And as a Twitter user, YOU’RE going to do it.
No, not literally.
But figuratively. And not in a way you’d expect.
Professor Robert Reich, who served in the presidential administrations of Ford and Carter, and was Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton from 1993 to 1997, is a staunch critic of Donald Trump. Reich claims that Trump has successfully used Twitter to bypass the media, using the social media platform to speak directly to his constituents; disseminating misinformation and downright lies in the process.
He’s right. Twitter is virtual sound bytes in written form, perfect for mass consumption. Trump has used the medium to devastating effect. Like some misbegotten idiot savant he was able to channel his views like no other politician has done before. It’s a tactic to be admired if it weren’t so juvenile, divisive and hateful.
I’ve often mused, along with several friends, that perhaps all the resources, manpower and money devoted to creating online petitions calling on rogue Electors in the Electoral College to do what their office was designed to do would have been better used to wrest control of Trump’s twitter account.
Imagine that! Five million signatures directed at Jack Dorsey demanding that the president elect be removed from Twitter for past transgressions, so that he could instead focus on the job of being the leader of the free world. Ahh… perchance to dream.
Words have power.
Most recently, Trump has used Twitter against the automotive industry with devastating effect. He criticized GM over a Mexican-made vehicle sold in the U.S. Then he blasted Ford for allegedly selling the Mexico-made Chevrolet Cruze hatchback in the U.S.
The tweets worked.
Ford canceled their plans for a Mexico plant instead opting to expand a factory in the United States. Smelling blood in the water, Trump then went after Toyota. The attack was not a decisive win for Trump. To their credit Toyota responded immediately, but for my money their response was lackluster and tepid.
The irony to all this is that Trump merchandise; I daresay the Trump brand itself is the epitome of “outsourcing”. Merchandise made elsewhere than the United States; licensed elsewhere than the United States.
As someone who is pro-union, I certainly have no love lost for an automotive CEO, or any CEO for that matter. Strictly engaging in a thought experiment, it’s almost fun to watch corporate bullies get bullied by one of their own, and in the spirit of that thought experiment one has to ask…
When is Trump going to go up against a CEO who simply doesn’t give a fuck? Who unaffected by the possible threat of his company’s plunging stock, curses a retort to Trump, his wife, his children with profanity laden tweets that would make a nun blush?
Trust me, this particular scenario is bound to happen eventually. The question is when. And will we all have popcorn at the ready when it does?
In any event, Wendy’s has perfected the corporate Twitter fueled clapback. Ever the provocateur, I tweeted Wendy’s directly asking them to teach other companies the art of the vengeful retort in the face of a Trumpian tirade. Not surprisingly, they have yet to tweet back a response.
Apparently going after the typical disgruntled troll is one thing, but teaching companies how to fight back against the biggest troll in the free world is something altogether different.
Never send another Goliath in to do the job of David, or in our case, lots and lots of little Davids. More on this in a minute…
Over the years a progressive resistance has grown online, both in response to Republican’s draconian and repressive polices, and Democrat’s centrist corporatist neo-liberalism. President Barrack Obama was the de facto leader of neo-liberalism, a mantle Hillary Clinton was poised to inherit. In sharp contrast the progressive movement spanning from the moderate left to extreme ranks of socialism have honed their tactics and became ever more savvy. The Occupy movement, Black Lives Matter and even Bernie Sanders’ activists benefited from the new sagacity of online grassroot organizing.
Then the unthinkable happened. Trump “WON”.
With Trump being selected by the Electoral College for the highest office in the land, while simultaneously losing the popular vote by close to 2.8 million votes, left leaning activism has EXPLODED. Trump represents a progressive’s worst nightmare. The paradox being that Trump also represents a progressive’s wet dream.
Like some twisted remake of Scream, the killer was calling from INSIDE THE HOUSE. The WHITE HOUSE. Fueled by Trump’s cavalier treatment of the intelligence community, he himself illustrated the bogeyman wasn’t some dastardly evil foreign despot. Instead, this time the demagogue was on American soil. Save your air miles people, you’ll be fighting fascism right here at home. This offers progressives a unique opportunity.
Dr. Cornell West has deftly explained why moderates, liberals and especially African Americans were squeamish to harshly criticize the first African American president; a president whose policies were unabashedly centrist, policies that skewed towards Wall Street rather than focusing on Main Street. With Hillary Clinton elected the first female president, those self-same restrictions of criticism would be transferred from race to gender. But a left leaning progressive’s quandary would remain the same.
However, with Trump’s own words, actions and [wait for it…] TWEETS illustrating the man’s racism, misogyny, xenophobia and islamophobia, the progressive left has a villain that exceeds all hyperbole. The left can now attack with impunity, unencumbered because the threat is REAL.
The gloves can come off!
As I stated earlier, once the left collectively went through the first four stages of grief, defiantly discarding the fifth stage, acceptance, they decided to mobilize. And that mobilization has exploded into groups, old and new, with a common goal: defy and resist within the encroaching fascist Trumpian age.
These groups are plentiful, and the barrage to my e-mail in box is unrelenting;
MoveOn.org, BoldProgressives.org, LeftAction.com, NARAL Pro-Choice America, SumOfUs.org, DreamCorps, ACLU, Jewish Voice for Peace, Black Lives Matter, InequalityMedia.org, RefuseFascism.org, Unite for America, Robin Hood tax…
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There’s plenty more where they came from. What’s most important is that all of these progressive groups have THOUSANDS of followers on Twitter-
Left Action has close to 30,000 followers on Twitter
Bold Progressives has over 55,000 followers on Twitter
MoveOn.org has close to 200,000 followers on Twitter
Not to be outdone, Black Lives Matter also has over 200,000 followers on Twitter
Now obviously, there’s some overlap in participation within specific groups, but not always. People who follow Jewish Voice for Peace might not be following Black Lives Matter who may or may not be following Robin Hood Tax. But in broad strokes, each of these groups are fighting and more importantly promoting a progressive message.
Words have power.
So what if… just what if, the leaders of these groups decided to create a virtual online coalition of Twitter warriors? A coalition that would take turns, decide on a specific message of the day, then reach out to their respective alliances with that specific directive. Such a dispatch could be safeguarding the Affordable Care Act, upholding Paris Climate Accords, or fighting police militarization and overreach. These are just a few examples that resonate at the moment.
Imagine this coalition reaching out to their respective followers with a specific powerful message, with the right hashtag, on the right date, at the right time, targeting @theRealDonaldTrump specifically! Imagine if this barrage was consistent? Imagine if this barrage was weekly? Imagine if this barrage was daily?
Because, you see Twitter is a sword of the 21st century. But it’s a sword that cuts both ways.
Individually we do not have the bully pulpit, but together our voices can drown out anyone.
Even Donald J. Trump.
We just need to be smart. We just need to be unified.
Most importantly… we need to be surgical.
So by all means, Mr. Trump, STAY ON TWITTER. But know this… with the right organization we can TOPPLE YOU.