Campaigning on Social Media: The strategies, the allies and the foes

Both campaigns were very active on social media this year because of restrictions related to the Covid 19 pandemic. With social distancing guidelines, much of the typical ground campaigning techniques like door-to-door canvassing were cast aside and new digital tools were introduced.    

However composing a digital strategy comes with many challenges as anything can happen on social media from legal and straightforward campaign messaging to foreign manipulations. Hugo Bouët and Lucile Bihannic have more on this.  

Q&A: 1. Trump is an avid user of social media. One on the most unique features of his presidency is indeed his intense use of the Internet as a political tool. His posts are very appealing to his followers but can they also help widen his electorate? What is his strategy really? How can one sum it up?

2. There is definitely an advantage to controlling the news cycle the way he does but what this really shows is the inability of American journalists to disrupt his monologue and impose their agenda, wouldn’t you say? 

3. According to experts, two things that resonate most with voters who already have their minds made up are grassroots ground campaigning efforts and PAC & Super PAC advertising, often dubbed attack ads. Will Social media performance be a proxy for electoral success this year? Does digital micro-targeting really have an impact on the result or is it anecdotal?

 4. Facebook and twitter both admitted some shortcomings in the 2016 election and promised to come up with elaborate solutions to combat misinformation and echo chambers. In your opinion, did they succeed in controlling disruptions and manipulations this year? Is it even possible?  

In the last weeks, many celebrities lined up to support one candidate or the other on social media. Celebrities playing a role in American politics isn’t uncommon, but things took a new turn this year as Abdelmalek Benaouina reports.

Q&A: 1. How important are celebrity endorsements in American Politics? 

2. It has been widely reported that Oprah Winfrey played a key role in President Obama’s election. Can any celebrity have the same impact today?

3. Celebrity endorsement is not common in France. However,  in the last presidential election, Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen did receive public encouragements from National Stars.   Is it a sign of Americanisation of French politics? 

Lucile Bihannic, Abdelmalek Benaouina, Hugo Bouët