President Trump’s Tweets Are Not For You

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Over the past 24 hours, Donald Trump has tweeted that (a) he plans to send the feds into Chicago if they don’t fix their crime problem, (b) he will be ordering a major investigation into voter fraud, and (c) he plans to start building the wall today. These all made the front page of the New York Times:

The guy is president, so I suppose this is the right thing to do. Still, I want to take yet another opportunity to remind everyone who these tweets are for. They are not for you. They are not for the press. They are not for Congress.

They are for his fans.

That’s it. Trump’s tweets often seem ridiculous or embarrassing or whatnot, but that’s only from our perspective. Instead, imagine you are Joe Sixpack. You’re at home, watching the Factor, and O’Reilly is going on about the crime problem in Chicago. It’s outrageous! The place is a war zone! Somebody should do something!

Then, a few minutes later, you see Trump’s tweet. “If Chicago doesn’t fix the horrible “carnage” going on, 228 shootings in 2017 with 42 killings (up 24% from 2016), I will send in the Feds!” Damn straight, you think. They need the National Guard to set things straight there. Way to go, President Trump.

Joe doesn’t really care about Chicago. He doesn’t know or care that the feds can’t be sent there to fight crime. And he probably doesn’t really want the National Guard sent to Chicago anyway. He just vaguely thinks that those thugs on the South Side need to be on the business end of some muscular action, and he wants to know that someone out there in Washington DC feels the same way he does. So that’s what Trump gives him.

I’m not here to suggest that we should devote either more or less attention to Trump’s tweets. I guess I don’t really care. I just want everyone to understand who and what they’re for. It all makes a lot more sense once you know what he’s up to.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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