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Signs of staleness in Donald Trump’s campaign

The president’s twitter stats are down, while rally attendees have started leaving early.

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President Donald Trump joking around at a rally in Charlotte, North Carolina (Evan Vucci/AP)

President Donald Trump joking around at a rally in Charlotte, North Carolina (Evan Vucci/AP)

President Donald Trump joking around at a rally in Charlotte, North Carolina (Evan Vucci/AP)

US president Donald Trump’s speeches may be getting longer because his list of enemies keeps growing, a professor has said.

The campaign for Mr Trump’s re-election is continuing with rallies across a number of states where he tackles similar themes.

Mr Trump’s campaign speeches have also become longer, according to Factba.se, with 2020’s clocking in at an average of 80.7 minutes compared to 59 in 2016.

He's just got more grievances at this point and never lets go of anything

Brian Ott, a Texas Tech University professor of communications and co-author of The Twitter Presidency: Donald J. Trump and the Politics of White Rage, said: “An overwhelming percentage of his discourse is about attacking others, and he simply has more enemies now.

“He uses the campaign rallies to air grievances and he’s just got more grievances at this point and never lets go of anything.”

For even his staunchest supporters – many wait hours in line to attend a rally – the president’s lengthy remarks can be tough to stick with until the end.

Doing this takes far more talent than doing that. Doing that is very easy. This is not easyDonald Trump on his campaigning style

During his 67-minute speech at a North Carolina rally earlier this week, dozens of people who had arrived hours early to gain prime spots in the auditorium headed for the exits with some 20 minutes left.

Mr Trump has said that he could choose to be presidential in his speeches, but opts not to.

“It’s easy to be presidential but only have about three people in front of me,” Mr Trump said at a recent rally, before breaking into a monotone imitation of a droning politician.

“Doing this takes far more talent than doing that. Doing that is very easy. This is not easy.”

Empty seats are evident as Mr Trump addresses this rally last month in Las Vegas (Patrick Semansky/AP)

As he seeks reelection with little variance from the themes that brought him to power four years ago, a central challenge will be to keep those audiences satisfied and to make sure, like a great entertainer, that the act is not growing stale.

The president retains robust approval ratings among Republicans but even that loyalty will be tested as he asks voters for another four years, essentially offering them not new promises but more of the same.

Mr Trump’s campaign remains highly confident it will not only retain those who backed the president in 2016, but will also expand the electorate by turning out people who did not vote four years ago, in addition to peeling off some African American and Latino males.

But there are other metrics that do not look quite as hopeful.

Mr Trump’s Twitter following has grown to more than 73 million, up from 25 million at the start of his presidency, but engagement with the president has diminished.

Mr Trump’s tweets drew an average of 5.37 likes per 1,000 followers at the start of his presidency but were down to 1.29 in February, according to an analysis by Factba.se, a data analytics company that analyses elected officials.

By comparison, top Democratic presidential contenders Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders — both of whom have a fraction of Trump’s Twitter following — tallied 2.13 and 2.73 likes per 1,000 followers respectively last month.

The falling engagement numbers come as Mr Trump, who likes to use social media as a tool to reach Americans without the contextualising of the mainstream media, is relying on Twitter more than ever.

PA