What happens when a half-used piece of produce takes on the president? No one is quite sure yet, but we are definitely learning that protests can take on many forms in this strange new world. Indeed, in recent days, a hero has emerged in the form of a pungent vegetable with social media skills to spare: The Twitter account Half An Onion In A Bag. It has a single goal, according to its bio on the social network, and it’s a noble one: “To get more followers than @realDonaldTrump.” In just under a week, the irreverently humorous account already has racked up over half a million followers on its quest to defeat its rival, challenging Trump’s vanity and popularity on his own beloved turf. And as Half An Onion's creator, who is choosing to remain anonymous for the time being, explains to Bustle in an email, “I think it says a lot about the way people are feeling these few days into this new administration." Hear, hear.
According to Gallup, Trump had historically low approval ratings going into his inauguration — something which the might of Half An Onion's following seems to drive home. “I think it shows just how much (and how many) people dislike our new POTUS," says the creator of Twitter account. "I don't claim to speak for everyone, but I think I feel the way a lot of people seem to feel." As Onion puts it, "scared and concerned" is one of those prevailing emotions; however, Onion also notes that there's a silver lining, too: They say that they are "feeling much more motivated than I have in the past to speak up and do things about it.” Indeed, with gag orders having already been issued to several federal agencies, the act of speaking up seems more important than ever — even if it comes from something forgotten in your fridge.
Despite a healthy 630,000 followers, Half An Onion is still trailing far behind Trump’s 22.2 million, though it's possible we could see that margin quickly shrink. (Stranger things have happened, after all — remember the unprecedented popularity of the potato salad Kickstarter campaign?) Trump has logged over 43,000 tweets over his eight years on the social media site, compared to @HalfOnionInABag's 43 posts. To be fair, though, it must be difficult for an onion to type, so maybe we can let the disparity in post count slide.
What's somewhat troubling though, is that this Twitter "baiting" could have real consequences, notes its creator. "The goal when I started the account was really to just make some fun, inject a bit of humor into this nightmare, and maybe create a little noise," Onion tells Bustle. "It's ridiculous that I'm about to say this sentence, but a Twitter account that is simply a half an onion in plastic bag getting a lot of attention and gaining a lot of followers at [Trump's] expense could actually bother the current President of the United States." Could this lowly foodstuff be unwittingly elevated into a leader of the resistance by overtaking Trump in followers?
Taking into account the president's unpredictable governing style, obsession with his own popularity, and hostile relationship with the media, there is no telling what the repercussions could be. "I wouldn't be surprised if there ended up being an anti-Half An Onion In A Bag press conference called at this point. That's the type of person we're dealing with here," the Twitter account's creator says.
Just waiting for @realDonaldTrump to claim that the 300,000-400,000 who have followed me so far did it illegally.— Half An Onion (@HalfOnionInABag) January 25, 2017
When starting the incendiary Twitter account, the creator, who has reportedly "worked in the digital space for a long time now," wanted to capture that magical combination of "topical content, humor, and complete randomness." All they had to do to find the most random object to put head to head with Trump was open the fridge: "[I] saw that pathetic half onion in a bag (that I since have been told multiple times was cut wrong, making it even more pathetic), I knew I had a winner," Onion says. (It's worth noting that there is no "wrong" way to cut an onion; however, many believe that trimming the ends and then laying it on one of the flat surfaces to slice it in half is best. Do with that what you will.)
While the creator doesn't intent to stay anonymous forever, they want to give the onion plenty of time to shine, and perhaps even coordinate with a charity or organization to use the onion's platform for good. Meanwhile, those who do know Onion's true identity are happy with the results. “A good amount of people know by now," says the creator. "My father is very proud to be a Half Onion in a Bag's father.”
The jury is still out on what happened to the other half of said onion... but maybe some things are better left unanswered.