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Social Media's Role In the 2020 Race For President

Gettyimages | Justin Sullivan
By Emily Reily

Examining Stan Culture In the 2020 Election


A story on Buzzfeed examines the stan culture that has recently formed around several candidates for president, and what happens when that candidate drops out.

Harris' Campaign Foundation Showed Cracks

Gettyimages | Ethan Miller

It's a timely story, since yesterday, candidate for president and U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris effectively ended her campaign amid reports of poor staff morale and a core message that had no direction.

For his story, reporter Ryan Brooks says he spoke with the creators of fan accounts for candidates like Harris, Beto O'Rourke, and Elizabeth Warren in an effort to show that support on the campaign trail can directly mirror support on social media.

Dog Eat Dog World on Twitter


Brooks writes:

"The 2020 election has, in fact, turned Twitter into a breathing, combustible ecosystem of warring factions — where the struggling O’Rourke and Harris pulled in as devoted, enthusiastic, and vicious supporters as the ascendant Pete Buttigieg and steady Bernie Sanders, and where the real people mixed up in all of it can get lost in the rush."

Giphy | Election 2016

One thing Brooks found for certain is that the social media platform Twitter is a place that campaign staffers must carefully monitor, since one viral retweet can signal success or trouble for their candidate.

Brooks spoke with Chris Evans, an avid Harris supporter, who told him, “So sometimes I’ll quote-tweet something … and a lot of the people that follow me see it, and they’ll jump in the replies, and also echo what I’m saying or post the receipts.”

Spreading the Love


Elizabeth Warren fans have taken this mode of advertisement and expanded it beyond dry policies.

In May, Mashable wrote about one instance where Ashley Nicole Black tweeted "Do you think Elizabeth Warren has a plan to fix my love life?"

Warren wrote back: "DM me and let’s figure this out."

Black then tweeted her surprise at actually hearing from Warren, and wrote: "I am deceased. And ready to welcome new love in my life. And then get our new pres elected. #shehasaplan."

@ChuckWendig wrote: "Welp, she did it. Elizabeth Warren just won the presidency. Give her the White House, the Iron Throne, a Nobel prize, a pony, whatever she wants."

Make Up Your Own Mind

Giphy | Elizabeth Warren

We don't actually assume that Warren is sitting down with Black and working out a plan to get a man. But reaching out on social media with real-life responses to voters goes a long way toward building a stan culture.

Ultimately, it comes down to whether your candidate has a strong campaign, a strong message and a large swell of support, which is supposed to determine if they make it all the way to the White House.

But the online culture that worships individual campaigns can't be ignored as a driving force and source of revenue for candidates, as well as those who are still undecided.

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