Sad! Donald Trump is desperate to regain internet relevance. It's just not working

Sad! Donald Trump is desperate to regain internet relevance. It's just not working
Image via the White House.

The Mar-a-Lago Blogger is having a hard time adjusting to his new role in the nation's consciousness. According to an analysis of web traffic by The Washington Post, the worst American president in modern history just doesn't matter as much as he used to. Banned from Twitter (permanently) and Facebook (probably permanently), the Q Anon messiah just can't seem to find a way to dominate the national discourse.

Sure, he launched a shitty little website, where he sells event appearances and publishes carelessly written missives "From the Desk of Donald Trump." Admittedly, certain members of the media race to amplify those missives, often tweeting screenshots ... but that keeps the conversation on Twitter.

Which means there's little reason to visit the Donald's shitty little website.

How irrelevant is the twice-impeached, would-be dictator's online presence? Let's check The Post's analysis.

Online talk about him has plunged to a five-year low. He's banned or ignored on pretty much every major social media venue. In the last week, Trump's website — including his new blog, fundraising page and online storefront ­— attracted fewer estimated visitors than the pet-adoption service Petfinder and the recipe site Delish.
Social engagement around Trump — a measure of likes, reactions, comments or shares on content about him across Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and Pinterest — has nosedived 95 percent since January, to its lowest level since 2016.

It's almost like trying to destroy democracy has consequences. Sure, Trump still has a vise-like grip on the Republican Party that still considers him their king. Ever since he lost the popular vote on his way to becoming president in 2016, the GOP hasn't wavered in their adoration.

But the rest of us? We're enjoying the stability and calmness of the Biden-Harris presidency thus far, getting our vaccines, trying to recover from the trauma of this pandemic and the previous administration. And we deserve that, after four years of being unable to turn away from a presidential train wreck, of carrying the constant fear of which American traditions and laws Trump and his handler Mitch McConnell would violate next.

Sure, Trump is destroying the Republican Party, and the impact of his four years in office will likely be felt for generations, unless we do something about the Supreme Court and that pesky 2017 Tax Scam, among other pressing issues. But it's such a relief to know he can't destroy the United States right now.

In fact, Trump can't even go viral right now, as The Post notes.

"He's whistling in the wind," said Megan Squire, a computer science professor at Elon University who studies right-wing online organizing and reviewed data about Trump's audience. "People just aren't following him to his little desk platform, and we can see that in the numbers. The difference is ridiculous. He doesn't have that same ability anymore to constantly put his content in people's faces the way he did before."

He's desperate to regain the spotlight, of course; after all, he's been chasing it for most of his adult life. Advisers tell The Post that the gold-tinted grifter is eager to start another rally tour this summer, and he'd even consider taking his talents to smaller platforms that essentially serve as right-wing echo chambers—"if he received enough money from the platform and could control the terms."

And there's a part of me, that, like The Atlantic's David Graham noted in April, feels like I'm jinxing Trump's glorious irrelevancy just by writing about how much the country seems to be relishing it.

Again, Trump still has the Republican Party under his thumb. I'm not pretending otherwise, even as I celebrate his growing insignificance.

He's also deeply saturated the right-wing with his Big Lie of a stolen election, to the point that conservatives are willing that delusion into reality, as this fascinating thread (click through to read the whole thing) deftly explains.

But in the end, as The Atlantic's Graham notes, there's just one insurmountable obstacle that Trump can't scream his way through, though damned if he didn't try.

The basic problem for Trump is that, despite his best and most nefarious efforts, he is no longer president. He just doesn't matter that much now.

We'll see what happens when he resumes his white supremacy hangar tour in the coming months, and when the battles for 2022 and 2024 kick into gear. But for now, it's so nice to start my weekend every Saturday afternoon without fearing what he'll do in those precious 60 hours or so that I unplug from the news each week.

When I plug back in every Tuesday morning, it's a relief to only see headlines about Trump's significant and well-deserved legal troubles—like this well-deserved lawsuit recently filed by the Chinese Americans Civil Rights Coalition, or New York's investigation of the Trump Organization entering the criminal sphere—or stories that center the current administration's fight to undo his reign of terror through repeals and reversals and revocations and just plain old better, progressive policy.

It's a relief we earned, as progressives, as Americans, as the electorate, when we came together to unseat him in 2020.


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