Unlike the majority of my cohorts, I’m coming in late to the political discussion. It may sound sad, but the next debate will be the first that I watch. It’s not that I’m apolitical. I’ve always been one to start investigating candidates after the storylines are a little more clear. I only need to look at all of the research my sister did on Carly Fiorina to support my contention that it’s a waste of time until shortly after the primary season starts.
Now that I’m paying attention, my natural tendency has been to support Donald Trump. He’s the frontrunner. I’m not one who believes that President has to be a perfect statesman in order to be effective and after seven years of Obama, I know for certain that we need a drastic change.
Before I get into the results of my research, I should note that I’m a big fan of user reviews over expert reviews. When looking at movies, I push the critics’ reviews aside and focus on what average watchers are posting about it. I don’t read restaurant critics. I read Yelp. In other words, I want to know what people like me think about things rather than the “experts”.
This is the first “social media election” for me. I know that it’s been around for a while but this is the first time that I’m using social media to help me make my decisions. As such, I turned to Facebook and Twitter to see what people were saying. I looked at comments on articles and opinions posted, replies to pundit Tweets, and even got in the middle of a few social debates just to see the reactions. Supporters for nearly all of the candidates were pretty much the same except for one.
Donald Trump’s supporters are fools on social media. I hate to generalize, but finding substantive points or literate arguments in social media comments is nearly impossible for Trump. For Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Ben Carson, the arguments were about 50/50 as far as making real arguments for their candidate. For Trump, it’s literally about 5/95 – around 1 out of 20 Trump supporters can actually defend their support with a comment that doesn’t include a poorly designed meme or a simple “GoTrump016!!!1!!1!!!!”
My first thought was that I’d uncovered something that could turn into an investigative report. I saw my name on a byline at some major publication with a story detailing how Donald Trump was using “sockpuppets” or “meatpuppets” to juice up his social media numbers. I started diving into accounts to find inconsistencies that pointed to this such as clearly faked accounts, new accounts, paid offshore accounts, etc. To my chagrin, I was wrong. They weren’t sockpuppets or meatpuppets.
They were real. There’s just an unfathomable number of them that are morons.
It’s not just the initial comments. It’s the engagements I had directly with them. For example, I tried to discuss affirmative action. Out of 15 or 16 discussions, all but one proclaimed negative feelings towards the policy. When I mentioned that Trump has always supported it, I was called every variation of a liar and/or liberal. When I would send articles from credible sources detailing it, the rants about my lies and liberal tendencies turned vicious with more than one use of ALL CAPS and expletives in the replies.
At this point, I’m probably voting for Trump. However, the most likely scenario for me to change my mind revolves around association with a group of supporters that like ridiculous memes, three word expressions of sentiment, or proclamations of support based upon false concepts. Trump won’t drive me away, but his supporters just might.