Every two weeks, the GCDP publishes an update on activities in the Upstate, Columbia and Washington that are of interest to Greenville Democrats. Each briefing leads off with an opening salvo that sets the tone. This is from the July 19 edition. Read the full Briefing | subscribe and never miss an issue.
By Mike Roosevelt
We all should be grateful that the former guy (aka #TFG, aka Donald Trump) is banned from Twitter. Now when he wants to spew disinformation about voter fraud, whine about how unfair everyone is to him, praise foreign dictators for being tough on their opponents, condemn Americans for engaging in constitutionally protected activities like free speech, encourage his followers to use violence, and inadvertently admit his guilt in numerous legal proceedings, he’s limited to a barely read blog and a captive audience at the Mar-a-Lago buffet line.
For better or worse, Twitter and other social media platforms have become the primary vehicles for our elected leaders to communicate their views to the rest of us, all but replacing old-school interviews, press conferences, published speeches, and even the pithy sound bite on the evening news. This can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on the intentions of the individual doing the tweeting, and that’s the subject of this edition of The Briefing’s opening essay.
When we took a look at the accounts of several senior officials from both parties over the last week, it was a study in contrasts. While Democrats behaved like responsible adults advocating for real policies that would help people, the GOP used the Twitterverse to air grievances on topics designed to work the MAGA gang into a frothy frenzy of victimhood.
So who tweeted what this week? Beginning with three high-profile Democrats:
- President Joe Biden touted the benefits of the Child Tax Credit for working families; urged young Americans to get vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus; publicized a meeting with governors and mayors of both parties to discuss the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework; condemned state laws restricting the vote and urged passage of the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act; chaired a White House meeting to discuss a comprehensive strategy to reduce gun crimes; and endorsed increased competition to achieve lower-cost high-speed internet.
- Vice President Kamala Harris echoed the themes highlighted in the President’s account; had an in-depth discussion with German Chancellor Merkel; met with Texas lawmakers about voting restrictions in their state; and spoke with healthcare workers and volunteers dispensing the COVID-19 vaccine in Detroit.
- Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that the US had delivered 500,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine to Haiti, Costa Rica, and Moldova; met with his French counterpart and spoke with officials from Canada, Mozambique, ASEAN, and many other countries and organizations; made a forceful statement in support of human rights in Cuba; and took time out to correspond with Grover from Sesame Street!
By comparison, Republicans lived up (or down?) to the quote coined by Chris Pirillo of Intel Corporation: “Twitter is a great place to tell the world what you’re thinking before you’ve had a chance to think about it.”
There’s just so much to choose from, we’ve limited ourselves to a few of South Carolina’s elected officials:
- Gov. Henry McMaster boasted that 20 states had joined South Carolina in its disingenuous “sanctity of life” lawsuit; cited misleading data about the state’s recidivism rate; and took cheap shots at the federal government’s COVID-19 vaccination program and Dr. Fauci.
- Rep. Ralph Norman (SC-5) posted a chart loaded with misleading data that pinned blame for the Trump era’s inflationary policies on the Biden Administration; accused Biden’s Secretary of Energy of nepotism (which is rich, after the Trump administration’s Friends and Family Plan); whined about the baseball all-star game being moved from Atlanta; and signed a letter to the US Olympic Committee “expressing concern” about athletes who say and do things he doesn’t approve of.
- True to form, Rep. William Timmons (SC-4) and Rep. Jeff Duncan (SC-3) did the bare minimum, with Timmons blaming the Biden administration for high gas prices and Duncan retweeting a doctored photo that was the equivalent of a junior high school prank.
- The clear “winner,” though, was Sen. Lindsey Graham who, with his typical stunning lack of awareness, tweeted that he would “go to war” for Chick fil-A because some students and faculty at Notre Dame (which is in Indiana) petitioned the school to ban the fast-food chain from campus. Never mind that there’s an ongoing pandemic, or the low rate of COVID-19 vaccinations in South Carolina, or that his party attempted to nullify a presidential election and is quashing voting rights like there’s no tomorrow. Lindsey’s top priority this week was fighting for… a chicken sandwich.
So much for This Week in Twitter. Make the comparison between focused Democrats who are trying to trying to govern and accomplish things, and ranting, raving Republicans who seem hell-bent on doing nothing. Then follow the advice of Maya Angelou: “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”