This research project will show how Twitter, and the rise of technology shaped the past political election of 2016 more than any other campaign tactic to date. The purpose of the study is to show how Donald Trump succeeded in the 2016 campaign, and the study will show the three ways he did it. Although the theories in this research project cannot directly claim how Donald Trump’s presidency was won, it will develop an argument through a variety of research and discussions. Donald Trump used three methods and campaign strategies that will be shown from my research about how he shaped the way we view politics for the future. Many people can argue the different variations in technology had led to successful campaigns in the past. This essay will go into detail of Donald Trump using technology and Twitter to his full advantage, which shaped politics more drastically than any other campaign style. These tactics and campaign styles were diverse and unheard of for political figures to have presented this format. The three ways that Trump dominated technology and the 2016 campaign are 1) Trump used Twitter to preempt attacks fake news.2) Trump used Twitter as a free publicity/marketing tool. 3) Trump used twitter as a form of humor and ridicule to divert the public from other issues. In this research paper, there will be four parts I go into Introduction, literature review (what are scholars saying), critical analysis and the conclusion.
The first stop to Trump’s campaign was revolved around whether or not he was going to win his party nomination. This usually involves numerous fund-raising events and surfacing accomplishments. This can result from donors in that parties’. Arguably Trump did have a substantial amount of money from his own personal wealth. This included Trump putting in around sixty-six million into his campaign fund. The social media debate was rising even with this campaign fund Trump had to use traditional campaign funding. An argument was made that Barack Obama’s establishment of social media use during his campaign was the scheme for Trump’s vision in his election. Trump’s use of Twitter wasn’t necessary to establish his message but to lure journalists in order to gain exposure to his campaign. The news outlets broadcasted this message to the masses and audiences retaining this information to their personal opinions and beliefs. This form of messaging allows users to re-share and like tweets which are brief messages to their audience or friend base. This can be argued that Hillary had put in more money toward thirty-second television ads although the difference being the amount of money and audience base for these two different forms of exposure.
Going into what Twitter is and how it evolved into a campaign tactic for politicians can help establish one of these tactics. Twitter is a social media site and app that connects followers and uses similar interests to share different platforms. The use of social media has drastically influenced the public’s interest and opinions in the past decade. When Twitter emerged in 2006, it wasn’t particular on how it would be used. In the 2008 election many people saw an increase in political viewpoints being broadcasted by a form of social media outlook that Twitter began to form. Twitter claimed that they’re around 330 million monthly users and rising, giving people a way to express viewpoints and beliefs to the followers, George, Lakeoff (2017) analyzed Trump’s tweets and developed an argument that Trump was ahead of the framing from other politicians. Lakeoff established that Trump had used this strategy on his twitter to preempt his attacks and lessen the consequences of the attack ads or claims.
Trump worded this in a way that framed his attacker as a bully. Zito (2016) states that Trump is the first political figure to successfully punch the bully in the face even before the attack happens. Donald Trump throughout his campaign believed that good or bad advertisement was a success. The majority of the population, for the most part, thought this tactic was crazy and would never work. Silver (2016) states, that had you’d told me a year ago that Trump would be the nominee, I would have thought you were nuts. Even prior to the general election there were very few political scientists who predicted a victory for Trump. This led to a substantial amount of free press through his social media tactics.
A variety of political media sites developed theories to how Trump won. Many of these revolved around how free media including Twitter was the cause of this billion dollar Free media campaign. Stewart (2016) states, Donald Trump rode $5 billion in free media to the White House. Backing research up even Donald Trump’s digital media director, Brad Parscale claimed Twitter was one of the reasons they won the election. Trump used this free press tactic to say volatile comments to draw in journalists and generate free publicity no matter the positive or negative message. According to West (2014), social media has the leverage hand of eliminating the demanding costs that come with thirty-second ads on television sites that the traditional campaign usually follows. This free press through social media wasn’t just successful solely from Trump’s message used on these platforms.
If Trumps opponents had used and taken advantage of social media to the same extent, many could argue that social media and free advertisement wasn’t one of three main focuses on him winning the 2016 election. Many studies were developed during and after the 2016 election to see where Trump capitalized on the election. Research from the Harvard Kennedy school’s showed that Trump received a substantial amount of media press which was argued around his Twitter usage and the analytics to his Twitter percentages (Patterson, 2016). Hillary Clinton put in more campaign dollars for 30-second television ads and campaign dollars for the 2016 election.
The third way Trump succeeded in the 2016 election was Trump used his tweets and social media posts as a form of ridicule. This developed a form of an attack ad that politicians weren’t used to and the main lens he used to do this was against Hillary and to divert the public’s eye from a variety of scandals that came up in the 2016 election. When looking at a traditional campaign, one can see a variety of forms of attack ads being utilized. Hillary was a great example of this as she used a substantial amount of campaign funds to force Trump into the defense stage of the campaign. Although Trump did use attack ads, he focused around framing Hillary in a negative light through his unorthodox tweets and avoiding the subjects of his ridicule. Twitter helped Trump say what he wanted to say no matter the language with few consequences. Trump used Tweets to make fun of common views of woman and attacking female critics as using the woman card.(Cook, 2015) states Trump used this specifically in 2015 when Hillary accused him as being sexist in a tweet sent late December and this used a form of humor to diverge the subject of Trump being sexist.
Trump used this approach in minimalizing what he said or did and even used a form of pornification by labeling Hillary as unattractive and not having the ability to attract voters. (Trump,2015) stated on December 26, 2015, that he would do far more for a woman than Hillary, projecting that she lacks the strength and stamina to do so. In 2016, a variety of media was going around of a tape of Donald Trump verbally admitting to sexually harassing a variety of woman. (Burns & Corasaniti, 2016) stated that Trump’s tweets showed that those alleging assault weren’t good looking enough to draw his sexual attention. This form can be seen also as offensive but, Trump used this format to shape humor and distract the public eye to the accusations and situations he was brought to. Many scholars can argue with the number of scandals and issues Trump was in that no other candidate could have succeeded through any of these situations.
During the campaign, Trump used social media to establish his mark of fake news, which was a tactic to use against Hillary’s strategy of demonizing Trump in the three stages of the campaign. This development forced Hillary to fight back on social media leaning her out of the traditional campaign style she established. An argument could possibly have been made if Hillary used social media throughout her campaign to develop her strategy although she did not. According to (Willaims & Delli Caprini, 2011), Trump embodies the inversion of the modern-era distinction between politics and entertainment. Most political journalists will argue that media has veered into a variety of technological changes throughout the past campaigns. Many though will argue that the 2016 election was by far and away swallowed by the Twitter impact and social media. This form of media access was thought to worry some of the viewers being filter bubbles which gave bias and can influence one’s thoughts and beliefs. Recent evidence showed that 62 percent of adults residing in the United States use social media (Gottfried and Shearer 2016).
Which lead to the rise of the free advertisement theory when Trump had no financial decline by tweeting however many times he wants. Fake news establishes itself as a cheap and unique concept. This developed a hard argument against Trump’s statements to lessen a response from media platforms. Fake news can be associated with a click bait format, a lot of which is used for advertisement regardless of the truth or not. For , Paul Horner produced a pro Trump story for profit, although he publicly claimed he opposed Trump (Dewey, 2016). Many political scientists developed studies to see which side of the political spectrum were more susceptible to believing fake news. Can this be argued that this is a new form of selective exposure? We know that selective exposure has been used in past elections and campaigns.
The campaign didn’t just involve Hillary, it was all political opponents that Trump faced that were used in the political advertisement of social media. If we look at the statistics of Social media use in general, we wonder why 2016 was arguably the first election to be shaped from these forms of advertisement. (Gottfried, Jeffrey, &Elisa Shearer. 2016) with pew research stated, one-quarter of online adults use Twitter. This can show development throughout the campaign. Trump’s tweets were consumed and were not always fact checked depending on the rhetoric used. This all ultimately worked but developed into my research argument on how this will shape politics in the future. China’s government has added to their specific control on media content and how politicians or media broadcast these messages. Trump’s campaign didn’t just specifically use Twitter; he also widely used YouTube and Facebook. The horse race situation American politics gave this path a way for Trump to compete and press his agenda through social media to the fullest.
This information alone cannot completely guarantee that Twitter was the reason for a successful campaign. Trump’s political message (Make America Great again) and unusual rhetoric couldn’t have been broadcasted by traditional media. This led to his platform of social media and the construction of his message to gain headlines. In hindsight, this was a way that led to him sneaking through the lines of a gatekeeper. Going back to the argument one could make that Barack Obama made an impact through media in his campaign. This can be proven but it does not show the effect on how it changed or shaped politics in anyway. This led to Trump relying on traditional media bases to broadcast these messages to the public through free press. This has led to Twitter becoming a mainstream source of media and will shape elections in the future to come.
Going into media coverage that Trump was involved in is so broad and vast in comparison to other candidates. Twitter and social media can be known to develop impulsive behavior which can easily persuade feelings toward political campaigns and the framing involved in these. Trump even intertwined the four stereotypes to Hillary Clinton in his social media framing. Trump focuses on Hillary as an Iron Maiden in majority of his tweets. Trump throughout his campaign has been involved in a variety of scandals. Hillary ultimately goes on about these scandals through Twitter. Trump used his unusual rhetoric to go into the Benghazi scandal and ultimately used Twitter to succeed and bringing this scandal to the limelight and force her fake news out. This was never dependent on what the facts were in these situations it was how they were portrayed to the public and how they perceived them and this can be a result of quantity advantage of males gaining more media coverage. Though one can argue that Donald Trump said things that people wanted to hear but not necessarily want to say publicly. While Trump repetitively frames Hillary as crooked through tweets using the traditional aspect of personal characteristics on female candidates such as physical features, family and fashion.
Trump has used a lot of traditional campaign styles along with adding his twist into the media tactics. This was even used in a lot of campaign strategies for Trump but how his words were portrayed that the audiences had never seen before in the past. Social media is hard to address these accusations or even rumored scandals. Research throughout history shows that generations not accustomed to social media have been more likely to believe the information given no matter what the source. These generations were used to traditional media forms that were more accurate in the information given to the public. Trump tends to use simple denial in all his accusations through Hillary that led to his fan base to believe his comments through social media and his far right agenda.
In conclusion to my essay, I will discuss my findings through what scholars stated and research that was done on the three ways Trump used Twitter and technology to shape politics. In my research, there was an extraordinary amount of evidence shows that Trump defied the odds. There are a variety of explanations provided between the three main tactics used. 1) Trump used Twitter to preempt attacks fake news.2) Trump used Twitter as a free marketing tool. 3) Trump used twitter as a form of humor and ridicule to divert the public from other issues.
The purpose of these articles was to provide and examine information and research shown to develop a theory to how Donald Trump succeeded and the path that led to his presidency. The results from my findings show clear evidence that Trump developed more free media exposure than Hillary Clinton along with preempting attacks and used humor to diverge from issues on his campaign. One can conclude from these findings that this shaped the 2016 election and will in some way aspects the next presidential election in the way one uses or defends their campaign through social media. These three ways Trump used Twitter and social media might be seen again in years to come.
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