Social Media’s Chaotic Effect on Democracy

President Trump has forever changed the model of democratic leadership through his use of Twitter. He engages directly with the public, bypassing experts and the media. It’s a coordinated, “outsider” communications strategy which cleverly seeks to dumb down complex issues like the ongoing trade wars, the migrant crisis and global warming. Opportunistic use of social media can be a double-edged sword however, as Italy’s Matteo Salvini is learning the hard way. As Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the anti-migrant League party, Mr. Salvini recently made agitating calls for snap elections which in part forced the resignation of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. Some analysts suggest that the current chaos in Italy’s government may galvanize Salvini’s supporters, and he will ultimately benefit. Others say he misjudged his enemies’ willingness to join forces against him, and he’ll sit on the sidelines until official elections three years from now. He still has over one million Twitter followers. Time for a tweet or two?

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