writers.

Michael D’Antonio, a political commentator and author of The Truth About Trump, remarked: “It’s almost like the difference between a text message and a phone call. People generally will not talk anymore on the phone, but they will respond to a text if you are economical in what you write and instruct. ”

Such failed ventures only show how Trump and Twitter were perfect for each other, a loss that he increasingly seems to understand. Earlier this month, he filed a lawsuit in which he asked a federal judge in Florida to force Twitter to restore his account – which could put him back in the spotlight.

D’Antonio added: “For five or six years, there were hundreds, if not thousands, of people in journalism who were on his Twitter output and were ready to respond with articles or calls to other sources because he was so good. to use the form. He just seemed to excel at writing what were essentially tabloid headlines every day that I associate with his lifelong obsession with the tabloids that arose due to [Rupert] Murdoch and [New York] Post.

“He met his perfect medium on social media, especially Twitter. It connected him with an audience that was not interested in reading more than a few sentences about anything, and in fact, they were ready for disinformation delivered via social media because people were just eager for the snappy retort. ”

The shift means that a striking disruption has occurred over the past nine months. Trump, who is housed in his Florida or New Jersey properties, has been largely irrelevant to material political debates about the Afghanistan withdrawal and Biden’s infrastructure bill and social spending plans. Mitch McConnell, the Republican minority leader in the Senate, seems to be paying a little attention to him.

In addition, the former president is struggling to break through and make news, and when he does, it is usually due to a damaging revelation from a book or official investigation into his attempt to overthrow the 2020 election. Axios quoted data from NewsWhip, which showed that there were 26% fewer stories about him during August and September than in March and April. And the stories were, on average, 28% less engaging on social media.

Donald Trump can still reach his base through rallies like this one in Perry, Georgia, last month, where he spoke to a crowd of thousands.
Donald Trump can still reach his base through rallies like this one in Perry, Georgia, last month, where he spoke to a crowd of thousands. Photo: Robin Rayne / Zuma Press Wire / Rex / Shutterstock

Yet Trump is still widely recognized as the unofficial leader of the Republican Party, and his “big lie” about a stolen election has almost become party orthodoxy. He continues to get a platform from conservative television companies like Fox News, Newsmax and One America News Network. Should he decide to run for president again in 2024, he would instantly be the Republican frontrunner.

John Zogby, a pollster and author, said: “I’m in New York. I see hundreds of signs of local and judicial races, but also ‘Honk if you’re with Trump’. The famous ‘Fuck Biden’ shrines are mostly rural, but they are genuine.

“Trump is running for president. He has his network and it includes voice radio and cable. He wants to breathe more life into Newsmax and the One America News Network. He finds his way because his base wants him. ”

From the start, Trump’s digital power was amplified by an analog soapbox: campaign meetings that give diehard fans the opportunity to be in his presence in a community of complaints. On Saturday night, he is likely to draw a large audience to a rally in Iowa, the first state to influence the party’s primary competitions.

Tara Setmayer, a former Republican communications director at Capitol Hill, said: “We are no longer married to our Twitter feeds and cell phones, and we can actually enjoy Sunday brunch now because Donald Trump is not tweeting anything insane. However, the undercurrent of his presence is still a threat to our policies.

“Despite not being so ubiquitous on social media platforms, he’s still out there, and he still has a right-wing media ecosystem that continues to promote his diversity, and that’s problematic.

Trump would be eligible to return to Facebook in 2023, once his two-year suspension has run its course, just in time for a bid in the White House. At the time, Twitter could also face overwhelming pressure to reintroduce him or face the accusation of toppling a candidate in a presidential election.

Setmayer, senior adviser to the Lincoln project who worked for Trump’s defeat last year, noted that Twitter could have an additional incentive to bring him back. “I do not know how much they will be able to justify keeping Trump from if he decides to run again from a business perspective, given how many users left as a result of banning Trump . Commitment was down, their stock fell.

“Twitter is still trying to figure out how to make their platform profitable, so if you remove one of your most productive, engaging accounts, it hurts their bottom line. It may be another reality facing Twitter at the time when they unfortunately have to make their decision. ”

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