Donald Trump launched his new website, signaling that he is nowhere near done with being a force in American politics. As you might expect, social media exploded in a mixture of adulation and rage right away, proving that the former president continues to occupy a lot of headspace in the minds of both his supporters and critics.
A Twitter user named Lucinda53092843 wrote, “Mr. President does what he says, and here is proof! We the people will support this movement.”
While Twitter user KerMillie14 invited the anarchist hacker group known under the collective name of “Anonymous” to attack and take down the website tweeting,
“Alright Anonymous, you’re up. Do your thing.”
Trump Is Moving to Be a King-Maker in the Republican Party
The website operates under “Make America Great Again PAC.” PACs or Political Action Committees are organizations created to raise money to support or defeat candidates. Their donor lists and filings are public and they are limited in accepting donations and making contributions to the amount of $5,000. They may also donate a maximum of $15,000 to the national committee of a political party. Given that campaign expenditure for a national election now run in the millions this may not seem like a large amount, but there are 545 members between the House and Senate and thousands of representatives and senators in state legislatures around the country. Politically, being given a donation by Donald Trump’s PAC would be a seal of approval of sorts that candidates can use to raise more money from donors. It would also bind them, at least nominally, to the things that the PAC stands for.
The website’s “About” section expresses entirely doctrinal positions of the Republican Party in general: opposition to abortion, call for a strong national defense, protection of the 1st and 2nd amendments, and support for an originalist reading of the Consitution. (This is in contrast to many in the Left who support living constitutionalism, a reading of the Constitution based on contemporary circumstances.)
With this move, the former president builds upon other PACs, like the Trump Make America Great Again Committee, Trump Victory, and Save America, that his organization had built prior to his election. In the 2020 election cycle, these committees outraised the Republican Party by a significant amount. This is telling of how Trump has eclipsed the establishment wing of the Republican Party. Going forward, the Republican Party needs Donald Trump as much as he needs it. The ideological alignment of Trump’s declared positions and those of the Republican Party strongly suggests that they are prepared to work closely together in future elections. This is a significant change from Trump’s four years in office when his populist agenda tended to clash with the establishment agenda of the GOP.
At some point, I expect Donald Trump to create or rebrand an existing committee as a Super PAC which, unlike ordinary PACs, does not donate to candidates but instead engages exclusively in issue advocacy. Super PACs are allowed by law to raise unlimited funds and make unlimited expenditures related to issue advocacy. This is the one-two punch of political campaigns. A candidate may receive just $5,000 from the Trump PAC and the Super PAC can then push on the issues that the candidate supports.
This new website launch follows on the heels of the announcement last week that Trump will be launching his own social media platform, which SOFREP had speculated on back in January.
According to an Insider article of March 22 by Conner Perritt, Trump aide Jason Miller said that a Trump-owned social media platform is coming in the next few months, “It’s going to completely redefine the game, and everybody is going to be waiting and watching to see what exactly President Trump does, but it will be his own platform.”
Donald Trump Should Expect That Big Tech and Leftist Hackers Will Try to Take Him Down
As a private citizen, Trump will no doubt face some significant hurdles in building his social media political machine. I have little doubt that his website and those of his PACs will be the subject of attacks to take them offline or to access them in order to steal and release donor information. Such attacks might even be directed by state actors like China, Russia, Iran, or North Korea. If the events of 2020 have taught us anything, it should be that the Internet is the greatest platform for the sharing of ideas around the world that has ever been devised. It is also a battlefield for those who want to dominate and control the sharing of ideas and information. Some of these entities are nation-states, like the U.S., Russia, and China. Some are major corporations like Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and Facebook.
Is There a David Versus Goliath Battle Ahead?
It isn’t enough for Donald Trump to simply launch a website or social media platform. Rather, they must be hosted on the web and have the bandwidth to reach their audience. When then-President Trump was banned from Twitter, a great attempt at “de-platforming” him began. Facebook also froze his account, until after the election, along with Instagram, Twitch, and Snapchat. Stripe and PayPal then joined the onslaught by cutting off the president’s campaign and his supporters from their services which were used to raise money and make payments. In order to prevent the president from using another platform Reddit, Discord, Shopify and TikTok also imposed restrictions. In protest, hundreds of thousands (perhaps millions) of followers abandoned these sights only to find that alternative social media platforms, like Parler, had also been de-platformed by Amazon Web Services, the largest hosting service in the world. First, Amazon Web Services terminated Parler’s hosting agreement, then the alternative platform was dumped from both Google and Apple’s app stores. It was stunning to watch these giant internet conglomerates seemingly act in concert so quickly and decisively against an elected president. And it all happened in a matter of hours.
Going forward, Trump is likely to face the same hosting and app distribution problems. Thus, rather than being able to push these ventures out via the large mainstream hosts and search engine companies, he will most likely have to circumvent them. If his following is large enough it may cause a major disruption to these companies as customers shift away from them.
In the coming years, there is likely to be a commercial cyberwar in the shadows of the internet as companies like Google, Apple, Twitter, and others try to throttle Trump’s political machine while trying to appear as if they are not.
It will be quite a battle between private citizen Trump, cast as David, against a Big Tech Goliath that has become its own force of political opposition distinct from the Democratic Party.
The Donald Trump website can be found here.