By Nick Gambino
Every four years we’re subjected to a kindergarten rivalry played out on a national stage by grown adults usually only a few years removed from collecting social security. I’m talking about the presidential campaign circuit. “Presidential” is a loose term here of course.
This year is no exception. Too many of us seem all too willing to pick a side and damn anyone who disagrees. This is the case this year as much as it was in years past but there’s something different about this election campaign. It seems popularity is not determined by what you see on TV or read in the paper but by what pops up in your Facebook news feed.
Scroll down your feed and you’ll see personal posts, links to videos, articles for or against a particular candidate, funny or ironic memes, inappropriate GIFs, all starring one or more presidential candidate. Some are humorous and some are straight venom.
As someone who doesn’t subscribe to a particular party and who doesn’t believe in agreeing with 100% of a candidate’s views because I agree with one or two, I have the “luxury” of sitting back and watching this all unfold. Kind of like watching a really bad movie that thinks it’s funny because it comes up with a few decent one-liners and stars a guy with an unflattering comb-over.
I scroll through my feed and read the article on how Donald Trump rallies are cesspools for white supremacist inbreds or a meme calling Bernie Sanders a socialist or a post that states if Hillary Clinton becomes president someone’s going to move to Canada. And those aren’t even the worst ones.
We’ve seen the debates played out in the comment section of these posts turn quite ugly. With name calling, broken friendships and tears running amuck.
But what does this all mean when it comes down to sheer number of votes? Well, it’s understood that reaching the “millennials” (I hate that word and I’m ashamed I just used it) is key in winning the popular vote. This accounts for over 75 million potential voters. This trumps (see what I did there?) the number of Baby Boomers in the U.S.
In this day and age millennials (there’s that word again) turn to social media and the internet for information. While they may not all watch the GOP Debate on Fox News or CNN, they’ll watch the highlights the next day on their phone or read posts by their “informed” friends on Facebook or Twitter.
Beyond just friends and family posts, the candidates themselves are getting in on the social media action with an estimated $500 million being spent on ads and posts on Facebook, Twitter and even Snapchat. Seriously…Snapchat. Both Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton announced their campaigns using the social media app.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nick Gambino is a regular script writer and tech beat reporter for NewsWatch. He lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and daughter.