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Former Washington Journalist
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press
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For these folks, Donald Trump’s bungling of the federal response to the coronavirus pandemic apparently won’t get them to commit to vote in the upcoming presidential election.
His order to have federal immigration agents forcibly separate migrant children from their parents and then cage them indefinitely? Not worth getting up off the couch for.
Even Trump’s belligerence towards the growing and powerful new civil rights movement known as Black Lives Matter isn’t enough to motivate them to exercise their franchise.
But Trump’s announcement that he plans to ban the TikTok social media provider in the United States? Okay, apparently now he’s threatening that most cherished of rights: the constant and immediate access to social media.
“As far as TikTok is concerned we’re banning them from the United States,” Trump said aboard Air Force One.
Trump wants to ban the provider because it’s owned by a Chinese company, and the Chinese government has the power to have that company turn over all data about TikTok users.
But with 100 million users in the United States, TikTok is said to have played an important role during these last months of lockdown and quarantine during the pandemic, offering entertainment, connection and even education.
So Trump’s threatened action against the provider has its devoted users–particularly among the youngest of voters–ready to vote against Donald Trump.
“If it hasn’t already, I think this will definitely be a game-changer in young voters going out and voting for sure,” Kaylyn Elkins, 18, of Washington state, told NBC News.
Indeed, NBC News published a story about TikTok users voting and the news outlet said that many of the TikTokers who spoke to NBC News would be voting for the first time this November and said Trump’s announcement motivated them to cast a ballot.
Some TikTok users reportedly have said that they are so willing to vote over the provider’s future because they say that the justification of China’s potential for data collection is nothing more than a pretext.
They maintain that Trump’s real reason for taking down Tiktok is revenge–plain and simple.
They said that the move feels like payback for the onslaught of TikTok users who reserved tickets to the president’s Tulsa, Oklahoma, rally in June, with no intention of attending. That low-attendance rally proved to be particularly embarrassing for Trump.
TikTok’s US general manager, released a statement in response to Trump’s threats, talking about the provider’s commitment to data privacy–as well as the investment and hiring it’s made in the United States.
Whatever the substance of the issues, it certainly seems here that–with polls stacked against him and his campaign circling the drain–Trump has only succeeded in mobilizing yet one more big constituency against him, with less than 100 days to go to Election Day.
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