As the presidential candidates gear up for the primaries, their battles for the primary party candidate position are being fought on social media platforms, as well as on the road.
Some students at California Baptist University are following candidates as a means of keeping up with the race. However, some refuse to follow the candidates for personal reasons while others cite issues with the U.S. political system, candidates and campaigns.
“This seems like it’s the new way to do it now,” said Dan Ackman, CNet editor in an interview on CBSN. “If you don’t either announce yourself on Twitter or get up there at the same time, your campaign almost seems old-fashioned from the beginning.”
Perhaps it is this fear of appearing old-fashioned that has candidates vying for social media dominance.
“The difference this cycle is that this is the primary method (of reaching out to voters),” Ackman said. “They are connecting over numerous different social media platforms.”
While there are some students following candidates on social media, many are not. The general response from students was a disregard for social media in relation to politics.
Gavin Crews, senior Christian studies major, does not have social media for reasons he said stem from his distaste for the “reality show-like” emphasis it gives to aspects of life. Crews said while he does not, and would not, follow any candidate on social media, he does have a favorite, Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson.
“The greatest thing about Ben Carson is his humble, quiet demeanor,” Crews said. “He isn’t like the other candidates—loud and outspoken. His lack of social media highlights this. He doesn’t make a splash, but it’s a double-edged sword.”
Hannah Theis, senior history major, and Steve Vazquez, junior Christian studies major, both said they feel social media is about grabbing attention.
“The idea of social media is just dumb,” Theis said. “I do not like listening to politicians because I don’t like listening to them bad-mouth each other.”
Vazquez feels similarly, citing the “Saturday Night Live” episode Trump hosted.
“Candidates are misrepresenting the issues and are using social media and reality television to further their campaigns,” Vazquez said.
Crews said it shows a disrespect for the office and says something about the state of our nation.