For the last four years, Donald Trump seems to have been the only thing we talked about, and without him, news feels unfamiliar. What do we read and write about if he’s not signing controversial executive orders, or inciting insurrections over Twitter? We’ve all fantasized about the moment where he’d no longer be relevant—but somehow, it hasn’t come. Despite his lack of involvement in anything newsworthy, we’ve continued writing about him. And that’s the problem, because Donald Trump doesn’t have any power, any platform anymore—unless we keep giving him one.
Not writing about Trump is the worst thing the world can do to him. Above all other things, he craves attention—good or bad. He makes wild claims so that newspapers write about him and TV hosts talk about him. He doesn’t care the kind of publicity he gets, as long as he gets it. And as much as we hate to admit it, he’s still a frontrunner for the 2024 election—but we can keep him from winning again. He no longer has a dedicated PR team, or a Twitter account he can use to spout disinformation. The way to silence Trump, to never let him hold office again, is to let him fade into obscurity.
Even if Trump introduces his own social media platform, it will only end up being for his most dedicated and tech-savvy supporters. While it could potentially present a danger both in terms of his chances of re-election and other attacks similar to the riot at the Capitol, it seems unlikely. It’s doubtful that people who didn’t previously support Trump would go looking for it, and many people stop caring about politics after elections have ended. Assuming he doesn’t find some new pocket of vocal supporters, Trump’s period of relevance will end.
As long as we let it.
So please, newspapers, television, talk shows, stop talking about him. Although we aren’t going to make the same mistake we made in 2016, treating him like a joke, Trump still won 74 million votes in the 2020 election. That is by no means a small number. We know that he generates clicks, and he’s easy money for media companies. But we all saw the absolute destruction he wrought upon the United States over the course of just four years, and it can’t happen again. Donald Trump’s only form of communication to the public is through the press, but we’ve somehow let him stay on the front page rather than ignoring him.
The solution? Stop covering the things he says. Stop sparking arguments about him. What Donald Trump says now doesn’t matter, and we all need to remember that. For some reason, we’re still writing articles about him, putting stock in the things he says, and letting him enrage us. Whatever Trump says now isn’t important unless we make it important—he has no voice unless we give him one.
I’ve grown up in the Trump era. By the time I started caring about politics, Trump was already president. From the day I started reading the news, Trump has been on the front page. I’ve felt almost bored without looking at my phone and seeing the headline of another scandal or controversy surrounding him. But he’s no longer president. So the best thing we can do isn’t forget about Trump—it’s to move on from him. To reverse the effects he’s had on our country, and the world, and look to the future. We’re still in the middle of a pandemic. We’ve got systemic racism, a climate crisis, and a whole other slew of issues to deal with. But we can start by pushing the current president to address the most pressing issues, and by learning from the shenanigans of the last.