In what is expected to be an audio-only event, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is reportedly about to announce his 2024 presidential bid via Twitter Spaces alongside current CEO Elon Musk at 6 PM EST today, May 24. It is a first-of-its-kind announcement that perhaps sets the playing field for how candidates will manage their campaigns in the future. But is it all just a way for DeSantis and Musk to put the legacy media on notice?
The Precedent Is Set
President Joe Biden notably campaigned from his Delaware home in 2020, releasing heavily produced video clips that kept the American public in the dark regarding his obvious cognitive deficits. With just a handful of small in-person events, voters were still motivated enough to put him in the Oval Office despite being an essentially online presidential bid. If an aged candidate who has a history of plagiarism, outright lies, and has been – as former Defense Secretary Robert Gates put it – “wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades,” – can still win an election, why can’t Ron DeSantis?
Both Musk and DeSantis have exhibited a combative tone when it comes to dealing with what used to be termed the “mainstream media.” The governor often engages in verbal sparring, calling out spin and bias, while the Twitter boss is known for putting journalists on the spot when they attempt to conflate his actions with nefarious purpose. The opportunity to get one over on the Fourth Estate and establish Twitter as the defacto town Square is a move that seems to fit their personalities to a tee.
DeSantis Creates Leverage
The world’s media has traditionally felt that candidates need to be seen on their channels to gain the publicity required to catapult a campaign. There was always the image of a symbiotic relationship in which each side would reap rewards. However, since the press lost its collective mind when Donald Trump won the 2016 election, that relationship has become more parasitic than mutually beneficial.
Certainly, DeSantis will engage with the media when he wants, but it appears this novel launch is a message: I don’t need you.
In 2022, Pew Research found that almost a quarter of all Americans use Twitter – a small market share when compared with other social media giants such as YouTube or Facebook. However, with Musk revamping the platform, cracking down on censorship, and offering a YouTube-esque experience with long-form video options, that pool of users is likely to expand. A quarter of Americans may not seem a dominating number, but considering that only a few hundred thousand people consistently watch CNN and that Fox News (the undisputed leader in the field) garners just a couple of million in its primetime slot, the blue bird’s reach begins to look a little more impressive.
Team DeSantis has demonstrated that it knows how to use Twitter, and being a 24-hour platform would allow his campaign to act and react far more nimbly than candidates who rely on the evening shows.
Musk Makes A Play for the Big Show
Since taking over Twitter, Elon Musk has attempted a number of strategies to both draw in users and to keep them on-site for longer. But it is not the “endless scrolling” he seeks to increase. By allowing for articles to appear in full, up to two-hour video slots streamed and recorded live, and even subscriber accounts to allow creators to monetize their content, his site has become the most innovative in the field. Hosting big news exclusives – such as a DeSantis announcement – gives him one more arrow in his quiver.
By this evening, every major media outlet will be giving free advertising to Twitter, discussing the Twitter Space platform, analyzing why a candidate would opt for a social media debutante ball, and talking about Musk’s company in general. It will be Twitter that is driving the news cycle rather than the other way around.
Is Twitter Changing the World?
Americans are already turning to social media to get their daily news fix – partly because they can watch curated sources, partly because big-box media has shown itself to exhibit consistent bias. If Twitter becomes the place to get the news the legacy outfits are only chasing, it portends a sea change in how candidates and campaigns operate.
All opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Liberty Nation.
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