Social Advocacy & Politics: Twitter Reveals the Hate Behind the Politician

Alan Rosenblatt Senior Vice President of Digital Strategy, turner4D

Posted on December 10th 2013

Social Advocacy & Politics: Twitter Reveals the Hate Behind the Politician


Nelson Mandela died this week. Rest in Peace Madiba.

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), Tea Party darling, did what any decent human being would do in the age of Twitter… he tweeted condolences to Mandela’s family and the people of South Africa.

ImageAnd then, as they say, no good deed goes unpunished. The outpouring of hatred, bigotry and intolerance from Ted Cruz’s right-wing base flooded his Facebook page and Twitter timeline.

If you can tell a lot about a politician by the people who follow him, then the reactions from the angry, perhaps former supporters of Ted Cruz speak volumes about who he is and what his followers think of him.  Prior to Cruz’s compassionate, humane posts about the loss of a great global leader, Cruz was the standard bearer for the Tea Party and the right-wing of Texas. Now, as his (former) supporters are saying, he has revealed himself to be a commie-lover and terrorist sympathizer.

The reaction to his posts reveals that Cruz sits (sat?) atop a mountain of hate; a sea of Americans who will never forgive anyone who ever associates with their enemies, no matter to what end. Even if Mandela’s political alliances were all to serve the mission of liberating a nation of oppressed people, he remains forever tainted in the eyes of the far-right in America. And while many on the left have also leveled criticisms of Mandela, the response to Cruz was dominated by his betrayed supporters, from the right.

Meanwhile, other politicians, from the right and the left, tweeted similar sentiments. None of them got the same reaction. Not Mitt Romney. Not Paul Ryan. Not even Hillary Clinton.

Ted Cruz is the political leader the far right looks to and they found him lacking.

So take heed. You may seek to control your image by controlling what you share on social media. But in the end, you will be defined as much by how your supporters react to you as you will by your own words.

Carpe colloquium… before it seizes you.


Alan Rosenblatt

Senior Vice President of Digital Strategy, turner4D

Alan Rosenblatt, Ph.D. is a social media and online advocacy strategist, professor & thought leader. He is Senior Vice President of Digital Strategy at turner 4D (formerly Turner Strategies), the co-founder and host of the Internet Advocacy Roundtable; and an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins, American, (Georgetown and Gonzaga Universities), where he teaches courses on internet politics. He was Associate Director for Online Advocacy at the Center for American Progress/CAP Action Fund from 2007-2013, where he created and directed the Center’s social media program, as well as Ombudsmen and co-founder at Take Action News. Alan taught the world’s first internet politics course ever at George Mason University in 1995. He founded the Internet Advocacy Roundtable in 2005; blogs at,, and occasionally/previously at,,; serves on’s board of directors and Social Media Today’s Advisory Board; In 2008, he was a fellow at George Washington University’s Institute for Politics, Democracy & the Internet; and is a co-founder of  Alan has a Ph.D. in Political Science from American University, an M.A. in Political Science from Boston College and a B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy from Tufts University. Find him on Twitter and across social media at @DrDigiPol.

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Posted on December 10th 2013 at 11:58AM

Some folks on Twitter seem to have missed the point of this post. This is not an assessment of the commenters to Cruz. I am not trying to say that only conservatives have criticized Cruz for his kind words about Mandela. 

My point is that many, many of the hateful comments about Mandela and about Cruz's expression of his condolences are coming from Ted Cruz's base. It is his strongest fans that are pissed at him for even suggesting that Mandela, his family an South Africa are deserving of kind words at the time of Mandela's death. 

The fact that some on the left, who already dislike Cruz, criticize his posts is simply irrelevant to the point of this post. 

Regardless of this, I thank everyone for reading, sharing and commenting on this and my other posts. Conversation is king. Carpe colloquium. 

Posted on December 10th 2013 at 12:26PM

If you want to see some good hate, just look at


Thanks for attempting to turn everything into politics. 


Posted on December 11th 2013 at 10:39AM

When you audience controls you, you cannot win. The example of Ted Cruz is self explanatory, the politician raised an audience of right wing and as soon as he doesn't follow the guidelines he set up before, the audience is trashing him. This article also shows how important precise guidelines are on social media. 

Posted on December 11th 2013 at 11:25AM

Sadly the online political discussions are becoming more polarizing. It's the risk you take when you use online media to promote your political agenda. We saw the same types of comments here in North Carolina when elected leaders posted condolences regarding Mandela's death.

Hunson Abadeer
Posted on December 15th 2013 at 3:28AM

I love this writing. It's very interesting to read. I also like that it's simple and to  the point. As a college student interested in politics, alot of the writing I've seen about politics has been very confusing. This is true even after taking political science courses.