Donald Trump’s presidential election victory has been described as stunning, shocking and having elicited a “primal scream” from the media. The president-elect resonated enough with more than 59 million Americans that they pulled the lever for him in the voting booth and propelled him to a win.
Trump connected with his supporters both in person and on social media, particularly via Twitter. He was back tweeting mere hours after delivering his victory speech.
Such a beautiful and important evening! The forgotten man and woman will never be forgotten again. We will all come together as never before— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 9, 2016
Trump’s affinity for Twitter is well-documented. One political operative characterized the candidate’s presence on the social networking site as “a continuous Trump rally that happens on Twitter at all hours.” His perceived dexterity led some to declare him the best on social media and winner of the social media war.
But how much influence did Twitter have during the 2016 presidential election? As a law professor who researches the internet’s impact on the tangible world, I believe the answer to this question could, in some ways, transform the way political candidates manage their campaigns for years to come.