July 26, 2018

Horse 2447 - Trump's Tweets Are Surprisingly Standard

If you have even been remotely following politics in the past two years, you will be more than aware that the President of the United States has a Twitter account and that that Twitter account is itself deemed newsworthy. Mr Trump's Twitter tweets that he tweets are the modern day equivalent of the pamphlets during the revolution for independence, the Fireside Chats during the golden age of radio, and the addresses via television in the latter half of the twentieth century. In a media landscape which is saturated and where teenagers with cameras in their bedroom can get more views than the President of the United States, this president has decided that the best method of saying what he wants to the world is via the short messaging service that Twitter offers. It is an unfiltered window into the President's brain and the levels of outrage that are expressed are because we've looked into the window and seen that Mr Trump is exactly the same on the internet as he is in the real world.

I don't follow Mr Trump on Twitter because I mostly don't need to. The news media is already very good at reporting what he has said and so that just seems pointless to me. However, I thought that it might be interesting to go through Mr Trump's last hundred tweets and see just how erratic Mr Trump actually is, rather than take it as given.
His tweets are amazingly easy to categorise. If a tweet contained an already known combination of words, then I took that as the label. In some cases there was a hash tag and only in a few cases was there something which wasn't immediately classifiable. This then is the categorisation of the last one hundred tweets at the time of collection.

1. Witch hunt
2. Fake news
3. Unfair trade
4. Freedom
5. Very successful
6. Fallen heroes
7. Fallen heroes
8. Nobody tougher
10. Doing great things

11. Full endorsement
12. Unfair trade
13. Unfair trade
14. Illegal drugs
15. Doing great things
16. MAGA
17. Nobody tougher
18. Doing great things
19. Fake news
20. Fake news

21. Fake news
22. Fake news
23. Witch hunt
24. Fake news
25. Fake news
26. Good news
27. Nobody tougher
28. Crooked Hilary
29. Happy birthday
30. Fake news

31. Witch hunt
32. Witch hunt
33. Crooked Hilary
34. Witch hunt
35. Vote
36. 2nd Amendment
37. Witch hunt
38. Witch hunt
39. Witch hunt
40. MAGA

41. Fake news
42. Unfair trade
43. Fake news
44. Fake news
45. Unfair trade
46. Winning
47. Praise
48. Unfair trade
49. Unfair trade
50. Fallen heroes

51. MAGA
52. Nobody tought
53. MAGA
54. Fake news
55. Fake news
56. Nobody tougher
57. Fallen heroes
58. Unfair trade
59. Nobody tougher
60. Full endorsement

61. Fallen heroes
62. MAGA
63. Fake news
64. MAGA
65. Full endorsement
66. Very good
67. Very good
68. Very good
69. Nobody tougher
70. Fake news

71. Very good
72. Very good
73. National anthem
74. Very good
75. Fake news
76. Unfair trade
77. Fake news
78. Illegal drugs
79. Illegal drugs
80. Full endorsement

81. Full endorsement
82. Fallen heroes
83. Very good
84. MAGA
85. Very good
86. Very good
87. Thank you
88. Thank you
89. Very good
90. Thank you

91. Witch hunt
92. Crooked Hillary
93. Thank you
94. Very good
95. Congratulations
96. Fallen heroes
97. Fake news
98. Fake news
99. Fake news
100. Witch hunt

If there's one thing that you can say about the 45th President of the United States, it's that although there is a perceived streak of unpredictability and his sentence construction is terrible, if you do an analysis of his Twitter posts he is incredibly unified. One of the unfortunate things about modern politics is that politicians like to stage manage their appearance and remain "on message". Trump is neither stage managed nor particularly has all that much of a defined message but because he is an egoist, which hold that his self-interest is the foundation of his morality, then by accident he stays "on message" because he is the message.
I suspect that Trump's actual political aspirations were fulfilled on  ‎January 20, 2017, when the "largest audience to witness an inauguration, period" and he promised to faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States. I think that execution process is going along pretty nicely if execution means the carrying out of a death sentence. Maybe it's because he doesn't appear to be all that curious about the weeds of politics or process, he floats above it all in a sort of power cloud. It is as if he is a six year old with a chainsaw - nobody quite knows how he got it, he doesn't really know how to use it, if he ever does use it then we're all in trouble, and we all just look on in gaping horror.

Nevertheless, to step away from the swirling maelstrorm of rage and outrage for a second, after collating those tweets, we find the following broad topics:

Fake news 20
Very good 12
Witch hunt 10
Unfair trade 9
Fallen heroes 7
Nobody tougher 7
Full endorsement 5
Thank you 4
Crooked Hillary 3
Doing great things 3
Illegal drugs 3

It's immediately obvious that Mr Trump has an internal sense of his own brand. The fact that one fifth of his tweets contain those same two words is the kind of unified sloganeering that a company like Coca-Cola or McDonald's would be proud of. Indeed it appears to me that Mr Trump is kind of the embodiment of the latter half of twentieth century marketing. The phrases which he really likes to repeat are short and because they are repeated so often, they are bludgeoned into becoming memorable.
They are the Twitter equivalent of jingles of times of yore. "Fake News" may have originally been a spur of the moment remark but he knows the value of it and has press ganged it into the unified narrative that there is an us and them dichotomy. Due to the idiocy of voluntary voting, where so many people couldn't be bothered to front up to a polling place, that approval rating of only about 40% is sufficient to gain more than half of the votes casted. Since Mr Trump's core message is primarily about promoting Mr Trump, then those two words "Fake News" are perfectly concise and eloquently drive the message.

Taken together, the words "very good" and "Doing great things" appear 13 times, which also says that Mr Trump is his own cheerleader. Optimism 10% of the time would normally be seen as a positive.
I was actually surprised at how often the words "Thank You" appear in Mr Trump's Twitter posts. Admittedly they tend to be mostly reflective of the broader narrative of promoting Mr Trump but he is civil enough to world leaders, nations, veterans, to at very least keep the wheels of civility spinning.

Also appearing 13 times is the ongoing saga of the legitimacy of his election. The words "Witch hunt" convey a sense that there is an enemy out there that is out to get him and "Crooked Hillary" is that enemy personified, even if we look at the obvious that she lost the election and generally has stayed out of the arena of politics. Mr Trump needs a designated enemy upon which he can cast attacks onto. This is the same as Batman needing the Joker because otherwise, Batman is just a rich dude with an affinity for bats and a bunch of unecessary overpriced toys.

The other narrative being pushed here are kind of call backs to the base which put him in power. Mr Trump likes to project himself as the tough guy in the motion picture of his presidency; hence the reason for the words "Nobody tougher". He also likes to paint himself as the problem solver in chief; which is why we find the problems of "Unfair trade", "Illegal drugs" and the plight of people who have served in the military with the words "Fallen heroes". He also recognises that he needs the political machinery of the party which he kind of hijacked to win the presidency and so his "Full endorsement" in upcoming House of Representatives and Senate elections are given, even though the effect of that endorsement might be dubious.

Say what you like about Mr Trump, disagree with his politics and everything that comes out of his mouth if you like but you can not deny the marketing power that is the 45th President of the United States' Twitter feed. It is unified, on message and surprisingly consistent, even if it and the rest of the administration is a crazy-go-nuts buckwild dumpster fire train wreck.

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