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Courting the Young American — Campaigns Blitz TikTok

Desperate for their vote, campaigns pander to the young and the restless.

Presidents Joe Biden and Donald Trump have expressed concerns about the Chinese-owned app TikTok but have given up the fight for now, surrendering their national security concerns to more practical affairs. Both campaigns are waging a pitched battle for the young American vote and have begun TikToking. Why? Because if you want to win over those under 30, that’s the place to go.

Liberty Nation News has been closely following the noticeable shift as young Americans seem to be abandoning the Democrats. This doesn’t mean they are storming the gates of the Republican National Committee; however, more than any other demographic, young voters are registering as independents and refuse to pitch their tents with the Democratic Party and its standard-bearer, Joe Biden. This comes as a bit of a shock to the Dems as young people have historically voted left of center. It is not lost on campaign strategists at Biden headquarters that their nemesis, Trump, is picking up a sizable share of the youth vote, and they are scrambling to stanch the bleeding.

Numerous polls show Trump gaining ground with young people and minorities. Now, we can see it in living color on apps, where young folks go to get their news fix. Pew Research Center studied how Americans get their political and cultural information and found those between 18 to 29 are more likely to consume news from digital sites than television or print media. Instead, they surf on over to their favorite websites like Reddit (48%), TikTok (44%), X (36%), Instagram (42%), YouTube (25%), and Facebook (22%). The data also split along gender lines, with more men tuning in to Reddit, YouTube, and X, whereas young women frequent Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook.

Statistics like these are made in heaven for digital campaign operatives. If they want to appeal to young women, they know to head over to TikTok; for young men, Reddit or YouTube is the best bet. In terms of political predilections, all of these online sites tilt or lean Democratic, according to Pew.

If You Can’t Beat ‘Em …

Earlier this month, despite the philosophical seesaw that Trump had with the Chinese-owned app, his campaign threw in the towel and started a TikTok account. As strategist Steven Cheung told CBS News, “Team Trump will leave no front undefended.” Lo and behold, it’s paying off.

In less than three days, the Trump account crushed the Biden campaign account, quickly landing 5 million followers, to 355,000 for the sitting president. As of June 10, Trump’s account has posted 6 million followers. Meanwhile, his first TikTok video showed a UCF crowd in Las Vegas going wild with applause as he glad-handed his way through the audience. That brief video clocked in (are you sitting down?) 87.2 million views.

It’s also worth noting that Robert F. Kennedy Jr. enjoys robust popularity with young independents. His TikTok campaign account has 1.3 million followers.

On June 10, Politico’s Elena Schneider wrote about a new super PAC launched to help Biden’s listing ship with young people. The political action committee will be called Won’t PAC Down and is expected to spend $20–25 million selling Biden to the under-30 set.

With a bit of help from their friends in Hollywood, young producers, writers, and directors plan to generate positive messages about Biden. They aim to place these ads on digital sites like TikTok and Instagram. Still, they know it’s an uphill battle to pitch the octogenarian to the young and the restless. Pollster John Della Volpe admitted to Politico, “The challenge is immense, and that’s why we’re doing this.”

Courting the Young American

Despite best-made plans, Democrats must be reeling from the lackluster numbers Biden has been posting with the younger generation. Both in 2016 and even more so in 2020, the number of young people voting reached epic levels. However, as Liberty Nation News pointed out in a recent article, the high turnout can be directly attributed to ease of voting, which included massive numbers of mail-in ballots. Some states will continue to post ballots, but not at the pandemic-fueled level experienced in 2020.

Based on his initial TikTok reception, it does appear young people have some mojo for Trump. Voters who are enthusiastic about a candidate are more likely to get out and vote. Meanwhile, Don’t PAC Down better get a move on as time is running out. Whether it will be able to gin up some passion and energize the young American voting bloc for Biden is uncertain. Will its $20 million make a difference, or will it be a case of – as the Beatles sang — “Money can’t buy me love.”

Read More From Leesa K. Donner

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