Unfollow Trump

12 May 2020

Poor Donald Trump. Being President was supposed to be all about power, money and perks, and getting his name in history for something other than being a reality TV host and saying a bunch of gross things to a radio shock jock whose other career stand out is the 1992 release of his film Butt Bongo Fiesta. And for a while it went okay. He cut taxes, the economy was doing well, and he got to bask in the adoration of fans who will backflip, twist and spin reality at a pace that would make Simone Biles dizzy in order to convince themselves of their hero’s infallibility.


But right now it’s not fun anymore. There’s a global pandemic on, and it’s hitting the US hard, and despite banning arrivals from Chi-nuh and what else do you people expect him to do? He keeps getting criticised. So many nasty questions. And worst of all, he’s bored. Why won’t this just go away so he can get back to golf and not being a husband and father?

But hey, his ratings are great.


And isn’t that what makes Trump’s Covid-19 response a success? He’s getting great ratings. People are watching the press briefings, even if he’s taken off in a sulk for getting nasty questions. Trump doesn’t understand that people are laughing at him, not with him. He sees everything in terms of numbers: profits, ratings, crowd sizes; and if he doesn’t get the numbers he wants, he’ll make them up.


Trump dismisses all criticism of himself and his presidential administration as fake news. Americans, and the rest of the world which pays attention to America (which is most of the rest of the world) have been appalled by Trump’s handling of the Covid-19 crisis. From dismissing it as a little problem that will soon go away, to forcing states to compete with each other for resources, to not knowing the difference between a virus and a bacteria, to praising armed protests against the lockdown, and suggesting bleach injections as a cure for the disease. And people, unable to march in the streets, have voiced their outrage on social media, comedians have lampooned him, journalists of character have eviscerated the administration, governors have argued with him, world leaders have taken him to task. It doesn’t matter. Trump isn’t listening. And the despair and death toll grows. What can we do?


Well, there’s one thing ordinary people can do that will really get his attention. One thing that he won’t be able to brush off. One thing that will actually pierce and possibly even deflate his massive ego that looms like a blimp of a massive angry toddler.


And it won’t even take you a few seconds. Just log onto your Twitter account, and unfollow Trump.


Trump has 79.7 million followers on Twitter. It would never cross his mind that they aren’t all there in support of his great and good glory. The one way everyday people, scared and sad and angry and frustrated, can get his attention is to hit him where it will really hurt: his follower numbers. If everyone who doesn’t support Trump but follows him anyway were to click that unfollow button, his numbers would plunge and he’d take notice. He might lash out like an angry child, claiming Twitter was censoring him and kicking actual followers off, or that the accounts that unfollowed were all fake anyway, but he wouldn’t be able to deny it. A few days of watching his numbers fall would get Trump’s attention in a way that protests, monologues on late night comedy shows and think pieces in the Washington Post never could. The man’s ego is predicated on his follower numbers. He sees his 79.7 million Twitter followers and tweets away, confident he is basking in the glowing admiration of 79.7 million ardent fans.


If you don’t support Trump, why follow him on Twitter? My Twitter feed is blissfully MAGA free, yet at least 100 of the 500+ Twitter accounts I follow are also following Trump. Of course, he’s the leader of the free world, and we need to know what he’s up to however much we hate him. But you’ll find out anyway. Of course, if you’re a journalist you need to be across breaking news – and Trump’s reality warping tweets frequently qualify as news – as it happens. But if you’re not in that category, rest assured that if Trump says something stupid – and he will – you’ll find out soon enough. It will be retweeted and quote tweeted and mentioned in news articles. There's even Twitter accounts that automatically retweet all Trump's tweets, like @RealPressSecBot.

Anyway, if you do unfollow him, what will you be missing out on really? Him flogging books he can't read, insulting women who don't agree with him, peddling conspiracy theories like "Obamagate" based off a 2018 press release from the office of a Republican Senator?

And making every candidate he supports sound like the exact same person, as if they were churned out of some huge MAGA factory? (I guess that's one thing he would have done to get America manufacturing again)


And thank goodness Trump supports candidates who love the military and veterans, because he seems to rather dislike them himself (his record of unethical behaviour toward the armed forces is astonishing even to seasoned Trump watchers). 

We're all scared of what's to come at the moment, of the unsure and potentially disastrous results of opening up countries and economies too soon (and Scott Morrison seems to be taking a terrifying tip from Trump on this). But we know Trump won't listen, not to journalists, not to signatories of open letters, no one. But millions of people unfollowing him on Twitter might be the one thing he pays attention to. I'm not saying it will work - if it happened, Trump would find some way to dismiss it, unless the fall in numbers became too big for him to ignore. But if there's a tiny chance it will make him sit up, put down the Double Quarter Pounder and pay attention, it's worth a try. And hey, it would at least hurt his feelings, and that's something we could take some enjoyment of at this horrid time.


We all know what we need to do. Stay home. Save lives. Unfollow Trump.


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