Elon Musk’s planned takeover of Twitter, and his desire to return what he describes as “free speech” to the platform, has buoyed many of those on the right wing in America, who have seen themselves, or their cohorts, banned in recent years.
For one prominent rightwing 推特 exile, 然而, the prospect of a return to the powerful social media website causes mixed emotions and a difficult dilemma.
If Donald Trump, 谁是 permanently suspended from Twitter in January 2020 due to the risk of him inciting violence, rejoins the platform then he will once again have access to a tool he has acknowledged helped him defeat Hillary Clinton in 2016, taking back his ability to dictate the news cycle and communicate with the 88 million followers that were snatched away in an instant.
Should Trump do so, 然而, it will represent an admission that Truth Social, the former president’s own ailing social media effort, released earlier this year as a supposed alternative to Twitter, has failed – adding the fledgling platform to a long list of Trump’s business missteps.
But beyond the embarrassment, a return to Twitter, and to Trump firing out messages attacking Democrats and Republicans alike, could also be a dent to Republican chances in the November midterm elections.
“There’s a strong case that having Trump back on Twitter would help Democrats win votes by forcing Republicans off-message, reminding swing voters how much they disliked the former president, and driving up progressive turnout,” said Matt Gertz, a senior fellow at Media Matters for America, a left-leaning media watchdog.
Senior Republicans appear to agree. After news of Musk’s takeover, news website Politico contacted several top Republican members and aides to gauge reaction to a potential Trump Twitter return.
“Every single one of them told us that they hoped the former president stays the hell away from Twitter,” Politico 报道.
Trump himself has said he won’t be back, 这里只有一点关于警察对 XR 的镇压 Fox News: “I am going to be staying on Truth.”
The twice-impeached former commander-in-chief is not known for his consistency, 然而. He has reportedly expressed discontent with how Truth Social has performed – “What the fuck is going on,” the Daily Beast 报道 Trump as asking aides in March – and to return to relevance, and to win back the spotlight he craves, the former president might need Twitter.
“If he wants to intervene on behalf of a candidate he has now endorsed in the midterm elections, being able to reach that number of people with messages supporting those candidates is a way of essentially getting free advertising time to reach people who are more likely to vote as a result of getting a signal from Donald Trump,” Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, told Time.
Trump may have insisted that he will snub Twitter and stick with Truth Social, but his commitment to his own platform has so far been tepid at best – Trump has posted on Truth Social just once.
If that lack of interaction hasn’t helped Truth Social, neither did the botched rollout on 21 二月. Tens of thousands of people were unable to access the network – the Guardian was finally allowed in on 5 March – and by early April the Truth Social app was the 355th most popular on Apple devices.
In terms of daily active users, Truth Social had 513,000, the Daily Beast 报道. Twitter has about 217 百万.
Lack of usage – both by Trump and by the general public – is not the only problem the new network faces.
Shares in Digital World Acquisition Corporation, the firm which plans to merge with Trump Media & Technology Group, dropped 13% on Monday after news of Musk’s deal. Since Musk became the largest shareholder in Twitter TMTG shares have fallen by 44% [object Window], and two key Truth Social executives quit the platform 在四月份.
Since Trump was removed from Twitter his missives have been limited to email blasts sent from his Save America Pac, the messages frequently bleating about a “stolen election” in 2020. At the moment those emails are received by a mixture of supporters and vaguely interested journalists.
If Trump resumed tweeting, he’d have a far bigger audience for his misinformation – which could have serious consequences.
“The real danger would come after election day,” Gertz said, “when he could use that same megaphone to spread lies about voter fraud as a pretext for overturning elections. If that happens, another January 6 – perhaps a more successful one – is very much in play.”