Politico’s Susan Glasser posted a conversation with Senator Chris Murphy on Monday, describing the Connecticut Democrat’s success “Twitter-trolling a president whose own genius for 140-character media manipulation has entirely transformed the idea of the presidential bully pulpit.” From shaming his congressional colleagues over banning refugees to ratcheting up his rhetoric against Trumpcare, Murphy is “embracing Trump’s techniques to resist Trump’s presidency.”
Like it or not, appropriating Trump’s confrontational Twitter style is the future of the Democratic Party, says Murphy, and one that too many Democrats are still ignoring as they continue to fail to come to grips with Trump’s election victory. ... Murphy’s tweets “are just me typing out legitimate, real, emotional frustration with what this president is doing and saying,” he tells me, “and I think as a general matter, more Democrats should do.”
There’s no question Twitter is working well for Murphy, but do Democrats really need to tweet more like Trump, as the headline of Glasser’s piece asks? Not exactly.
There are obvious ways Democrats shouldn’t emulate the president. Trump routinely lies on Twitter. He’s also used the platform to bully individual Americans, including relatively powerless people like the local Indiana union president who dared to call Trump out for lying in December, and to attack the judiciary. Like so many people on Twitter, he’s petty, vindictive, and impulsive.
More importantly, though, Trump wasn’t elected because of his tweets. They may have generated free media for him, but so did his massive rallies, which the cable news networks frequently broadcast in their entirety. Bernie Sanders’s Twitter account didn’t propel him against Hillary Clinton last year. Murphy may be effective on Twitter, but his 14-hour filibuster to force a vote on gun control was more authentic than he ever is in 140 characters.