New Media & New Politics

By Amanda Boyko

There really are few things left to say about the 2016 US Presidential election. Coverage of the campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump has saturated social media, especially in the past few weeks. Whether it’s a clever meme poking fun at the state of US politics, or campaign updates from the candidates themselves, as social media users, we know about it.


An increasing distrust of traditional news outlets among the general public and the exponential growth in social media’s popularity has created a societal climate for this presidential election that I can really only describe as a clusterfuck.

On October 7,  a video of Trump speaking about women offensively from 2005 was released (as if you didn’t already know). Trump responded to it in a video of his own via his Twitter account, and instantaneously over 12 million people got the notification. He says that he’s not perfect, expresses regrets about what he said in 2005, deems it simply as “foolish words”, and finishes by declaring that Hillary Clinton and “her kind” have run the United States into the ground, and that Clinton has “bullied, attacked, shamed, and intimidated women”. I actually saw  Trump’s response video on Twitter before I saw the footage itself that he was responding to. His very first move was to use social media.


Illustration: Matt Murphy 


Just today,  Clinton tweeted 31 times and Trump did 18 times. Politics has never been so personal, I feel like I’m in junior high again where gossip is spread faster and with more urgency than the alarm sounding for a fire drill.

Although I’ve attempted to keep an open mind regarding the two presidential candidates, videos and articles on social media heavily advocating against Donald Trump have bombarded me, and I’m sure I’m not alone. By no means am I doubting the validity of the anti-Trump message, but before I could even lookup his campaign platform, I hated him.


Amidst all of the negativity and controversy, I’ve noticed a feeling of togetherness emerge with my family, friends, and peers as this election unfolds. It’s like we’re all anxiously gripping bags of popcorn as we wait for the next shots to be fired over Twitter or wherever else. People come together when crazy things are happening, especially when electronics and social media have given us all a front-row seat.


…but I’m feeling more like that seat is at a comedy show rather than watching a presidential election (and I don’t really mind).




2 thoughts on “New Media & New Politics

  1. Do you think that new media has pushed politics even further into the entertainment industry than it was already? It seems like a lot of people tune into these debates and follow the campaigns not necessarily because they’re interested in policy, but because they’re just waiting to see what crazy things happens next. Like you said, it feels more like a comedy show than actual politics. It’s almost like a reality TV show. Which is fine, people can watch reality TV if they want. But I feel like the stakes are so high in a presidential election, that maybe media outlets should make an effort to portray it more seriously.


  2. I agree. I’ve noticed that the way that I discuss the latest happenings in the presidential election with others is essentially the same as if I’m asking my friends if they saw what just happened on The Walking Dead, and all of the subsequent social media coverage. I mean yeah it’s interesting (who doesn’t like juicy ‘gossip’), but when crazy things happen on a show, the comforting part is that there’s no consequences in real life…


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