How Social Media is Affecting Candidate Popularity

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Gabriella Borelli, Politics Writer

Before the 21st century, people would learn about their political candidates in newspapers, broadcasts, or by going in person hear to their speeches. With technology taking control of this generation, social media has become the gateway for everyone to share their views and connect with others on certain topics.

 

The race between presidential candidates has become a major topic on all social media, with websites such as Tumblr and Twitter at the top of this list; memes referencing to candidates have been made and are spreading through the websites like wildfire. Mr. Tom Privett, U.S. government and debate instructor, claims, “If any candidate does not too through social media, they are missing an unbelievably large part of the electoral vote”. The new voters of 2016 are the generation where social media plays a big impact on their beliefs through the candidate’s use of it. Another valid point that Privett made was that, “If Bernie Sanders intends on winning the presidency, he doesn’t have any choice because his base has to be the younger people in America.”

One example is a meme of candidates’ Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. The candidates are placed side to side with common situations or jokes that teenagers relate to. Usually, Hillary is the bad one and Bernie is the good answer. This picture makes Bernie appear as a better candidate, and Hillary as someone who is uneducated and messy, which isn’t what people would want as a candidate. Another common meme spreading is candidate Donald Trump being compared to Adolf Hitler due to his slogan “Make America Great Again.” As we all know, Hitler does not have good fame, due to the way he treated the people in his country. Now, people are comparing Trump to him to carry out the message of Trump being the next Hitler; his immigration policies being the main point of target.

 

Three students from TERRA Environmental Research Institute were asked, “if social media affected their views on politics.” Two students admitted that social media has impacted their views on the candidates. Senior Meghan Garcia says, “people’s opinions that they share on social media inevitably influence my opinion.” Sophomore Alessa Bartos said, “Definitely, social media makes me more aware of what each candidate stands for.” On the other hand, a freshman Sean Bennett says “social media has no impact on me, It actually bothers me how people use it as a tool to advertise their candidates,”

 

Mr. Privett, made a great point that candidates also use their social media accounts as a way to gain popularity. He presents Donald Trump as “…the entertainer in chief because he has contacted everyone through his Twitter rants.” He insists that because of these rants, Trump has affected others views on politics. Privett also poses the example of President Obama being the first president to use social media and “harness it for donations and also to share out his views.” Since Obama used social media as his main outlet he convinced others to buy into his views, donate, and gain popularity.

The presidential race this year is intense due to all the influences surrounding each candidate. With rallies, protests and campaign ads taking over the propaganda with the most impact is social media.