By Sara White
Over the last 7 days, Americans have googled more for “trump” than for “flowers” as we approach Valentine’s Day this year. His quick executive orders and impulsive tweets are compelling Americans to search his latest decisions.
Valentine’s Day is not nearly as consistently important to us as what our President is up to, but we should expect an increase in searches for gifts as we approach a widely celebrated holiday.
Speculatively speaking, Americans might depending on google to bring them to the latest news about President Trump, or we are just fascinated and want to learn more about his audacious personality. When you google for “trump”, stories from thehill.com, New York Observer, and Fox News appear above his latest tweets and under those, his websites trump.com and donaldjtrump.com with “Make American Great Again!” in the headline.
Millenials and American society in general have been accused of being more interested in materialistic, pop culture over politics, but in the new era of Trump, this may be changing (maybe because he too, was a popular celebrity before being president?).
Just to compare to someone who represents the current epitome of popular culture, I added a third comparison- the highly idolized Kylie Jenner. Both Trump and flowers still beat her in google searches.
How long will America’s fascination with Trump continue? Pop culture icons prove to be fleeting on google, but the President has a consistent presence.
Aside from Trump dazzling Americans this Valentine’s season, the top New York Times stories showed low google search numbers in comparison to the Karina Vetrano murder case earlier in the week until February 11th. On February 6th, searches for Karina Vetrano peaked, and the google searches came almost entirely from the state of New York, where the murder took place.
It was not until February 11th that “immigration arrests” surpassed searches about the murder case and arrest, which the Times reported on a day later.
In comparison, almost no one searched for the missile testing launched by North Korea. I found this surprising due to the fact that national security was, and still is, President Trump’s supposed main priority, along with the mass population of Americans who voted for him.
I initially speculated that more people would be aware of national security than ever before, but Trump’s quiet dismissal of the test might have kept Americans from even noticing.
Even when the missile test increased in google searches, it was still behind in searches in comparison to the immigration arrest news. Americans’ obsession and fears about illegal immigration take priority over foreign affairs.
According to the Time’s story on the immigration arrests, the 600 arrested is a number less than a sweep made by President Obama in 2012, even though Trump boasted on twitter that this was a “crackdown on illegal criminals”.
Although the immigration sweep gained popularity over the Vatrano murder and North Korea missile test, the travel ban was still consistently googled more than all three by a slim margin.
The travel ban sparked protests everywhere, affected innocent American families, and ruffled Trumps feathers who tweeted, “SEE YOU IN COURT” to the judges who effectively halted the ban.
Americans still debate whether the ban is discrimination or simple protection, but we won’t know the consequences of the order until it is settled in court and until we witness world leaders responding.