The GOP is having a problem with its messaging. This is not a new phenomenon. The power of social media, however, is a relatively recent phenomenon. Its influence can be felt in almost every aspect of society today.
The bot farms can be used to flood platforms with negative messages that can change the public perception of a company or product by making it appear as if many customers are complaining. Even verifiable complaints can be amplified. It may appear that a large number of people are upset at Coke because they didn’t take a stand against Georgia voter laws when it is actually a small group who do not drink soda.
Social media gives the impression that every child under 18 years old is “gender-fluid” (except for you and your children). It gives the impression that everyone’s home is clean and tidy, except yours. It gives the impression that every parent has their children under control and is in constant contact with them (except for you).
It’s a very effective way to spread messages and influence. China has a good reason for banning TikTok from its children but selling it to ours. Social media can be a virus.
It is a horrible, dark result of modern technology. But it has become a too powerful force in politics for us to ignore. Not so long ago, being influential and famous required a Hollywood moonshot. It only takes a smartphone and an app. Social media has helped the fame market explode. The idea market has also grown.
Democrats are aware of this. While Republicans are sneering at TikTok celebrities being invited to political events or to the White House, Democrats are cultivating new voters by simply getting those who they see the most to repeat what they say. While it’s funny to laugh at the gay flamboyant kid who spent an entire day with Jen Psaki making Instagram videos, a million of her followers have now discovered who Jen Psaki is. They thought she was cool. Tucker Carlson has been on the air for the past two days, but he’s had no effect on these kids who watched Psaki transform the White House into a crash pad for influencers.
It is possible that a large part of this audience will not vote, but even if a small percentage votes for the candidate who appears to be the most cool to them, it can change the entire election. The one issue that GenZ will be most passionate about is abortion. And the content creators who are pro-abortion are both outraged and slick. They also have the support of the algorithms. As we enter the election season, their messages are being shared millions of times over. The Democrats are also supporting them, whether through direct funding or indirect benefits like access to politicians and interviews.
What is the GOP up to?
They are launching a website for fact-checking.
Shapiro says that facts don’t give a damn about feelings, but social media has brought us millions of adults of voting age who either don’t know the facts or think they are only based on the captions of their favorite videos. Democrats are aware of this. They know how deeply ingrained the culture is in the American political mindset. They are the architects.
Because young people do not really vote, the youth vote isn’t important to Republicans. They may talk but they do not vote. This will remain true for the most of time, I think. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they have given up their vote. GenZ may make a Herculean effort if they are convinced by their influencer gods that it is important. One vote can be enough to defeat a Republican challenge. Guess what happened to send their gods into a rage-filled flaming anger? Abortion.
They don’t even visit fact-checking sites.
While they wait to enter class, go to the restroom, or stand in line, they are looking at their Instagram feeds. While getting their ADHD medication refilled, they share videos during lunch breaks and leave comments on viral posts. Progressives know that they get all their political opinions on social media. They know how to go where the voters are. Republicans laugh and issue more white papers. Ronna McDaniel appears on Fox News, acting as if she has just changed the direction of American politics. The consultant class spends millions on radio ads and YouTube videos, as though everyone didn’t just skip them these days.
One TikTok influencer who has a few hundred thousand followers can spread their message much faster than any traditional political advertisement. The left has complained about Trump’s 2016 campaign, claiming that Trump got so much free publicity because mainstream media outlets posted hateful comments and posting angry posts. Democrats then figured out the trick and jumped on board. Why spend millions on a TV ad, when you can pay thousands of dollars (or even hundreds in some cases) to hear a few words from an influential person?
The GOP must stop acting as if they are above the ups and downs of social media culture. The GOP needs to stop acting like the consultant class wins anything anymore. If they gave cash and other perks to a few conservative social media influencers, not the Shapiros but the unknown kids who have millions of views every week, they could get twice as much for half the cost.
Imagine how many pairs Ronna McDaniel can buy with savings.
The GOP should take note of the success the left has had with their messaging. Influencers should be paid right now. Exactly now. Paying those who are already creating and working, not trying to manage them or create them. Give them some cash, teach them the basics of their talking points, and then walk away.
Already, 2024 has begun, and it’s now or never.