There’s probably never been a US presidential election where content has played a bigger role than it has this year. From late-night tweets and plagiarized speeches to leaked emails, viral videos, and political cartoons, content has been at the center of this election at almost every turn. In some cases, the candidates have used content to share an opinion or express their dissatisfaction. In others, they’ve used it to rally their base or capitalize on an opportunity. Meanwhile, plenty of observers have created content poking fun at what is arguably one of the most unusual presidential elections in US history.
It’s in anticipation of the day we head to the polls that in this post we pay our respects to some of the more interesting, unique, outrageous, and eye-catching content that’s bubbled up out of this year’s election. Enjoy!
A candidate’s website is a huge repository of campaign content. It contains tens of thousands of words about everything from policies and platforms to what the candidates promise to do during their first 100 days in office.
Earlier this year, we used Acrolinx to evaluate the content on both candidate’s websites and wrote an interesting blog post with all of our findings. If you want to see how Trump and Clinton stack up on content quality (along with the other candidates who were still in the race at the time), check out this post. You might be surprised by the results.
Donald Trump (@realDonaldTrump) has 12.9 million followers on Twitter and has tweeted 33,900 times since joining the social media platform in 2009. Throughout the course of this election, he’s been criticized for getting into Twitter fights with his enemies, often going on the offensive. Yet at the same time, he’s managed to use Twitter to mobilize his base to great effect, popularizing hash tags like #CrookedHillary in the process.
Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) has amassed 10.2 million followers since joining Twitter in 2011. During that time, she has tweeted over 9,000 times. Unlike Donald Trump, most of her tweets appear to be sent on her behalf by staff, with the exception of those signed “-H,” which are said to come directly from her. To our knowledge, Clinton doesn’t engage in Twitter warfare.
A meme is a funny image or piece of text that has a way of going viral on the internet, often spreading over social media. There’s been no shortage of memes during this election, including beauties like the ones below.
While it’s unclear what, if any, effect content like this has on the electorate, surely seeing things like this pop up time and time again in social media feeds influences people on some level.
Between the candidates and their surrogates, hundreds of speeches are given in the months leading up to an election. While each one has a role to play in convincing voters, the two speeches that have perhaps stood out most during the election weren’t given by either candidate.
Instead, the speeches that really seemed to make the most headlines were Melania Trump’s remarks at the Republican National Convention, which became controversial when it was discovered that some of the speech had been plagiarized. This was followed up a couple of months later with Michelle Obama’s recent speech in which she confronted recent allegations about Trump.
Hillary Clinton has also come under fire throughout the course of her campaign for being paid large sums of money for speaking events with a variety of Wall Street institutions.
Political cartoons date back to the 18th century, and have been a prominent way for publications to provide commentary on current events ever since. This election cycle hasn’t disappointed, with a seemingly endless array of political cartoons gracing publications around the world for the past 18 months. A couple of our (neutral) favorites include:
Another type of content that seems to have gone viral in this election are videos spoofing the candidates. Saturday Night Live has gotten a lot of attention over the past six weeks by broadcasting mock versions of the presidential debates.
For better or worse, videos like these reinforce ideas about the candidates. Although they’re meant to entertain, it’s safe to say that everyone creating content about the election has some kind of political agenda. Although SNL takes jabs at both candidates, it’s not hard to see who they support.
Content for President?
If nothing else, we think all of this goes to show just how important content is in an election. To be a successful candidate, politicians need to not only master policy, they have to become experts in building and defending their brand through content.
While not everyone will be happy with the outcome of this year’s election, at least take solace in knowing that content has definitely come out as a winner.