No one in American political life has even a fraction of his power to inspire behavior and action. No one. It’s time we recognize that Trump’s unique social media presence is a weapon of radicalization. No one else in the American political landscape stokes the resentments, fears, and prejudices of his base with equal power.
Trump never misses a chance to miss a chance to be bigger and better. He never fails to close the door on opportunities to be a consequential leader and not a winking, simpering buffoon who holds the title but never wears the mantle of the presidency. As we saw after Charlottesville, his defiance of every American norm and his eagerness to “both sides” every argument is an extended middle finger to our republic.
What’s shocking about what we’ve seen from Sayoc’s social media feeds is just how ordinary they are in the Trump online ecosystem. The slurry of conspiracy theories (particularly all things Soros), birtherism, xenophobia, boomer memes, and MAGA spank-bank material in his Twitter and Facebook feeds is the raw distillate from Infowars, Breitbart, and Fox.
I could find feeds identical to this by the dozen just by scanning my latest crop of trolls. Sayoc isn’t a one-off loner radicalized by a few edge-case media outlets; he’s an inevitable outcome of an alternative-reality media silo that increasingly defines the intellectual landscape of the Trump right. [Continue reading…]