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January 30, 2023

In Brief: Facebook’s Trump Gift to Democrats

Joe Biden couldn’t be happier as the social media platform lifts its ban on the former president.

Last Thursday, we explained the rationale for Facebook announcing its decision to unlock Donald Trump’s account: revenue and helping Democrats. Meanwhile, many media outlets, Right and Left, are promoting the fallacy that Democrats have been fighting social media companies who want to reinstate his access.

Few consider that Demos begging social media not to let Trump back on is a “Br'er Rabbit” strategy meant to ensnare Republicans. Democrats know that the more exposure Trump’s inflammatory posts get, the better it is for their candidate, who very well may be hair-gel boy, Gavin Newsom, not Joe Biden. Democrats were baiting Trump to run last summer, certain they can win on the hate and division they will generate against a Trump candidacy just as they did in 2020 (with a little help from massive bulk-mail ballot fraud). They’re endeavoring to invigorate their Trump-hating constituents, who unfortunately outnumber Trump’s devotees.

The Wall Street Journal editorial board agrees with our assessment:

Meta Platforms Inc. is letting Donald Trump back on its social-media sites, and the question is who is happier: Mr. Trump, or Democrats? Our guess is the latter, as they are eager to see the former President back at the center of Republican politics.

Nick Clegg, Meta’s president for global affairs, wrote Wednesday that Mr. Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts will soon be reinstated. “The public should be able to hear what their politicians are saying — the good, the bad and the ugly — so that they can make informed choices at the ballot box,” Mr. Clegg wrote in a blog post.

He’s right, which was our argument against banning Mr. Trump two years ago after the events of Jan. 6, 2021. Facebook joined Twitter and others in Silicon Valley in banishing Mr. Trump amid the political fury over his behavior that disgraceful day. The bans reduced the reach of Mr. Trump’s speech, but they hardly kept him out of public life as his renewed campaign for President shows.

The editors point to Facebook site traffic and revenue as we did, as well as noting Trump’s need to raise money from small donors. They also observed, as we did, Trump’s spectacular success on social media in 2016. Nevertheless, the political landscape has changed.

Mr. Trump’s most loyal fans may welcome him back, but not as much as Democrats and the White House will. Since his victory in 2016, Democrats have prospered running against the man from Mar-a-Lago. They regained the House in 2018, the White House in 2020 and the Senate in 2021 by mobilizing their voters against Mr. Trump. They worked hard to keep him front and center in 2022 even though he wasn’t on the ballot. It paid off in smaller than expected GOP gains in the House.

The fondest Democratic hope is that Mr. Trump will be the GOP’s nominee again in 2024. They hardly issue a press release or appear on TV without using the words “MAGA Republicans.” They hope the media will amplify Mr. Trump’s comments, which these days are less amusing than angry.

Whether their strategy works is another matter, of course, but that doesn’t mean they won’t try.

Journal subscribers can read the whole thing here.

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