Donald Trump is the Gamergater of U.S. politics. He and his social media team uses Twitter in abusive ways that few might have predicted a serious contender for President of the United States would employ. But no blow is too low for Trump, and no smear too sexist, racist, or hate-filled.
Trump regularly incites his 6 million or so Twitter followers to pile on anyone Trump disses, as the NYT reports today. For days, the mob "replied to his posts with demeaning, often sexually charged insults aimed at" one female foe, "including several with altered, vulgar photographs of her face."
From the New York Times:
With his enormous online platform, Mr. Trump has badgered and humiliated those who have dared cross him during the presidential race. He has latched on to their vulnerabilities, mocking their physical characteristics, personality quirks and, sometimes, their professional setbacks. He has made statements, like his claims about Ms. Jacobus, that have later been exposed as false or deceptive — only after they have ricocheted across the Internet.
Many recipients of Mr. Trump's hectoring are fellow politicians, with paid staff members to help them defend themselves. But for others, the experience of being targeted by Mr. Trump is nightmarish and a form of public degradation that they believe is intended to scare off adversaries by making an example of them.
And as more mainstream forces in the Republican Party try to unite to stop his march to the nomination, they are finding that the fear of taking on Mr. Trump is discouraging his would-be opponents from signing on to the fight.