Commentary

Can a single Tweet influence a president?

What are the chances that an ordinary citizen’s idea could have influenced President Trump’s decision on DACA?

It was Friday, Sept. 1, and the White House was expected to announce it’s decision on DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) that afternoon. Many states were ready to sue over Obama’s over-reaching “temporary” Executive Order as it was set to expire. My husband Richard and I were discussing this hot topic over breakfast. He said @POTUS shouldn’t get the blame for this mess. Then, ever the brilliant, out-of-the-box thinker, he added, “Why don’t you Tweet the president that he should extend DACA for six to 12 months. It should be up to Congress to fix it.” So, that’s what I did that morning at 10:20 PT.

Original Tweet

Now, as you can see, I only got one Retweet and one Like (both from Richard).

Richard also Tweeted this message, including this reply to @FoxNews, guest @Geraldo Rivera, and @POTUS.

RB Retweet

Later that day, the White House announced that President Trump would be considering the status of DACA over the Labor Day weekend, with a decision to come on Tuesday. We got excited about the chance that President Trump might see or hear about Richard’s idea.

That evening, I repeated the message in this Retweet to @LouDobbs and  @realDonaldTrump, and @Politico. (Lou’s Tweet was a comment on a Politico story, “Ryan to Trump: Don’t end protection for Dreamers.”) As a first-generation American of a family who immigrated LEGALLY from Chihuahua, Mexico in the 1940’s, I couldn’t help but throw in, “They [Congress] don’t have the cajones.”

Lou Dobbs reply

On Sunday, Sept. 3, we heard on @FoxNews that @Politico was reporting that Trump had decided to end DACA, with a 6-month delay. We looked at each other with our mouths open like, WTF? Were they floating our idea like a balloon? No way.

Politico

News coverage continued over the weekend, with lots of speculation about the expected final decision. Jason Chaffetz (@jasoninthehouse) appeared on @FoxNewsSunday to discuss the topic. Host Chris Wallace commented that this was a new idea that he hadn’t heard before.

Screenshot 2017-09-07 15.11.23

Byron York

Then came the announcement on Tuesday, Sept. 5. Attorney General Jeff Sessions did a great job of laying out the facts. Later that evening, @realDonaldTrump Tweeted this:

Trump Tweet

President Trump was praised by many, including @newtgingrich and even @LindseyGrahamSC.

Newt

Graham

Now, I know it’s hard to believe that Richard’s idea could have had an influence on President Trump’s decision. We did directly Tweet people like @KellyannePolls who have influence over @POTUS, and @JamesWoods who has lots of followers in the Twitterverse. But we also directly Tweeted the idea to President Trump (@realDonaldTrump @POTUS) himself. This does seem like a stretch, but isn’t it a kick to think that maybe, just maybe . . . If it was true, it would be so cool, right?

Social Media is an interesting phenomenon. In 1992, the Bush reelection campaign ran TV ads with an 800 number to call with comments. I tried several times but couldn’t get through. (As we know, it had no impact on the election.) People used to write long letters to presidents with ideas or complaints, hoping for a response. Richard’s mother sent a letter to President Bill Clinton about Somalia in 1993. She actually got a nice signed letter back.

Now, it’s 2017 and you can send an idea directly to the leader of the free world through something called a “Tweet.” Just keep it under 140 characters.

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