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What’s in the air? Trump’s Twitter and how it responds to the election

The President’s Twitter has been a fixated anomaly since the beginning of his campaign for the 2016 election. Twitter, a platform which is primarily used for humor, small updates and access to personal interests and community, was revolutionized through his presence on the site, and has made it a key gear in marketing political prowess and drama. But how has this administration used social media as a platform to propel the agenda of the swiftly radicalizing GOP? From the weeks between September 9th and October 10th, I followed the President’s Twitter feed to examine who and what he discussed, noting people and topics by number and week; these topics spanned from large scandals the administration was involving itself in, to election endorsements. The main questions I set out to answer were: who does the President hate and love this week, and how does this change the game the final days before November 3rd? 

I began this project by first tracking only who Trump had discussed negatively on Twitter, but the scope of my inquiry expanded to include endorsements and positive promotion as the prevalence of the latter became clear. 

Policy and litigation discussion on Twitter from politicians is a development that the current President has contributed to widely. And while some tweets the President expels are either removed or come with a disclaimer regarding their factuality (in the three weeks of my research, Twitter placed an average of about four warnings a week, most of the “alternative facts” pertaining to the validity and safety of mail-in ballots and voting) the extent to which Twitter acts as a public source of information and a vessel for politicians to reinforce talking points and propaganda should not be ignored. His position on this platform is integral to properly understanding the implications of this research, and how Trump’s influence has directly fueled the culmination of a political identity through a candidate rather than a party.

Coming into this research, one might expect that as the election neared, punitive Tweets regarding his opponent, Joseph R. Biden, would increase in number and caliber. Trump has spurted negative tweets about the former Vice President since he served in the Obama administration, yet after his solidification as the Presidential candidate for the Democratic party back in May, negative tweets about Biden have become more commonplace on the President’s feed. But these weeks were intriguing, though. As the trends and patterns of Trump’s Tweets diverged from my predictions; instead, the President decided to expand his range of individual targets within the Democratic sphere , or any other organization who’s agenda did not match his own, such as credible media organizations, the FBI, the WHO, and, repeatedly, protesters connected to the Black Lives Matter movement.

The most notable observation of the President’s name game is the way in which it has recently evolved, shifting focus from Biden to other notable names in the Democratic party.  In the week between September 9th and September 16th, Trump tweeted directly about Biden twenty-nine times, while only mentioning other big-name Democrats such as Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, and Hillary Clinton nine times. etween October 1st and October 7th, however, the President’s focus shifts, targeting Democrats over fifty times through Twitter.In that week, he shifted the focus of his feed to specific issues that a vote for him supports, tweeting, from Walter Read Hospital, about “Law and Order,” “the Economy,” “pro-life” policy, and “healthcare.”This type of stream of conservative buzz-words and rhetoric is what some attribute his unprecedented influence in the radicalization of the right wing to. Trump uses his platform on Twitter to inflame his base, creating a narrative of the Enemy Left that they must defeat to restore the old Great America. However, this operation is generally disregarded within liberal media discussion, as it’s difficult within the squandering, squabbling, and constantly developing liberal and/or leftist discussion to properly and assuredly address and understand the gravity and propensetties of conservative media. 

Trump’s name game doesn’t only serve to identify his enemies, but his allies, too, as he endorses candidates, especially in swing states, and right policies he’s aggressively trying to pass and uphold. Within the past two weeks (from September 24th to October 7th) the President tweeted forty times about the SCOTUS nomination and used Fox News as a primary source forty-six times, demonstrating the constant flood of media that endorses his positions. The Trump Administration is not only laying proper targets, but also giving it’s base proper material to munch on before November 3rd. While liberals are being swooned by Senator and Vice Presidential candidate Kamala Harris’ moderate debate skills, people on the right are being informed, at least in their perspective, and radicalized by the president’s constant flood of opinion and information. 

This process threw me for a loop, for I feel it is popular, and only right, to question how the President has made such a profound impact on such a wide population. Perhaps the answer lies not between the lines, but directly within them. 

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