Friday, November 18, 2016

Trump and Maduro on Twitter

Lying on Twitter about how your political opponents are lying, while also lying about your accomplishments, is now a staple for Donald Trump. He's late to this game, though, as it's already a common practice for Latin American presidents, especially Nicolás Maduro. Given how both hate the opposition press and want a direct line to the people, we can expect both to keep it up as long as they're in office (and, like with Alvaro Uribe, we can also expect them to continue once they're out of office).

There are some differences. Maduro (or at least Maduro's account, because like Trump sometimes it's him and sometimes not) retweets like mad, which Trump has slowed. We'll have to see whether he retweets more admirers--retweeting flattery or false claims--in the future. And as yet, Trump has not started a salsa radio show. But Trump TV may well be around the corner.

Both have a conspiratorial bent. Maduro sees economic war, assassination attempts, and the Empire everywhere he looks. Trump sees the media calling him out for the often false things he says, which drives him crazy. For both, facts are negotiable, which makes Twitter a perfect medium. Press conferences just wouldn't work because they involve follow-up questions and give questioners the ability to frame the topic.

We'll also have to see whether Trump follows the Maduro model of saying increasingly unhinged things while your approval ratings plummet, holding on to the hope that all these admiring followers are actual indications of popular support.


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