The Role Of Social Media In The 2016 Presidential Election Campaigns

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The 2016 Presidential Election Campaign in the United States was notably distinct, with a woman, a democratic socialist, and a billionaire businessman making waves within their parties. With that, social media played an important role in the transmission of information and candidates’ core messages. Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump used social media to their advantage, though very differently. This essay argues that the importance of social media in order to transmit political messages is becoming increasingly important, and that Bernie Sanders was able to more effectively utilize social media and to communicate his campaign’s messages through social media than Donald Trump during the primary campaign.
In this essay, I will first describe the
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In fact, then Senator Obama was the only candidate with over 100,000 online supporters – far short of the audience reached in 2016 – while most others had less than 40,000 followers (Pew Research Center 2016). By the 2012 presidential campaign, candidates were mastering the use of various social media to connect with Americans and bring in potential voters. However, campaigns closely controlled social media accounts, and they rarely involved direct communication with online users, as a vast majority of the information that the candidates posted was solely issue-based (Pew Research Center 2016). The candidates realized the critical aspect of social media in reaching a particular base of Americans. How young adults vote may be correlated to where they receive political information on candidates and issues. Because almost 40% of young adults receive information directly from a candidate’s social media, it is important to note that President Obama far outpaced his Republican opponent, Governor Romney, on social media engagement, posting “nearly four times as much content as the Romney campaign” (Pew Research Center 2016, ). Kevin Robillard (2016) states that “Obama easily won the youth vote nationally, 67 percent to 30 percent.” This statistic is critical because it shows that the youth vote has a potential to effectively decide an election, as …show more content…
Despite losing the Democratic nomination to Secretary Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders /// Democratic candidates have consistently utilized social media to encompass a larger scope of potential voters, especially considering the fact that young people are more likely to vote Democrat. Sanders, took advantage of this edge, despite his once remote chances during the primaries (Auerbach 2016). Despite having a third the number of followers as Trump, Sanders “consistently had the most engaged audience of any candidate. The study measured engagement as likes per follower. The top 10 posts by engagement among all of the candidates’ posts were by [Senator] Sanders” (Chaykowski

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