With news that Donald Trump plans to use “his own platform” (let’s just call it “Instaklan”) to make his much unwanted return (at least for us sane people) to social media, we should all keep a few things in mind.
First, Trump’s return to social media shouldn’t lead people to immediately believe he’s making a meaningful return to politics as a politician hopeful. In fact, my best guess is that Trump doesn’t want to be a politician again. Instead, in a predictably Trump way, this seems to me to be another money-grab. Trump isn’t doing so well right now. His hotels are languishing, his used car lot 757 was abandoned, and he’s facing a tidal wave of lawsuits that aren’t likely to be cheap or winnable for him. Starting a personal social media platform, brand, what have you, in which he guffs out racist platitudes, peddles conspiracies, and then asks for donations for his “cause” wouldn’t be dissimilar to the model followed by successful televangelists. In the words of the notorious L. Ron Hubbard, “If you want to get rich, you start a religion.”
Second, my guess is that Instaklan will be about as successful, functional, and honestly operated as everything else he’s done. That is to say, it’ll be a veritable disaster in just about every facet. Trump, while evil, was, fortunately for us, extremely stupid. His stupidity (and the collective and individual stupidity of the administration officials more generally) got in the way of him successfully exacting his evil agenda. Had Trump been reasonably smart, there’s a good chance he could have figured out a way to win the 2020 election. But no, he’s a ripe idiot. His platform, like his businesses, will likely flounder at some point despite the support of his zealous acolytes.
Lastly, expect Republican politicians to jump on the Trump social media apparatus with unctuous alacrity. Doing so will only serve to further widen the gap between the left and the right and make clear to independents that Republicans sell a truly special brand of crazy. In a somewhat unexpected way (at least in my view), Instaklan might hurt Republicans by simply being too extreme of a far-right echo chamber for most moderate Republicans to tolerate. Whatever the case, Trump has another pending failure waiting in the wings, and for once it isn’t one of his buffoon sons rearing to get on stage to be his father’s warm-up act.
Democracy thrives in snarkiness