Ever since Donald Trump won the election, academics, commentators and pundits have been trying to determine which policy issues his presidential administration will address. Heather Evans, Kayla Brown, and Tiffany Wimberly write that what Trump has been tweeting about may provide some indication of his policy heading. Analyzing rump’s tweets for the past five months, they comment that revisions for Obamacare, and new immigration and terrorism-related policies may well be in the offing.
Ever since Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election three weeks ago, commentators have been trying to figure out what a Trump presidency would mean for policy issues in the US. As we have reported in earlier posts here, here, and here, Hillary Clinton spent more time on Twitter over the past few months talking about political issues and attacking him specifically, while he spent more time attacking everyone else (the media, Democrats, the government). Now that the dust has settled, what issues will Donald Trump address as president?
We have collected all of the tweets he has sent since June 1st, so we thought it would be the perfect time to go back through all of these tweets and pick out those about policy specifically. He has sent only 80 tweets about policy over the past four months, which is approximately 5 percent of all of his tweets. What policies did he talk about?
To no one’s surprise – he has talked more about Obamacare and Immigration than anything else. He has said multiple times on Twitter that he plans to “repeal and replace #Obamacare.” In terms of immigration, he has talked about building a wall and “only admit[ting] into this country those who share our VALUES and RESPECT our people” (October 20).
Figure 1 – Number of Tweets from Donald Trump Discussing Policy June-October
Terrorism is his third most talked about issue, but he does not tell us what his plan is via Twitter other than wanting us “to get tough.”
He has discussed the economy on Twitter, but only insofar as telling us that he will create jobs (without telling us how). One tweet, sent on September 15, links us to a full transcript of an economic speech he gave to the Economic Club of New York, and that speech does include some policy proposals.
Donald Trump has also discussed crime on Twitter, and many of these tweets are discussions of “inner-city crime” and calls for “LAW AND ORDER.” He has never mentioned Black Lives Matter.
We believe, therefore, citizens can expect him to highlight these areas of policy during his first year in office. As for the details of what exactly he will do in these areas, his tweets do not give us that information. If recent weeks are any indication, his stance on these issues is also subject to change. He has, for instance, already suggested that he would like to keep pieces of Obamacare. So, like the rest of this election season, while the data shows one thing, that might not be what exactly happens in the future.
Note: This article gives the views of the author, and not the position of USAPP – American Politics and Policy, nor the London School of Economics.
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Heather Evans – Sam Houston State University
Heather Evans is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at Sam Houston State University. Her primary research interests are political participation and behavior, public opinion, competitive elections, media and politics, the status of women in the political science discipline, and political psychology.
Kayla Brown – Sam Houston State University
Kayla Brown is a junior majoring in political science at Sam Houston State University.
Tiffany Wimberly – Sam Houston State University
Tiffany Wimberly is a junior majoring in political science at Sam Houston State University.