The bright spots in the dark era of Trump Twitter: political parody accounts

Image: mashable composite: Christopher Mineses

Over the course of his first months in the White House, President Trump notoriously turned Twitter into his personal outlet for unhinged political venting. That of course inspired the creation of dozens of parody accounts that became tools of resistance, coping mechanisms, and light-hearted distractions from the political chaos.

A simple Twitter search for “Donald Trump Parody” reveals a collection of over 50 accounts, and though each tackles Trumps presidency with a different approach, they all set out with a common goal: to make Twitter in the Trump era a bit more bearable.

To get a better sense of what it takes to challenge Trump on his favorite social platform, we reached out to the creators of two of the most popular Trump parody accounts on Twitter and uncovered some intriguing facts about the 24/7 job.

For instance: One of the most thought-provoking accounts on Twitter was inspired by Trump’s spat with the musical Hamilton.

While accounts like @RealDonalDrumpf and @mechanicaltrump attempt to imitate Trump’s unique online behavior, tweeting with an excessive amount of exclamation points and bashing Obama and the Democratic party every chance they get, others, like @aTinyTrump, give followers a good laugh with the help of Photoshop.

The more serious parody account @DTrumpExposed, meanwhile, provides followers with essential information related to Trump’s presidency and his administration, serving as an alternative source of news for those who want to stay in the loop.

@IfHillaryHad imagines American politics in an alternate reality, tweeting on a day-to-day basis as Hillary Clinton had she won the election. @BRIDGETTRUMPSD1 is a depiction of Trump’s diary entries if they were written in the style of Bridget Jones. You know, very normal stuff.

Which brings us to @HalfOnionInABag, the scrap of a vegetable just looking to get more Twitter followers than Trump. It hasn’t quite reached the president’s 28.4 million, but 739,000 followers is still pretty impressive for a vegetable.

Trump now with maturity!

If there’s anything we’ve learned from the overzealous, typo-ridden 140-character messages posted to the president’s Twitter account, it’s where there’s a Trump tweet, there’s room for improvement.

One man decided to take on the taxing job of editing those tweets to try and make the president’s words sound more, well, presidential. Under the promise of anonymity, the 52-year-old creator of Mature Trump Tweets spoke to us about the inspiration behind the thought-provoking account, how life has changed since starting it, and what kind of impact he hopes his revised words have on the world.

Here’s how he edited one of Trump’s tweets about “fake news”:

Since several early followers wondered if Barack Obama were behind the account, the creator has decided to go by the nickname Barry.

“I think he’s failed to recognize, or worse doesn’t care, that his words matter.”

He began the account last fall, a few weeks after Trump won the election, as things on Twitter got more and more surreal.

“I think he’s failed to recognize, or worse doesn’t care, that his words matter,” Barry said. “I became almost numb due to the Twitter assault that seemed to attack first amendment rights and lack of civility in his tone,” he went on, identifying the president’s Twitter beef with the cast of Hamilton as one of the events that drove him to create the account.

“I needed to do something because I felt powerless. So I decided to recreate his tweets and tweet the way I think a true diplomatic statesman would. It was cathartic for me, and I had a hunch it would be for others too.”

Throughout the course of the young presidency, Barry’s goals for the account have evolved. “Originally it was selfish. I needed an outlet,” he explained. “I also was determined to not allow this type of tone to be normalized. That’s a scary proposition.”

Retweets from powerful social media voices like J.K. Rowling, Ricky Gervais, Seth McFarlane, and Mark Cuban were soon to follow. Mature Trump Tweets has 123,000 followers, some of whom have reached out to tell Barry how important the account is to them, offering to start GoFundMe or Kickstarter campaigns to ensure it remains up and running.

“Today, I have bigger goals,” Barry admitted. “I think this could be a counter movement. One that espouses kindness, civility, decorum things I think Americans and people around the world truly want and crave.”

Maintaining an account that directly responds to Trump’s relentless Twitter activity isn’t always easy. “I usually retweet Trump when he tweets, which means daily usually early in the morning or late at night,” Barry said.

Barry also tweets whenever he feels the president should be tweeting, even if Trump remains silent. “Those are often the most popular, because it demonstrates the fact he seems tone deaf on what’s important and what the majority of Americans want to hear from him.”

Embracing the chaos through humor

During Trump’s first month in office, executive order signing became something of a sport for President Trump and it wasn’t long before 34-year-old Mike Gaines took notice.

With each document Trump presented, Gaines thought he resembled a proud little kid showing off his drawings to his parents. Gaines was inspired to take a more lighthearted approach to manage his political frustrations. Trump Draws a brilliant collection of photoshopped GIFs was born.

When Trump fired Sally Yates, the deputy attorney general who refused to defend his travel ban, the Los Angeles-based visual effects artist decided to transform the proud president into an ambitiously doodling toddler with the help of his iPad Pro, the app Procreate, and Adobe After Effects.

Gaines began posting to the account several times a week, showing Trump dramatically revealing drawings of cute little animals and holiday greetings, with timely political references. He misspelled captions (in too-real Trump fashion) and occasionally even doodled with his non-dominant hand to really capture the youthful aspect of his photoshop creations.

“In this increasingly divisive political world, the account somehow cuts through all the BS,” Gaines said. It’s “simply a way to laugh at the doodles of a very proud man, who just happens to be the president of the United States.”

After the account which is currently at 439,000 followers received such a positive response from Twitter users, Gaines decided to expand the endeavor to include paintings in the White House, presentation tools, and really any other white surface begging to be memed.

“I feel like these accounts really are a bright light in a pretty dismal world right now, he said. “Laughing and comedy are the best way to cope.”

Though Gaines refers to Trump as “a diamond mine for comedy,” he thinks the president’s seemingly unfiltered, unprofessional Twitter account is a true cause for concern. “Dude needs to pick a new game … maybe trying to run the country instead?” he suggested, clarifying that he’s not trying to use Trump Draws to make a political statement.

“I really just want to add some levity to this crazy political climate,” Gaines said. “Sometimes you just need to see Trump childishly draw an elephant to get you through the day.”

So simple, yet so effective.

Parodies FTW

Though its tough to say definitively whether Trump is the most parodied president in history I mean, even George Washington was subject to sketches The Donald does seem to have a big target painted on his back in the social media age.

Even when it comes to more recent presidents, a search for “Barack Obama parody” yields eighteen results on the platform. “George Bush parody” reveals a mere three. (Though, to be fair, Obama was elected when Twitter was only in its infancy.)

The takeaway? When it comes to being parodied on Twitter, Trump is winning. So much winning.

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Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/04/29/donald-trump-parody-twitter-accounts/