This morning, President Trump sent out a tweet that many of us should be used to by now. After Twitter stupidly applied a fact check to one of his tweets about absentee voting. The President decided to threaten the social media company,
Republicans feel that Social Media Platforms totally silence conservatives voices. We will strongly regulate, or close them down, before we can ever allow this to happen. We saw what they attempted to do, and failed, in 2016. We can’t let a more sophisticated version of that….— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 27, 2020
Now, I must admit. In my previous years of talking or writing about Trump, I would have been outraged by this tweet. I would have written about how antithetical it was to conservatism and was just another example of Trump pulling Republicans away from the ideas of limited government. That all would be true if Trump’s tweet were true, but it’s not.
If there is one thing I have learned from my pro-Trump friends is that tweets like this are just that, tweets. Trump is not going to act on it. It’s virtue signaling. It’s not any different than Trump threatening to change libel laws to sue newspapers or Trump threatening the FCC license of TV stations he doesn’t like. His base eats it up and it drives his mainstream critics crazy. It’s a twofer for Trump, but there is no deeper meaning or action behind it. His thought and action on this subject begins and ends with this tweet.
As Ronald Reagan famously said, “Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction.” This is especially true of the internet. We avoided the first step in censorship with the repeal of net neutrality, but you better believe this fight is far from over. However, as long as Donald Trump is leading the charge I’m not too concerned. I’m sure he’ll take down Twitter right after he gets that check from Mexico for the wall
INTERESTING READ: Patterico has an interesting analysis over at his blog in which he argues Trump has already violated the first amendment by threatening Twitter with retaliation. Def worth a read