How Trump’s Tweets Shaped A Year In Politics

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Kiersten Essenpreis for BuzzFeed Information

Donald Trump is the primary president whose unfiltered ideas, despatched from his Twitter account, assail the nation every morning.

To assist perceive how @realDonaldTrump has pushed the agenda in Washington, DC, BuzzFeed Information crunched the numbers on greater than half one million political tweets, from the president and the official accounts of all members of Congress, over the 12 months since Trump’s inauguration.

Our evaluation confirms that Trump’s volleys on Twitter got here largely within the early morning. His tweets enraged Democrats, who responded vigorously, whereas Republicans usually tried to look the opposite method. And the 2 phrases he used collectively most regularly? “FAKE NEWS.”

In a tumultuous 12 months, @realDonaldTrump has usually appeared to suck the air out of political debate. However whereas his account has extra followers than any member of Congress, Sen. Bernie Sanders had essentially the most favorited and retweeted tweets of the 12 months by present political leaders, whereas greater than two dozen members of Congress, largely Democrats, tweeted extra usually than Trump.

Trump tweeted early, and he loves @foxandfriends.


Peter Aldhous/BuzzFeed Information

Relative quantity of all tweets from @realDonaldTrump, congressional Democrats, and congressional Republicans, by time of day (US Japanese). For our evaluation, impartial Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Angus King of Maine had been grouped with the Democrats that they caucus with.

Trump normally unleashed his ideas on Twitter earlier than most members of Congress — or their staffers — had even logged into their accounts for the day. His every day peak got here whereas Fox & Buddies was on the air, and sometimes echoed its content material. Greater than 9% of all Trump’s retweets and mentions had been of @foxandfriends — greater than every other account. The overwhelming majority got here throughout his favourite present’s 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. time slot.

Democrats engaged vigorously with @realDonaldTrump. Republicans … not a lot.


Peter Aldhous/BuzzFeed Information

Frequency with which congressional Democrats and Republicans interacted with @realDonaldTrump and @POTUS, in comparison with complete retweets and mentions of all Twitter accounts.

For each Democratic and Republican members of Congress, @realDonaldTrump and the (extra sober) official @POTUS account had been the 2 most regularly talked about Twitter handles. However whereas each events talked about @POTUS equally usually, Republicans had been a lot much less prone to identify verify @realDonaldTrump.

In addition to distancing themselves from the account’s common excesses, congressional Republicans may have been tuning out a voice that regularly undermined their agenda (and typically created authorized issues for the administration). Simply final week, as an example, with Congress making an attempt to forestall a authorities shutdown, Home Speaker Paul Ryan dismissed a Trump tweet that threw a wrench into his plan by suggesting a that an necessary sweetener for Democrats, funding for the Youngsters’s Well being Insurance coverage Program, must be pulled from the deal:

Trump was obsessive about faux information, Democrats with well being care, and Republicans all issues taxes.


Peter Aldhous/BuzzFeed Information

Caption: Relative frequency of frequent phrase pairs in unique tweets from @realDonaldTrump, Democrats, and Republicans, in comparison with all of the phrase pairs they every used. The pairs proven embody the highest three talked about by every; “well being care” made the highest three for each congressional Democrats and Republicans, however not for Trump.

This chart of frequent phrase pairs utilized in political tweets exhibits Trump’s obsession with “faux information” — his most well-liked label for reporting that criticizes him. His assaults on the media, most regularly aimed toward CNN or the New York Instances, appeared to play effectively along with his base. The Trump tweet that garnered essentially the most retweets — with round 360,000 as of Jan. 20 — cited “#FraudNewsCNN”:

The phrase pairs used most regularly by congressional Democrats and Republicans, in the meantime, mirrored their respective political agendas. For Democrats, 2017 was dominated by battles to defend Obamacare from stuttering Republican makes an attempt at repeal. “Well being care,” not surprisingly, was their most regularly tweeted phrase pair.

Republicans additionally tweeted loads about well being care, however that got here second to tweets about taxes. “Tax reform” and “tax code” had been the popular phrase pairs for Republicans on Capitol Hill, whereas @realDonaldTrump boasted about “tax cuts.”

The Large Tax Cuts, which the Faux Information Media is determined to jot down badly about in order to please their Democrat bo… https://t.co/9RZmBbjPQo

In responding to Trump’s Twitter juggernaut, Democrats confronted the of alternative whether or not to imitate his language. Some, like John Sarbanes, who represents Maryland’s third district, tried to show Trump’s signature phrases, like “drain the swamp,” in opposition to him.

100 Methods in 100 Days @realDonaldTrump did not #DrainTheSwamp #Trump100Days https://t.co/Q1VCdKLeQe

However others, together with Pramila Jayapal of Washington’s seventh district, refused to echo Trump’s phrases and tone.

[email protected] simply stripped contraception from numerous girls by permitting employers to disclaim us protection. Uncon… https://t.co/yit2U82MrF

Jayapal, a former immigration advocate who took her seat within the Home of Representatives for the primary time in 2017, was essentially the most prolific tweeter on Capitol Hill. Her account racked up greater than 7,800 posts, out-tweeting the tweeter-in-chief by three to at least one.

Jayapal advised BuzzFeed Information that she and her employees had prioritized constructing a following for her official Twitter account. (New members can’t swap their marketing campaign accounts to congressional enterprise.) However she didn’t know she was essentially the most lively member of Congress on the platform till knowledgeable by BuzzFeed Information.

“I used to be actually stunned by that,” Jayapal mentioned.

She made a acutely aware choice, she mentioned, to have interaction Trump on her personal phrases, not his. “Lots of people attempt to imitate him, however I do not like the best way he talks,” Jayapal mentioned. “I’m very specific about ensuring all of my tweets are in my voice.”

Democrats’ tweets had been stuffed with adverse feelings, particularly when responding to Trump.


Peter Aldhous/BuzzFeed Information

We matched phrases from unique tweets in opposition to a broadly used lexicon of phrases related to “adverse” and “optimistic” feelings. Percentages proven are for emotionally important phrases solely, for every situation.

Given @realDonaldTrump’s notoriously offended language, it’s no shock that our evaluation confirmed his tweets to comprise extra adverse phrases — like “assault” and “misplaced” — than these of his fellow Republicans in Congress. However Democrats had been simply as adverse as Trump total, and their adverse feelings surged when their tweets talked about @realDonaldTrump.

For each Democrats and Republicans, the 2 most adverse days had been Aug. 12 and Aug. 13, 2017, after the “Unite the Proper” rally in Charlottesville erupted into violence, and counterprotester Heather Heyer was killed when a white supremacist drove his automobile at velocity right into a crowd. Politicians from each events condemned the hatred and violence of the far proper.

White supremacists aren’t patriots, they’re traitors- Individuals should unite in opposition to hatred & bigotry #Charlottesville https://t.co/Zr1Jg9jBXu

In his preliminary tweets about Charlottesville, Trump continued in his typical type.

We ALL have to be united & condemn all that hate stands for. There is no such thing as a place for this type of violence in America. Lets come collectively as one!

Am in Bedminster for conferences & press convention on V.A. & all that we now have completed, and are doing, to make it better-but Charlottesville unhappy!

Nevertheless it was his press convention on Aug. 12, wherein he condemned violence “on many sides,” that drew the ire of political Twitter, particularly from distinguished Democrats.

[email protected] wants to talk out in opposition to the toxic resurgence of white supremacy. There will not be “many sides” right here, excellent and unsuitable.

That very same day, Trump’s predecessor struck a special tone on race and hate, in a publish that turned the second most retweeted of 2017.

“Nobody is born hating one other particular person due to the colour of his pores and skin or his background or his faith…”

Trump’s military of followers gave him huge attain, however typically he felt the Bern.


Peter Aldhous/BuzzFeed Information

Followers for Trump and main members of Congress, captured on Jan. 20 at three p.m. ET.

With greater than 46 million followers, Trump’s viewers on Twitter dwarfs that of anybody in Congress, and his complete retweet rely was greater than 4 occasions that of his nearest rival, Bernie Sanders. That’s a narrower hole than the distinction between their follower counts, and Sanders’ large hits on Twitter in 2017 proved a match for Trump.

Measured by each retweets and favorites, @SenSanders claimed three of the highest 5 tweets in our evaluation to @realDonaldTrump’s two, with this one profitable the crown, with greater than 450,000 retweets and 968,000 likes:

President Trump, you made an enormous mistake. By making an attempt to divide us up by race, faith, gender and nationality you ac… https://t.co/0Dye2513Ub

And right here’s one other statistic prone to make Trump’s blood boil: Whereas @realDonaldTrump remains to be shy of 50 million followers, @BarackObama is edging ever nearer to 100 million.

See right here for our full evaluation of the 12 months on political Twitter. ●


Peter Aldhous is a Science Reporter for BuzzFeed Information and relies in San Francisco. His safe PGP fingerprint is 225F B2AF 4B8E 6E3D B1EA 7F9A B96E BF7D 9CB2 9B16

Contact Peter Aldhous at [email protected]

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