Social media has become a major force in politics. This medium has allowed candidates to directly connect with supporters – without the need for filters. The interesting change in this year’s election cycle has been that Donald Trump, a Republican, is the leader in the Twitter wars. Yes, he has celebrity status but his main rival, Hillary Clinton is not new to the world of politics – meaning she has had lots of time to gain a following as well.
As of this writing, Trump leads the race at 5.5 million followers while Clinton has 5 million. This is the opposite of how things typically work when comparing Democrats and Republicans. In past years, Obama led McCain and Romney on social media which helped him win two elections. This of course, isn’t too surprising, as social media tends to be used by younger people and they have leaned Democrat in the past.
As a reference, Sanders, Cruz, Carson and Rubio (in order, above) have around one million followers each, give or take.
The media in the US has a strong liberal bias – in some elections voting 12-1 Democrat. This of course has been great cause for concern for Republicans and explains why there is strong support for networks like Fox News which provide an alternative viewpoint to many mainstream competitors. Its also directly related to trust in the media which is at an all-time low according to Gallup:
For more than a decade, Republicans and independents have been significantly less likely than Democrats to trust the media. This pattern continues in the latest survey. In 2014, Gallup found that trust among Democrats fell to a 14-year low of 54%, and this figure is essentially unchanged at 55% this year. While more Democrats than Republicans continue to say they trust the media, the percentage of Republicans who report that they trust the mass media increased slightly this year, from 27% to 32%. This increase was offset, however, by a decrease in independents reporting trust, from 38% to 33%.
Some analysts have stated they believe liberal media bias boosts votes for Democrats by 5-15% (PDF page 39).
This time though, something very interesting is happening. A Republican candidate, for the first time, has more followers than the Democrat opponent. This means they are able to a greater extent, get around the media, when communicating with the American People.
While the world has become enamored by the latest Star Wars movie, it’s perhaps worth noting, the real force that’s awakened is a Republican candidate leading the field in social followers, giving them a direct, bias-free connection to voters.
H/T: Legal Insurection