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Twitter: People want Trump out. Now.

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Regardless of what you think about Twitter, it’s a good barometer of what the American people are thinking and talking about.

This morning (Saturday), I entered “trump” into the “search Twitter” bar and these were the top three results:

#TrumpResigns

#TrumpResign

#TrumpShutdown

All three are rather sudden. The latter (#TrumpShutdown) was inevitable once Friday’s developments led to the government shutdown. That it’s Trump’s fault entirely is without dispute. “I am proud to shut down the government for border security, Chuck,” he told the Senate Minority Leader. “I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down. I’m not going to blame you for it.”

But the former two hashtags are surprising. Where did they come from? And why two (“resigns” and “resign”)? It seems that there’s an organization, “Democratic Coalition,” co-founded by a guy named Scott Dworkin.

Dworkin is a Democratic activist; the group’s website describes him as “a proud member of #TheResistance [who was] a Deputy Director for both the 2009 Presidential Inaugural Committee and 2012 Democratic National Convention.” He also was “a Senior Advisor on both the Draft Biden and Run [Elizabeth] Warren Run” campaigns.”

So, okay, a partisan Democratic organizer—fine with me!

Apparently, a few days ago, Dworkin launched the #TrumpResign hashtag. It was quickly picked up by others opposed to Trump, including George Takei, the former Star Trek actor, who has emerged as a leading and frequent voice on Twitter. “The Resistance is tweeting #TrumpResign tonight and has gotten it trending,” Takei tweeted on Friday. Others soon began using #TrumpResign: Malcolm Nance (the MSNBC security analyst), Huffington Post, DL Hughley (the comedian) and Ted Lieu (the Democratic Congressman). By Saturday morning, #TrumpResign had 500,000 tweets (according to Democratic Coalition) and was the fourth-leading trend in San Francisco and third-trending in the United States.

That’s when “TrumpResigns” showed up. Scott Dworkin explains: Here’s why the hashtag changed from just #TrumpResign: Trolls promoted #ResignTrump & #TrumpResigns overnight to try & water down the main hashtag, confuse people & make TrumpResign trend less. But it completely backfired. All three are trending now. That wasn’t their plan.”

Is there a name for this type of maneuver, where the opposition creates a competing hashtag with a similar name to distract from the main hashtag? I’m sure there is. #TrumpResigns and #ResignTrump both have less activity than #TrumpResign, but maybe that’s because they’re newer. Nonetheless, all three ought  to be seen as what they are: slightly different hues of exactly the same movement.

Incidentally, there’s another twitter account, called TrumpResign, i.e. without the hashtag, so it’s different from #TrumpResign. This one, TrumpResign, is a little more problematic, from the point of view of what it stands for and who’s behind it. It doesn’t have anywhere near the activity of #TrumpResign, although what is there is fiercely anti-Trump. Was it created by what Dworkin called “trolls” to “confuse people”? Not clear, but it is obvious that, the more similarly-sounding hashtags you have, the less traffic any one of them will get.

Huffington Post wrote about the phenomenon on Saturday morning, reporting that other celebrities using the #TrumpResign or #ResignTrump hashtags include Patton Oswalt, Kathy Griffin, Democratic Congresswoman Gwen Moore and Mark Hamill. One tweet (from the Democratic activist Peter Daou) expanded the #Resign hashtag to other Republicans: “It’s not just #TrumpResign,” he wrote, “it’s #PenceResign#MillerResign#McConnellResign#BoltonResign#PompeoResign

It’s clear that something’s brewing out there. Twitter can be a welter of confusing and contradictory @s and hashtags, but from a bird’s-eye view, one gets a proper perspective: something happened this week that’s very scary for the American people and very bad for Donald J. Trump. It’s not any one thing: Mattis quitting, the stock markets tanking, Whitaker, Barr, the Trump Shutdown, Syria, Afghanistan. No, it’s the cumulative effect of everything Trump’s said and done the last two years. Nobody trusts him anymore, except the diehard white nationalists at Breitbart or, as I call it, BiteFart. It may be true that there’s not yet a solid majority that wants him impeached. But the finger-to-the-wind test tells me that anti-Trump sentiment is quickly mounting.

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