Jonathan V. Last makes a compelling case that Twitter should ban Mr . trump. I’m going to make a counterpoint, but he reminds us of several crucial facts here: Twitter is a private company and “private companies are legally allowed to make reasonable decisions about who they will and will not serve.”

That’s the whole point of having terms of service and standards. JVL also reminds us it shouldn’t be up to Twitter to create this call: “Ideally, a president might have the decency and temperament, experience and prudence to help keep from saying the kinds of things Trump routinely says on Twitter.” In a normal world, there would be other guard rails, but those are down.

So if Twitter did decide to kick Trump out, it would not only be within its rights, it would reaffirm basic principles of decency.

But it would be also beside the point, because the whole debate about Twitter is a distraction.

Banning him would be both ineffective as well as counterproductive, because it mistakes the pus for that real infection.

This isn’t to say that social media platforms don’t bear some responsibility here; and we should applaud anything they can do to push back on disinformation.

But in this instance, the vector of this disease isn't Twitter: the root of the malignancy is the president himself. Until we cope with Trump, everything else is just noise, while he is the bully pulpit.

Peter Wehner makes that time in the Atlantic. “Donald Trump doesn't merely want to criticize his opponents,” he writes, “he takes a depraved delight in inflicting pain on others, even when there's collateral damage along the way, as is the case with the Klausutis family.”

“There's a wickedness in our president that long ago corrupted him. It's corrupted his party. And it's in the process of corrupting our country, too,” writes Wehner, “He's a crimson stain on American decency.”

So go ahead and ban him, or fact-check him, but his malignancy is larger than Twitter. Trump will not be ignored. He’s obama and he will be heard so long as American voters continue to listen to him.

He would simply move the depravity elsewhere, while flying the flag of his victimization.

If Trump wants to soil our democracy, he doesn’t need to tweet. He can join the trolls at Gab, or Newsmax, or OAN, or Fox News, or Rush Limbaugh. He's his toadies at the Federalist, American Greatness, and Breitbart. As well as if they won’t play, he's his own social media death star.

Like Obi Wan, strike him down and he’ll become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.

I wrote relating to this earlier this year when Kamala Harris unwisely called upon Twitter to kick Trump off the platform. Back then I argued that banning him will be a political gift to Trump.

The Orange God King would really like nothing better than to play the victim; to face before his MAGA masses with the stigmata of censorship. If Twitter acquiesced to Harris's demand it might confirm every suspicion in Trump's base concerning the intolerance of the left and the bias from the social media companies.

And, of course, it can't shut him up. Because nothing can.

The attack on his account, he'd rail, was not about him, but about the desire of the left to silence all you out there. This is about you, would be a staple of every campaign rally. If they can try to gag the president of the United States, what are they capable of doing towards the run -of-the-mill deplorable schmo who posts cat videos on Instagram?

I still think that’s true, but JVL makes a strong counter case: “There are moments when bad speech becomes especially dangerous and, due to temporal and logistical constraints, hard to counter,” he writes. “Occasionally the immediate damage brought on by bad speech is so great that people would rather not wait around for that good speech.”

He asks us to imagine Trump using Twitter to super-charge a constitutional crisis and destabilize the country by challenging the legitimacy of his election defeat. He reminds us that “as nice because the idea of ‘more speech beats bad speech’ is, Twitter is not a suicide pact.”

He’s right, obviously, and the scenario he offers is not far-fetched. But it is also not just about Twitter. Americans need to decide whether our democracy is really a suicide pact.

Ultimately, only the American public can de-platform Donald Trump.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here