As is increasingly the case these days, Donald Trump is attempting to write checks he can’t cash when it comes to the threats he’s making. He spent all of Wednesday threatening to punish Twitter, or even shut it down entirely, because the site dared to place a fact check warning on two of his false tweets. Here’s the thing, though.
On Wednesday night we saw Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey fire back at Trump, and that’s a good thing. But while watching the exchange play out between Trump and Jack, something occurred to me: they’re both using Jack’s platform to do it.
Yes, Trump has other ways of getting his message across, including television. But it’s long been clear that Trump considers Twitter to be his most effective communication tool. The fact that Trump had to use Twitter to threaten to shut down Twitter means that Trump isn’t the one with the leverage here.
Yes, Twitter will take a hit in the popularity department if Donald Trump stops using it as his main platform. But Trump has more to lose. He’s on track to lose a presidential election, and he’ll end up indicted and put on criminal trial in New York if he loses. If Trump sees tweeting as one of his key campaign strategies, he’s not at all in a position to walk away from Twitter. Twitter might lose some traffic if this feud escalates, but Trump could lose everything.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report