If the election were to be decided based on their overall Twitter klout and influence, it’s safe to say that Donald Trump—I’m using his own words here—would schlong Hillary Clinton.
The gap between the two is YUGE. Even though Trump has a four-year head-start, joining March 2009 while Hillary’s Twitter wasn’t activated until April 2013, the engagement generated remains overwhelmingly in the Republican challenger’s favor.
Trump holds a 13 million follower to 10.2 million follower edge over Clinton. He’s also posted over 20,000 more times (33,900 to be exact to Hillary’s 9,715), but has also only followed 41 people, while Clinton follows 758.
Trump’s Twitter success shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone.
Even before his nomination, Trump was a polarizing figure on Twitter, drawing heaps of attention for his politically charged, often ignorant, brain droppings about Barack Obama’s policies. You couldn’t help but be enthralled as the reality show billionaire lamented about the dangers of wind power and a global warming hoax perpetrated by China.
Now that he has the validation of the people, winning the GOP nomination and now moving onto something much bigger, his rhetoric is as dangerous, yet restrained, as ever.
And the people love it.
From both sides, they can’t get enough of it. This election isn’t a choice between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. It’s a choice between Donald Trump and not Donald Trump. Clinton and her lack of charisma, as well as her burgeoning history of rampant corruption in and out of politics, has only garnered attention through FBI investigations, Spirit Cooking, and leaked emails. Trump, meanwhile, has been a prominent daily figure throughout mainstream media.
Hillary’s campaign even seems to admit it, judging by the primarily negative ads focused on Trump leading up to the election.
The enthusiasm around her is minimal, while the energy around her opponent is staggering. Despite boasting a net worth as much as any former President, Trump has taken on the role of a Populist candidate, connecting with the American people and deriding the same Wall Street fat-cats, bankers, and politicians he used to rub elbows with.
Just think of Bernie Sanders, only on the other side of the spectrum.
Populist candidates speak to the disenfranchised and those who either felt they have no voice or have lost it altogether. Trump’s version of it is largely cultural and shrouds itself in the type of flag-waving, America-first Nationalism that so many GOP voters feel is being threatened by politicians who, they claim, send precious jobs overseas, ignore problems at home, and focus more on policing the world.
Here’s a good explanation from a Newsweek article on the subject:
“The disconnect between party elites and their populist constituencies is, instead, of a piece with a mounting sense that all the institutions presiding over our shaky mood of consensus—from the financial sector to the higher-education establishment to the mainstream media – are crumbling….You don’t have to sign on with the Trump and Sanders crusaders in all their particulars to see that in today’s money-driven, elite-dominated political scene, more and more ordinary voters feel legitimately left out – and fed up.”
Trump’s nomination has basically reinvented the GOP. “This is how populism has come to double as a synonym for modern cultural conservatism. Historian Richard Hofstadter famously branded the Gilded Age agrarian uprising as a precursor to McCarthyism: an outpouring of economic resentments that gave aggrieved farmers license to scapegoat any and all available elites – Jewish bankers, British titans of industry, American robber barons – for their declining cultural influence.”
Immigration, in case you haven’t been paying attention, has also been part of this scapegoating, with Trump “tapping into the protectionist outlook of America’s older labor movement, which historically supports restrictions on immigration because of its downward pull on wages.”
So despite all of his flaws and inexperience, Trump has carved himself out not just a following, but a movement. Speak on whatever you may think of him, the fact that he’s come this far in the race to run the country, and essentially the world, is a clear response to a broken system that the people no longer believe in.
And, no, it’s not because 40% of the country is racist/sexist/insert dismissive epithet here. It’s because 40% of the country feels they have a candidate that can shake up a do-nothing government and lessen its focus on globalism.
Whether or not you enjoy living under a broken system should decide where your vote goes, but I digress.
All of the points mentioned above speak to why Trump has absolutely crushed Clinton, in terms of influence on Twitter. He’s a wild card that has divided the people between a ‘He’s absolutely right’ and ‘He’s absolutely wrong’ margin, but he’s also ramped up the energy on both sides.
The reactions are the result of frustration bubbling over and those content with the status quo that has emerged.
Think of the mood of citizens and their reaction to a ruling political party as a pendulum. When it starts to swing too far right for too long, the people demand it to be more left. When it starts to swing too far left for too long, the people demand it to be more right. The ravenous responses from both sides over the past few months are coming from those who thought left-leaning policies for eight years were either God’s gift or Satan’s special delivery.
Trump’s candid responses, with the addition of overwhelming negative coverage from media outlets, have only stoked the flames of approval and contempt for his run. Who knew that openly and constantly comparing a candidate to some of history’s greatest monsters would attract unhinged supporters and opponents?
It shows on Twitter, how simple posts from Trump can garner twice the retweets and likes of almost all of Clinton’s tweets. Funny, too, when you consider that no one else runs Donald’s Twitter but him, while Clinton’s is run by a team of staffers that sends proposed tweets through a hierarchy of decision-makers before reaching posted status.
According to the numbers from November alone, Hillary’s team of staffers and celebrity endorsements are no match for Trump.
Beyonce, Katy Perry, LeBron James, Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, James Taylor, Jay-Z, Chance the Rapper, J. Cole, Shonda Rhimes, Will Ferrell, Joe Biden, Jen Carlos, Representative John Lewis, Big Sean and Mark Cuban have all been name-dropped (Remember: this is just 7 days in November) directly by Hillary’s account.
A tweet featuring a picture of Beyonce with the copy “I’m with her!” along with her ‘@’ received 26,000 retweets. Trump has seven tweets that have received more retweets, none with the help of one of the world’s most recognized celebrities.
Trump’s most engaged with tweet in November reads “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” with no picture. This tweet received 53,000 retweets and 110,000 likes.
Trump, once again, effectively proves that it’s the message that matters most to the people, rather than endorsements from beautiful, talented millionaires who are disconnected from the daily realities of their fans. Clinton’s team has yet to realize this, as they continue to recruit celebrities of every race and gender to put on free shows and get mentioned in her tweets.
Two of Hillary’s five best tweets are celebrity endorsements. Two others are a reply to a Trump tweet and a negative ad against Trump. Only one of the top five is focused on Clinton, and it’s a summary of her entire life. In fact, if you go through most of Hillary’s top tweets they’re all either endorsements or celeb-focused.
Here’s a rundown of the top 15:
#6: Trump criticism
#7: Pandering to Cubs’ fans on World Series win
#8: Trump criticism
#9: Another smarmy reply to a Trump tweet
#10: Trump criticism
#11: Trump criticism
#12: Michelle Obama endorsement
#13: Pleading for RT’s
#14: Trump criticism
#15: Trump criticism
Trump is guilty of much of the same. While his top tweet is his campaign slogan, the next two tweets are heavy on ‘Crooked Hillary’ mentions. Let’s take a look at the top 15 after the top 3:
#4: Asking to vote for Trump
#5: Prayers to cops who were shot
#6: Clinton criticism
#7: Clinton criticism
#8: Clinton criticism
#9: Clinton criticism
#10: Clinton criticism
#11: Clinton criticism
#12: Clinton criticism
#13: Thanks to Reno for a rally
#14: Campaign slogan
#15: Citing polls where he’s leading
Criticism of each other has been the norm, since neither really has anything good to say about themselves; one is a corrupt globalist, while the other is an inexperienced gasbag.
After going through each November tweet, we found that Trump has a 1.83 ratio of content between himself and Clinton. Hillary’s is slightly higher at 1.94. So when it comes to disparaging their opponent, both look to be in prime form, although Hillary seems to be relying far more heavily on her opponent and endorsements to move the dial.
Most surprising in my research was the frequency of tweets of each candidate. Here I was led to believe that Trump was a tweeting maniac who would shipwreck his campaign in one of his flurries. Little did I know that he only sent out (not including retweets) 68 tweets.
In the same amount of time, Hillary (and her team) sent out 171 tweets.
This next telling stat isn’t because of the heavy frequency of Clinton’s tweets (over 24 per day), but because of whom the candidates are themselves. Clinton hardly projects charisma and enthusiasm, while her opponent’s campaign relies heavily on both factors, adding in a healthy dose of polarizing language that pits supporters and opponents on opposite sides.
So it should be no surprise that an average Hillary tweet over the course of November received 3,742 retweets and 8,559 likes, while an average Trump tweet garnered an average of 13,641 retweets and 32,838 likes.
All those staffers supporting Hillary’s Twitter account, yet it takes one old man with a penchant for making America great again to generate nearly four times the amount of retweets and likes on an average tweet.
Some may argue that Twitter’s main demographics are more likely to lean towards Trump, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
According to a 2015 study, the highest percentage of adults that use Twitter are in the 18-29-age bracket.
Twitter is also made up mostly of people who live in urban areas, graduated college, and makes over $50,000. This doesn’t sound like the average Trump supporter you were thinking of I bet.
But don’t allow their performance on Twitter to influence you, even though one candidate comes across as a dud in desperate need of celebrity endorsements and her opponent’s rhetoric for any sort of traction.
Instead, do independent research, study each candidate’s policies, consider the ramifications and consequences of their actions in an international setting, and look into what traditional media doesn’t tell you.