While social media and the modern Internet have been around since the days of the second Bush Administration, it is the 2016 presidential election in which we see it being used in ways both unique and interesting. From Bernie Sanders’s large presence on Facebook to the numerous hashtags that spring up on Twitter that unite people towards a similar cause, it is clear that future elections will never be the same.
Though Trump and Hillary Clinton have embraced this as part of their attempts to appeal to young people, there is always the chance that mishaps be exploited by Internet users for laughs. We saw this with Clinton during the Democratic Primary in which her request to elicit reactions to student debt through emojis backfired, and now a similar thing is happening to Trump in two ways.
The first is the emergence of the hashtag #ManyPeopleAreSaying. This arose after Trump included the phrase in a Tweet about the executed Iranian scientist, and subsequently many Internet users began to notice its recurring usage in several of Trump’s speeches. In a way, this can be seen as a criticism of political talking points wherein politicians will deliberately generalize a statistic to avoid going into specifics.
The second is the criticism of the Trump gold card. To give some backstory, in an email to all his supporters, the Trump campaign encouraged people to donate in exchange for ownership of a Trump Executive Membership Card. Of course, nothing spells working class than more elitist snobbery. Regardless, people on Twitter have taken to bashing the concept as inane, and representative of Trump’s past failures as a businessman.
We hope to see more of these arise as the election season heats up!