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    • If Trump had stopped personally using Twitter (all social media) after he was elected, but still took all the actions he did over the last four years... do you think he would have won or lost the 2020 election?

    • I think the premise is flawed. If he had stopped using Twitter (or other social media) actively, he wouldn't have amplified many of the ideas surrounding his term as much as he did, so they wouldn't have played that large of a role for his supporters - which in turn means that there wouldn't have been that much perceived "need" to follow through with any of them. If he had also stopped using Twitter passively, he wouldn't have gotten at least some of the ideas he did.

      In either case, he wouldn't have taken all the actions he did in the first place - so who's to say what would have happened?

    • Which actions did he take that was predicated on his participation in social media? Do you think his failure as a President was primarily due to his participation in social media?

    • Quite frankly I don't want to get into a detailed conversation over that guy's actions throughout the last 4+ years, and what the most absurd thing he did because of Twitter might have been. If you're looking for that, I'm out.

      Generally speaking, though, that's what the term "echo chamber" is all about. It was a constant back-and-forth between him, his supporters, even his opponents - and of course him being on Twitter influenced public discourse, just like public discourse influenced his actions.

      If we're outright ignoring that, then what's the point of even asking what might have happened?

    • I don't disagree with what you wrote. But the role of social media in the last 4 years is worth examining. And, of course, it's only a part of the "echo chamber".

      Was the role of social media a net negative due to what you just wrote, or was it a net positive by exposing the true nature of Trump to everyone. Trump had terrible policies and did terrible damage to US institutions and reputation in the world. That would have happened regardless of his social media presence. But just as George W. Bush won a second term despite his actions in office, it's not clear that Trump would have lost re-election had he not shown the country who he really was via his tweets. It took Republicans voting against Trump to defeat him.

      And I think that is worth examining and searching for the balance.

    • A really good point you made elsewhere is that the main stream media gave Trump tons of free advertising. They basically gave him equal say despite it not being worthy of the time in many if not most cases. Even the mainstream media that didn’t support Trump has some blame. If I recall you correctly. That being said I think each social media platform that allowed Trrump to promote nonsense, is guilty of further helping to spread the lies. The biggest issue here is how to get people to be more critical thinkers and know how to evaluate what they’re listening or reading. How do we get people to be aware of how we tend to give stuff that confirms our beliefs or suspicions a free pass on credibility but automatically distrust it if it goes against what we want to be true? That’s the million dollar question.

    • I did say that, and I agree with everything you just wrote.

      In the case of Trump, I'm not even clear his supporters understand he's a liar. But to those who do, the lies and his tweeting no doubt turned away many Republicans from voting for him in 2020.

    • But the role of social media in the last 4 years is worth examining.

      Definitely, although we should probably look not just at the last 4 years, but at least the whole last decade. I haven't followed the situation that closely back then, but apparently he has used Twitter for publicity and outreach for more than a decade ("birth certificate", "lock her up", "if I was president", ...). Without Twitter, he might not even have been elected once - whether that would have been due to lack of publicity, or lack of interest without others pushing him.

      Even the question "Would he have been re-elected without Twitter?" is an interesting one - I just don't think that we can remove just Twitter from the equation without also assuming that he would have acted differently at least in some cases. Perhaps he would have lost interest to "Build the Wall!" much earlier - or he wouldn't have been influenced that much by the alt-right - or at least he simply would have had different people in his administration without the easy way of firing someone by tweet. ;)

    • We can't know if he would have taken different actions. He would still, of course, have had many channels to communicate other than Twitter. Rallies, News Conferences, et cetra... all the "bully pulpit" means traditionally available. Maybe he would just have held more rallies, and we all know how they went.

      I'm wondering what effect it would have had on "mainstream" Republicans to not be bombarded via social media and the amplification of it by "mainstream" media. What opinions of Trump would they have formed. Would they have been as repulsed by Trump, and voted against him in 2020, and so many? We saw Republicans do well, while Trump lost. And that appears to have made the difference in the election.

      Zuckerberg got me thinking based on that Congressional exchange he had that Chris posted. Is it important to show to people that their leader is a compulsive liar and sociopathic narcissist? If so, how?

    • It’s very hard to overcome tribalism. That’s maybe the biggest lesson we have to learn. We don’t have to like our home team but our goal is to beat the other team. The Republican voters enjoyed crushing the libtards and let Trump get a pass.

    • The fact is that the far left doesn't believe they are part of the Democratic party. AOC said it herself...

      In any other country, Joe Biden and I would not be in the same party

      The far left spoiled the election in 2016, as they did in 2000.

    • One thing I will say is without social media, Trump wouldn’t have gotten elected. He got elected largely because he put out tons of BS that others (including Russian trolls) were willing to share, retweet, etc.

    • interesting take. I would say though that it was big $ from the Koch brothers that turned the Republican Party to the right. The party is in fact more right that the voters who vote Republican. I guess you see this happening to the left but where’s the money to back them and push their agenda??

    • Perhaps the lack of resources is why they haven't been able to win anywhere other than deep blue districts and have yet to flip a district from red to blue.

      Or perhaps Democrats are just smarter than Republicans in recognizing the threat (the Democrats have the advantage of seeing what happened to the Republican party). Unlike Republican leadership, you don't see Democratic leadership giving the same sort of full throated endorsement of the far left.

      Or its perhaps most likely that socialism just isn't popular in the US, even after years with Sanders and AOC out front the DSA has only increased its membership to 85,000 people nationally. And AOC, by making socialism a credible threat, has damaged the Democratic brand and cost seats.

      You're already seeing the socialists and anarchists lose patience with Sanders' 100 year strategy, and they're now trying to start a "People's Party" just like some of the far right extremists are writing off the Republican party and trying to start a "Patriot's Party".

      The parallels are striking, and just as I've said... with one crying "For the People" while the other cries "For the Nation".