Logo
IJSP is an International, Peer Reviewed/ Refereed, Indexed, Open Access, Online Journal of Arts and Social Sciences.

Understanding the Formation and Expression of Public Opinion : How Donald Trump led to the Stopthe steal Movement

Aditya Nath

Affiliations:

  1. B.A. Programme Student  (in Political Science and History),St. Stephen’s College, Delhi University, New Delhi INDIA

 Download




The emergence of social media networks has had a significant impact on politics and ground level decision making. Certain platforms have come to be strongly viewed as information outlets by users and have therefore regularly, featured political content and news. A lot has been written on the use of social media by political representatives in moulding public opinion and setting or even validating certain pre-existing agendas in the society in a way that is distinct from traditional media but those works have rarely examined the origin and after-effects of the same. The paper tries to ascertain if political representatives maintain their online presence solely through their own efforts or by acting in concert with their core political demographic. Indeed, the growth of political discourse and the encouragement provided to them by political entities have to be studied to arrive at a deeper understanding of political mobilisation in democratic societies today. This paper takes a deeper look at the recent January 6 Insurrection in America or the growth of the #StopTheSteal movement as enabled by Donald Trump by exclusively analysing his Twitter usage to answer exactly how leaders frame public opinion and encourage its manifestation.  This paper uses both primary and secondary sources to sufficiently gauge the role that social media networks play in the formation of public opinion. It finds that leaders like Trump who try to manufacture charisma to mould public opinion employ a wide variety of techniques - not on the entire population - but on their key voter base/demographic. In certain senses, their online presence seems to indicate that they attempt not to convince the entire population but only to validate the already held beliefs of their core demographic. Thus, it has important implications with regards to democratic discourse and the ability to dissent on online platforms.

Keywords:
Public Opinion, Social Media, Politics, Decision-making, Donald Trump, 2020 Presidential Elections, #StopTheSteal, American Politics