Trump’s existential threat: How to keep GOP in line without Twitter

“There’s no question that Twitter was the president’s megaphone for its supporters and the media. Without Twitter, he might not have been elected in 2016,” said Trump pollster Tony Fabrizio, who worked on the president’s 2016 and 2020 campaigns I am sure that he will find other means of communicating with his key loyalists, the loss of the ability to communicate with 88 million people simultaneously will definitely reduce his reach after January. 20. ”

Trump’s advisors prepared a post-presidency political apparatus with Republicans he declared disloyal, such as Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, South Dakota Senator John Thune, and Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski attacked could become. Trump will have a huge financial arsenal that has raised hundreds of millions of dollars since the election – much of it for a new political action committee he formed.

But Trump’s strongest political weapon has probably always been his Twitter account, which he has long used to garner followers against those he believes have wronged him. He has followed Kemp and Thune on Twitter repeatedly over the past few months, accusing them of undermining his bid to overthrow the elections.

The mechanics of the social media platform fitted well with Trump’s overall goal of submitting Republicans to his will so he could publish one attack at a time in bursts. The postings received widespread media coverage and further strengthened their power.

Trump used his Twitter feed during the 2018 midterm election to turn his supporters against once popular Republicans such as former South Carolina MP Mark Sanford, former Arizona Senator Jeff Flake, and former Tennessee Senator Bob Corker who either lost re-election or were retired. During the 2020 election cycle, he persecuted former Michigan MP Justin Amash, who left the Republican Party and ultimately did not seek re-election.

“Trump has just lost his favorite game and is out,” said Scott Reed, former senior political advisor to the US Chamber of Commerce.

As they laid the groundwork for the 2020 re-election campaign, Trump advisors realized that a Twitter ban could prove devastating. Last year there was ongoing talks with the president about making Facebook its primary social media outlet instead, with advisors viewing it as a more conservative platform. Talks about Parler continued into the summer. But Trump has always fallen back on Twitter.

Current and former Trump advisors were amazed at Twitter’s announcement of the ban. Some admitted that this could seriously affect his communication skills as he nears the White House life. A former top advisor to the president noted, “Without Twitter, he’s just a guy who talks to himself.”

It is unclear which platform Trump will turn to next. After the deadly storm on the Capitol on Wednesday Facebook and Instagram announced that Trump would be banned “indefinitely,” at least through the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden on January 20. YouTube hasn’t banned Trump yet, however Announced earlier this week that it would expose any channel reflecting unsubstantiated claims of election fraud, something Trump has given a voice to.

It has long been talked about that Trump could open his own news agency after leaving the White House, but people in his orbit have long been skeptical of the idea, arguing that launching a new platform would be a big deal.

Shortly after his account was banned, Trump turned to his official government Twitter feed to explain that he and his supporters would “examine the possibilities of building their own platform in the near future”.

“We are not being silenced,” wrote Trump. “Stay tuned.”

The post appears to have been deleted from Twitter shortly after it was published. Twitter has also suspended the Trump campaign account.

Many believe that Trump will find another means of getting his message across.

“I always knew that social media platforms like to ban the president. They were just waiting for the right moment. However, this will not affect the President’s communication skills. He will just post in a different location, ”said Parscale, who served as digital director for Trump’s 2016 campaign before becoming his 2020 campaign manager.

Others argue that Trump will have numerous other ways to reach the news media that are sure to be obsessive about life after the White House.

“It closes a major platform, yes, but it has other platforms,” ​​said Kevin Madden, a top spokesperson for Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign. “He can go on the air on talk radio or check cable news whenever he wants. Any message or content that he tries to promote still has a legion of supporters ready to spread the word. “

There is also a prospect that Trump’s absence from Twitter could leave a vacuum for one of his children. Donald Trump Jr., who has used social media to build his own following, is widely expected to remain visible in the coming months and take on a role as kingmaker in the Republican Party.

The younger Trump, who has often accused tech companies of being biased against conservatives, took to Twitter to criticize the move following the announcement on Friday night.

“Censorship happens like NEVER before!” he posted.

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