‘Real life’ folk in the kitchen: US Democrats go online for votes
AFTER announcing she was considering running to be US president earlier this week, Elizabeth Warren headed to the fridge for a beer. With her, she took 1.1million people along.
Swigging unconvincingly from the bottle, the Democratic senator for Massachusetts introduced Bruce, her husband. “This is my sweetie,” she said as he wandered into shot. “He’s the best.”
The 69-year-old’s awkward attempt at folksiness triggered eye-rolls in sections of the US media. Headlines mocked her “unplanned” beer moment as a cringe-inducing.
But personal live broadcasting – especially from the kitchen – looks set to be the tool every Democratic presidential hopeful wants to embrace.
In 2016, Donald Trump’s Twitter feed was the defining media platform of the election race. In 2020, Facebook and Instagram “lives” look set to play the same role.
Beto O’Rourke, the poster boy of Left-leaning America, hotly tipped for the White House after almost beating Ted Cruz to a Senate seat in Texas, has perfected the skill. In the run-up to that November midterms he was live broadcasting so frequently that Texas newspapers dubbed it “Betovision”.
Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden, two septuagenarians among the favourites for the 2020 Democrat presidential nomination, have also been dabbling in their own broadcasting, albeit not live.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the 29-year-old democratic socialist who became the youngest woman elected to Congress in November, is among the early adopters of self-broadcasting.
While she is not running for the White House, her live streaming – taking questions as she cooks and dances to R&B – has been noted by colleagues.
But Will Marshall, president of the centrist Progressive Policy Institute, said: “The candidates who most excite millennial activists on social media are probably not the people who are going to have the broadest possible appeal to the electorate.”