Donald Trump is a man adrift — out of power, without his Twitter account, and watching as his influence over the Republican Party begins a slow and steady decline. So what’s a former president to do? This, apparently:

A top Trump adviser confirmed the former president is building his own social network after major tech companies suspended his accounts in the fallout of the Jan. 6 Capitol attacks.
“I do think that we’re going to see President Trump returning to social media in probably about two or three months here, with his own platform,” Trump senior adviser Jason Miller told Fox News on Sunday. “And this is something that I think will be the hottest ticket in social media, it’s going to completely redefine the game, and everybody is going to be waiting and watching to see what exactly President Trump does.”

It’s of course possible that Trumpbook, or Trmpr, or whatever it might be called, will turn out to be as much a figment of the imagination as the spectacular health-care plan Trump kept promising as president. But let’s assume for the moment that this actually comes to pass.

I for one look forward to watching it fail miserably.

Is that just petty schadenfreude? Sure. But after all he put us through, I think we deserve to periodically remind ourselves for the next few years that Trump is a loser and nobody knows it more than he does.

But if he actually thinks a personality-driven, ideologically limited social network can succeed, he understands a lot less about contemporary media than we thought.

For years, we heard that Trump might try to form his own media company, a cable network that would be everything Fox News is, but Trumpier. It never happened, probably because as soon as he started to consider what would be involved, he realized it was just too daunting a challenge.

It would certainly be simpler to start a social media platform, but it’s not something he has any experience in. For him to succeed in a new line of commerce he’d never been involved in before, he’d have to bring around him some smart, competent people who knew a lot about the technical and business aspects of this endeavor.

And his track record on hiring leaves something to be desired. His White House was without doubt the most incompetent in modern times: It leaked like a sieve, it could barely issue a news release that wasn’t full of typos, and he went through four chiefs of staff and seven communications directors.

So who’s going to create and run Trmpr? Jared Kushner? Good luck with that.

Next you have this problem: As much as Trump might revel in the adulation of his fans, what he has always craved most is the attention and acknowledgment of the broader public (and the elites, whom he derides while simultaneously seeking their acceptance).

That’s why Twitter worked so well for him: Because it’s the place where journalists congregate (along with a few hundred million other people), he could leverage it to achieve much wider attention than simply speaking to the like-minded people who followed him there.

But a platform solely populated by his supporters will probably suffer the same problem sites such as Parler had: With only conservatives in attendance, even those who went there enthusiastically at the beginning didn’t find it all that compelling. If you own the libs on your social media site but no libs are there to hear it, have the libs actually been owned?

I’d also question whether even Trump’s supporters feel like they desperately need to hear more from him. He pops up from time to time on Fox News, and now that they’ve detoxified from the daily Trumpian deluge, they might find that they don’t really need to get his thoughts on a minute-to-minute basis.

There are still lots of conservative media outlets Trump loyalists can get their news from, and if they want to talk to each other, Facebook is still the same sewer of right-wing misinformation they know and love.

But you can see why Trump would be batting about an idea like this one. His business is suffering, and he’s besieged by lawsuits and investigations. His brand is forever tarnished — if you were a developer in Panama or Malaysia, would you want to pay him millions of dollars for the rights to slap the Trump name on your hotel? He’s going to need every income stream he can get.

So maybe his ambitions are modest. Rather than starting a platform that will succeed so spectacularly it will drive Twitter out of business and restore Trump to gold-plated glory, he may just want to grab whatever he can get while he can. A bottom-feeding operation meant to squeeze as much money as possible from his most gullible supporters would be completely in character.

He can put it alongside Trump Steaks, Trump Vodka, the Tour de Trump, and all the other genius ideas that he milked for a few bucks before they crashed and burned. It’s no consolation for the real damage he did in lives, suffering and the debasement of our nation’s politics, but at least we’ll have another reason to laugh at him a little.

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