Chapter 10: “Little Marco,” “Lyin’ Ted,” “Crooked Hillary,” and the “Biased” Media: How Trump Used Twitter to Attack and Organize, Ayellet Pelled, Josephine Lukito, Fred Boehm, JangHwan Yang, and Dhavan Shah
The present study analyzes a unique dataset of 9,978 Trump’s original tweets (the full corpus during his presidential campaign) and 313,047 retweets of his posts (a 1% sample during this same period). Multiple linguistic analysis methods are implemented in two stages. First, natural language processing using Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA) is conducted. This is followed by computerized text analysis of selected topics using the linguistic inquiry and Word Count (LIWC2015) system, to gauge the psychological meaning of word choice along multiple dimensions, and Diction 7.0, to assess the tonal qualities of word choice in terms of certainty, activity, optimism, realism, and commonality. The results show that a focus of Trump’s messages is to target “enemies,” employing terms of conflict and intergroup differentiation. Four main targets emerged in Trump’s tweets and his followers’ retweets: Marco Rubio (“Little Marco”), Ted Cruz (“Lyin’ Ted”), Hillary Clinton (Crooked Hillary”), and the “biased” media. The chapter examines the trends and linguistic characteristics of each topic, noting fluctuations in relation to campaign events and the psychological and tonal characteristics.