The settlement at the White House from the founding fathers to Trump, between official speeches and social messages

The new data driven survey realized by Alkemy Lab on the changing of the guard at the White House and on the settlements of US presidents in history

The last few weeks were marked by an important transition that changed the international political landscape: on January 20 Donald J. Trump became in effect the new President of the United States, completing the changing of the guard started in the last November at the White house. The same Trump emphasized the importance of the transition, saying in his speech: "Today's ceremony has a very special meaning because today we are not simply transferring power from one administration to another or from one party to another, but we are transferring power from Washington DC and we're giving back to you, the people".

A speech listened with attention from every part of the world, that create lots of discussion just because of the alternation, within it, of old and new themes. The last presidents had, in fact, promised a growing openness to the outside, on the contrary, Trump has shown intentions that strengthen national closure and reminding the policy of first decades of last century.

A speech, the one of Trump, certainly wasn’t characterized by its length: only 1,432 words, which made him one of the 20 most synthetic presidents of the history and well below the 2,300 words that make up the average of the settlement’s talks of the Presidents of the USA.

The antecedents of the New York’s billionaire have not always chosen the same communication strategy to reach the people: going from the just 135 words with which George Washington inaugurated his second term in 1792, up to the 8,460 by William Henry Harrison in 1841. The most prolix President, William Henry Harrison, paid the price for his verbosity: choosing to speak a so long speech under the rain and without casing (to prove he is a man accustomed to adversity), he took a pneumonia which led to his death only a month after his inauguration. After Roosevelt, however, all the other presidents never went beyond 2500 words, a sign of how in recent times the chiefs of US government preferred to be more concise and adapt to the rules and media time.

The farewell speeches were always longer than those inaugural, and did not except the farewell of Barack Obama. January 2016, with the changing of the guard at the White House, was in fact also the month during which Barack Obama has said goodbye and has given way to the new US president. The research interest in the outgoing president is in fact grown in the last weeks, reaching its peak during the farewell speech that Obama gave in Chicago on January 10. The farewell, which traditionally is delivered by the outgoing president a few days since the installation of his successor, aroused the interest for several reasons: from the demonstration of a great oratorical skills, to the significantly thanks to his wife Michelle, up to the clear message of not wanting to retire from the political scene.

The evolution of the research interest on Google towards the 44th and the 45th president of the United States shows that Trump became most famous than Obama even before he was elected his successor. The overtaking in popularity in online research took place, in fact, in June 2015, when the New Yorker billionaire announced his candidacy in the Trump Tower in Manhattan. Since that time, even if not steadily, its popularity continued to grow, even overhanging that of the in office president.

The higher peaks correspond to the first successes from the primary season - between February and March 2016 - and then to the final victory, which took place in July, which declared Trump as the Republican candidate in the race for the White House. Obama has been the subject of interest in much of the Western world, as the map shows. The research on democratic president prevailed in North America, Western Europe and Australia, as well as in South Africa and Chile. The New Yorker tycoon has instead attracted more attention in the rest of Latin America and Africa, as well as in Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

Even the social conversations on the setting of Trump, were numerous: the tweets on the topic collected between 17 and 23 January were more than 3 million, and among them there is a large proportion of messages characterized by generic hashtags about the ceremony. Apart from these, there are also a group of tweets in favor of Trump and a group against. To #trumptrain and #maga - even in its extended version #makeamericagreatagain - are opposed hashtags representing dissent against the new president: #theresistance and #notmypresident clear that a part of the American population does not even recognize Trump as their political leader. Among the hashtags against it emerges #womensmarch, the march of the women that took place on January 21 in Washington and in many other parts of the world. This contestation saw the participation of many prominent personalities, including Scarlett Johansson and Madonna. Even another woman in the show business aligned against Trump in previous days: on January 9 Meryl Streep, withdrawing the Golden Globe for her career, made a speech against the new president. In the days immediately following, Streep was the name that appeared more often together with Trump in the online research, to demonstrate how the actress's gesture has not gone unnoticed.

Text, bigdata analysis and graphics edited by Carla De Mare and Nicola Piras, implemented under the DEEP project of Alkemy Lab