IIt was like the good old days. On Wednesday alone, Donald Trump spoke out on a potential war with China, what Congress should do about the debt ceiling, the false allegations of stolen elections and his Fox News ally “the great Sean Hannity “.
But how many people have noticed?
Immersed in the social media wilderness, the former US president is posting statements via email these days, clogging the inboxes of reporters whose attention has turned elsewhere. The days when a single tweet from Trump could electrify cable news, shake up financial markets and piss off foreign capital are long gone.
His post-presidential online engagement is plummeting, Axios reported this week, citing data from SocialFlow, an optimization platform that measures clicks on posts referenced by its publisher network.
Clicks to content on Trump fell 37% in August and September compared to June and July, according to the results. This represents a 50% drop since March. The decline has been inexorable since the hit event of Trump’s impeachment trial in February.
In short, “the old guy,” as Joe Biden, who once brutally colonized social media feeds, is quickly fading away, a victim of the rapid news cycle he once ruled.
Monika McDermott, professor of political science at Fordham University in New York, said: “Her online presence has definitely waned due to various factors. First of all, he was better on Twitter because he was impactful. He was right about the moment: people were following him and getting constant updates. It is very difficult for him to navigate on any other platform with his style and personality.
“On top of that, he lost his post as President of the United States and he does not yet have a concrete election for which he is running. Attention has been diverted by the current administration and what’s going on in the country and the Delta variant and all kinds of other things. It has become to some extent irrelevant to the general population, although it is still very relevant to its still very loyal supporters.
Trump had over 88 million Twitter followers and used it as his social media megaphone, fueling division, insulting opponents and committing spelling crimes.
But Twitter has joined several other social media platforms in banning it after a mob of its supporters attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan.6. Twitter said its tweets violated its policy of banning the “glorification of violence” and were “very likely” to encourage people to replicate what happened during the deadly insurgency.
From that point on, Trump’s ability to dominate the online agenda declined precipitously. He then launched his own “platform,” a glorified blog that bit the dust after a month. He continues to email statements through his Save America Political Action Committee, but they are often lengthy and rarely bother Chyron editors.
Michael D’Antonio, political commentator and author of The Truth About Trump, observed: “It’s almost like the difference between a text message and a phone call. People usually don’t want to talk on the phone anymore, but they’ll respond to a text if you’re frugal with what you write and direct.
Such failed ventures only serve to demonstrate just how perfect Trump and Twitter were for each other, a loss he seems to increasingly understand. Earlier this month, he filed a lawsuit asking a Florida federal judge to force Twitter to reestablish his account – potentially putting it back in the center of attention.
D’Antonio added: “For five or six years there were hundreds, if not thousands, of reporters tuned in to his posts on Twitter and ready to respond with articles or calls to other sources because that he was so good at using the form. He just seemed to excel at writing what were essentially tabloid headlines every day which I link to his longtime obsession with tabloids that arose because of [Rupert] Murdoch and the [New York] To post.
“He met his ideal medium on social networks, especially Twitter. This put him in touch with an audience that weren’t interested in reading more than a few sentences about something and in fact, they were ready for the misinformation being passed on through social media because people were just eager for the reply. catchy.
This change means that a striking disconnect has emerged in the past nine months. Trump, based in his properties in Florida or New Jersey, has hardly been relevant to the substantive political debates over the withdrawal from Afghanistan and Biden’s infrastructure bill and social spending plans. Mitch McConnell, the Republican minority leader in the Senate, seems to pay little heed to him.
Additionally, the former president struggles to break through and make the news, and when he does, it’s usually because of a damaging revelation from a book or an official investigation into his attempt. to overturn the 2020 election. Axios cited data from NewsWhip showing that there were 26% fewer stories about it in August and September than in March and April. And the stories were on average 28% less engaged on social media.
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. It continues to be offered a platform by conservative broadcasters such as Fox News, Newsmax, and the One America News Network. If he decided to run for president again in 2024, he would instantly be the Republican frontrunner.
John Zogby, a pollster and author, said, “I’m in upstate New York. I see hundreds of signs for local and court races as well as “Horn if you’re with Trump.” The famous ‘Fuck Biden’ shrines are mostly rural but they are real.
“Trump is running for president. He has his network and that includes talk radio and cable. It will breathe new life into Newsmax and the One America News Network. He will find his way because his base wants it.
From the start, Trump’s digital power has been augmented by an analog platform: campaign rallies that offer die-hard fans the chance to be in his presence in a communion of grievances. On Saturday night, he’s likely to draw huge crowds for a rally in Iowa, the first state to have a say in the party’s primary contests.
Tara Setmayer, a former Republican communications director on Capitol Hill said, “We’re not married to our Twitter feeds and cellphones anymore and we can actually enjoy Sunday brunch now because Donald Trump isn’t tweeting something crazy. However, the undercurrent of its presence is still a threat to our politics.
“Despite the fact that he’s not that ubiquitous on social media platforms, he’s still out there and he still has a right-wing media ecosystem that continues to promote his ilk and that’s problematic.”
Trump would be eligible to return to Facebook in 2023, when his two-year suspension ends, just in time for a White House candidacy. At this point, Twitter could also face overwhelming pressure to reinstate him or be accused of tipping the scales against a presidential candidate.
Setmayer, a senior advisor to the Lincoln Project, who worked for Trump’s defeat last year, noted that Twitter may have an added incentive to bring him back. “I’m not sure how well they’ll be able to justify keeping Trump if he decides to run again from a business perspective, given the number of users who have left as a result of the ban from Trump. Commitment was down, their stock was down.
“Twitter is always trying to find a way to make its platform profitable, so if you delete one of your most prolific and engaging accounts, it hurts their bottom line. Maybe that’s a different reality to which faces Twitter when they have to make their decision, unfortunately. “