On November 3rd, 2020 our country underwent the most salient election of all time. Millions upon millions of citizens went out to cast their ballots on who they thought to be the best choice for our nation’s future. Former Vice President Joe Biden came out victorious with an electoral college vote of 302 as well as a popular vote of over 79 million votes while President Donald Trump concluded the four day election with 232 electoral votes, and 73 million popular votes. Although Biden’s success sprouted directly from the voices of we the people, there were many factors that contributed to this election. The most important component being the influence of modern social media.
As we are all familiar with the news channels like CNN, and Fox News that have been around for decades, they unfortunately do not appeal to the younger generations. Nonetheless, important information from these two sources is transferred to a more modern form of social media that is able to target younger generations. It is an extremely popular as well as sensational app referred to as Tik Tok in which users can display 15-60 second videos showing off their creativity which includes, but is not limited to; dancing, singing, comedic jokes, etc… As the election grew closer, Tik Tok became infiltrated with political discussions and heated arguments regarding which candidate would best meet the criteria of what citizens thought our country needed. Those on the app would often scroll down their “For You Page,” an explore page specifically wired to the user’s personal interests, and find snippets of Presidential debates sourced from different news channels. Children who were not able to vote yet would watch said clips, and find themselves forming political opinions of their own, and engaging in heated debates amongst other users. One of the most popular topics of discussion over the debates was President Donald Trump’s insensitive comment towards Vice President Joe Biden’s second oldest son, Hunter Biden. Hunter had previously struggled with a drug addiction in the past, but had overcome it in recent years. Trump’s attack on Vice President Biden’s son hurt millions of American families touched by the storm of drug abuse, including users on Tik Tok. Not only did citizens begin to lose respect for their President, but they also began to advocate against him. Within the app, underage users would encourage those, who were of age, to go out and vote for Biden. They displayed links directed to voting websites, and shared tutorials on how to register. Other users came up with catchy slogans, such as “Vote Blue” or “GenZ for Biden” which soon spread all over the app. Celebrities entered the app to also display efforts to persuade others to vote for Joe Biden as well. Nonetheless, Trump supporters soon followed and downloaded the app to set forth their own political opinions, and convince Tik Tok users to vote red. They began to display certain clips of other debates, and focused their attention on Joe Biden’s stage presence rather than the arguments or points he was making during the actual discussion. Those in favor of Trump began to come up with certain catchphrases such as “Sleepy Joe” or “Slow Joe” in order to demonstrate to their followers why they thought President Donald Trump was the best fit. Right-leaning users also made comments about Vice President Joe Biden’s speech impediment, a stutter, to ridicule not only him, but his following as well. Both of these tactics used to support these candidates were significant for they had a direct impact on the outcome of the election. Many users were persuaded to vote one way over the other based on what they had seen on this platform of social media. This is exactly what made the 2020 election unique, and different from all other Presidential elections in the past. Millions of people, all different ages, were able to get involved through the most recent as well as popular form of social media, Tik Tok. Younger generations were able to encourage, and demonstrate their own political views which in turn helped to shape the older generation’s voting choice. However, no matter the amount of satisfaction or discontent over the outcome of the Vice President’s landslide victory, everyone can agree on one thing. That being that this election will certainly be one to remember.