Opinion: How Elon Musk could end up being a game-changer for Trump

Musk, a staunch free speech advocate who has used Twitter to spread misinformation and mock politicians, has previously suggested he will work with the company to make “meaningful improvements”, although it is unclear. don’t know what those plans might be and whether they will come to fruition. . Meanwhile, some conservatives are calling on Musk to allow Trump back on the platform after the former president was permanently suspended two days after the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol “due to the risk of further incitement to violence”.
“Now that @ElonMusk is Twitter’s largest shareholder, it’s time to lift political censorship. Oh…and bring Trump back!” tweeted Republican Congresswoman Lauren Boebert. Twitter spokespersons said management and employees make these policy decisions, not the board.

Trump’s ability to regain access to Twitter could have a significant impact on the 2024 Republican primaries, assuming the former president plans to run again. Twitter was integral to Trump’s political success, and if his accounts were restored, he would have immense power to secure the Republican presidential nomination and improve his standing in a general election.

Six months after his suspension from Twitter, I called a meeting with the former president and a group of other historians working on a book about his tenure. Responding to a question about his use of Twitter, Trump appeared to gloss over the blow of losing access to his social media accounts, saying he found posting press releases on his website “much more elegant” . But there’s no denying that Trump’s presence in the public square has drastically diminished since he was suspended from multiple social media platforms. And months after we met, Trump filed a court filing trying to get his Twitter account reinstated (a judge rejected his argument and granted Twitter’s motion to move the Florida lawsuit to the Northern District Court of California). Meanwhile, his efforts to create an alternative social media platform have so far been difficult.

Trump depended on Twitter to communicate directly with the public in an informal, unedited way. While we still don’t know how much was scripted and whether some tweets were written by White House staffers, Trump’s Twitter account has been a source of constant commentary. He has used the platform to attack his opponents, spread disinformation to his political advantage, and taunt foreign leaders such as North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.

But more important to Trump was how he used Twitter to shape the 24-hour news cycle. Whether or not he was embarrassed by his strategy, Trump had an innate sense of how the modern media is drawn to controversy, provocative statements and sensational stories. With a willingness to communicate without any guardrails, Trump was able to shape the news of the day into a few words on Twitter. When you’re a powerful leader willing to say just about anything – be it outlandish statements, inflammatory words, or just plain nonsense comments – it’s a safe bet that media coverage will follow. Do you remember covfefe?

Indeed, the campaign to delegitimize the 2020 election relied in part on Trump’s repeated outbursts on Twitter that fueled his narrative. What we saw on Jan. 6 was a veritable crowd that rallied across the social media world, chanting slogans from Trump’s Twitter feed as they stormed Capitol Hill.

If Trump makes a political comeback in 2024, Twitter could be a game-changer for him. Without access to this medium, it will be enormously difficult for him to recreate the strategy that propelled him to the White House in 2016, especially with a new generation of Trumpian Republicans like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis ready to stir up controversy and fuel Red meat. at the base.

If Musk’s presence on the board somehow leads to a change in policy, the Republican primaries — and the future of the country — will likely look very different.


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