The 2016 US presidential election is one that has the whole world surprised. It is not only for the part that the United States plays in the global community, but also for its unique nature. The elections are unpredictable as the political forums change platforms for campaign and with that, the change in the message relayed and the talking points among the politicians. Additionally, it has been used to prove the role that technology has to play in our modern lives. In this discussion, we shall take a closer look at the role social media has played in the 2016 campaigns and its impact in the upcoming November presidential elections. The social media has made the biggest impact on the US presidential elections in the current race for the White House during the vote that takes place in November.
The campaign, right from its onset in 2015, has been largely done on the social media platform. The Democratic and Republican presidential primaries largely used social media to reach out to the citizens and spread their message. It is for this reason that each campaign launched social media accounts to share their agenda with the voters. Through social media, the campaigners are able to offer their opinion, in most cases in a more casual manner that will appeal to the most people.
It is for this reason that the party primaries were marred with dramatic exchanges among the competing candidates. For instance, in the Republican Party, Donald Trump showed his ability to command the elections through continued campaigns on social media, especially on twitter, where he has been known the world over for his controversial tweets. The social media has worked for, and against the users as the campaign continues get unpredictable after every campaign makes a move.
During a presidential debate for the republican candidates in August 2015, the use of social media to negatively affect one’s campaign was clearly seen when an old tweet by Jeb Bush describing killings by illegal immigrants as an act of love. When he stood by that statement, Mr. Trump released a video where the killings were juxtaposed with the statement by Jeb Bush and posted it on Instagram. The video drew a great reaction which led to the defeat of Jeb Bush. On numerous occasions, Donald Trump has used the social media platforms to convince his supporters about his stand and what he represents as a candidate.
A platform such as twitter has also stirred the political atmosphere in the country by bringing people together to stand for or against a particular candidate. During the Democratic primaries, Bernie Sanders showed the great power of social media as through the Facebook groups policies the other campaigners used. On the other hand, the social media has been a voice for the voters. For instance, during the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, the Bernie Sanders supporters came in a movement known as #Bernie or Bust movement, protesting the nomination of Hillary Clinton. The movement had been formed through social media and the protestors communicated through the social media sites to organize themselves and campaign for Bernie Sanders.
After the primaries were over and Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were chosen as the presumptive nominees for their respective parties, the trends such as #amwithher which supported and campaigned for Hillary Clinton online showed the power of social media by amassing hundreds of thousands of supporters and eventually convincing others to join them. Similarly, the Donald Trump campaign has on several occasions come up with catchy phrases such as #crookedHillary and #LyingTed to discredit their opponents. The trends were catchy and attracted many people to facts about their candidates and their short comings.
Social media has proved its place in these elections and made a clear statement on the most crucial for performing campaigns is through the social media. Additionally, it has enabled the people’s reactions to be heard fast and through the views aired through the platform the candidates have been able to craft agenda that addresses the people’s grievances. Social media has also made campaigns cheaper and more effective. This has allowed the people to air their stance against corporate campaign financing which ends up supporting candidates who do not have the people’s best interest at heart. Besides, it has also allowed the people to decipher the truth from a lie and understand their candidates better. In the 2016 presidential elections, there have been increased cases of people retrieving messages that candidates posted long ago and used them to make decisions. The instance of Jeb Bush is an example of how it could come back to you. As it seems clear that the presidential elections winner will greatly depend on a swing vote, it is evident that the social media has a great role in choosing the next United States president.