Democrats Take Campaign to TikTok

Democrats Take Campaign to TikTok

Senate candidate Jon Ossoff reaches out to young voters through popular videosharing social network.

A rising sophomore at Georgetown University, Nathan plans to major in government and minor in film and media studies as well as statistics, hoping to eventually get into a career creating digital content for campaigns or  covering them for the Atlanta Jewish Times and other media outlets.

Nathan Posner // Jon Ossoff takes a selfie with a young supporter during a march to support  early voting in Gwinnett County on December 14th.
Nathan Posner // Jon Ossoff takes a selfie with a young supporter during a march to support early voting in Gwinnett County on December 14th.

If you are familiar with TikTok, you likely have seen everything from dancing to cooking videos to anything else that can be filmed on a phone. While there is a large amount of political content, what may surprise you is the ever-growing amount of content either fanning over Democrat Jon Ossoff or encouraging young Georgia voters to get out and vote for the Democrat slate in the upcoming January runoff elections.

Ossoff, at 33, would be the youngest current senator and is believed to be the second-youngest Georgia senator ever elected, as well.

The Ossoff campaign has taken the social media approach of previous campaigns to a new level. With content aimed directly at young voters in an app vastly dominated by young people, Ossoff and the Democratic party aim to turn out support for his campaign, as well as young voters.

While other campaigns have focused on social media apps that have larger reach into groups that already have high voting rates, Ossoff and the Democratic party are focusing on young voters who historically have had a low turnout rate, especially in non-presidential elections. As of Dec. 10, Ossoff has amassed over 130,000 followers on the platform with many of his videos attracting millions of views.

Jon Ossoff has proven to be very popular on TikTok, which is helping him connect with young voters.

The content has ranged from talking about the importance of voting to attacking Sen. David Perdue, Ossoff’s opponent. With TikTok, users can create minute-long or shorter videos with their own audios or a variety of audios available on the app. Usually these audios are associated with a dance, video type, or something else that is unique to the video, with the associated audio, which can be used by any user on their own video. Ossoff has been creating content that is relatable to young people, highlighting common experiences that he may have with this key voting demographic.

One recent video went along with the TikTok theme of “aesthetics,” another in which he “dueted,” or paired, a video advocating for people to register to vote. A particularly popular video recently featured Ossoff talking about the importance of young voters, highlighting a clip from a recent debate in which Perdue’s lectern was empty because he declined to participate. As Ossoff said, “So for the whole TikTok family out there: make a plan to vote.”

Although this outreach may not seem so spectacular to those who are regulars on the app, the direct outreach from a major party candidate for statewide federal office is believed to be a first. While previous campaigns have used TikTok, most accounts supporting political candidates have been maintained by fans.

Before Ossoff created his own account, fans ran two large accounts, one a general support page and the other a “students” for Ossoff page. Both accounts found moderate success, with many of their videos reaching tens of thousands of people, but Ossoff’s direct involvement in his own account has taken the “Ossoff fan base” on TikTok to a new level.

Many of the videos complement Ossoff on his looks. Even his fellow candidate Rev. Raphael Warnock acknowledged in a TikTok video on the students for Ossoff and Warnock account that “some of you think my running mate Jon Ossoff is a good-looking guy. … If you’re into all that hair, I guess he’s okay.” This is a tamed-down version of what is expressed in some of the comment sections in these videos.

Nathan Posner // Jon Ossoff greets young supporters during a march in support of early voting in Gwinnett County on December 14th.

Many of the videos from mostly young supporters of Ossoff focus on Perdue’s controversial stock trades, as well as debate performances. Other videos use audio with the remarks “There he is! There’s my favorite white boy!” in which videos of Ossoff are shown. While most of the videos have been comedic in nature, many focus on the importance of the Senate runoff and available voting options for young people, along with voting deadlines. The videos may seem a little off the cuff, but young people have embraced them, a step toward satisfying the Democrats’ goal of getting young voters out in historic numbers to vote in the Senate runoffs.

@bellagracelyi love him sm #biden#biden2020#voteblue#jonossoff#democrat#liberal#foryou#foru#fyp#foryoupage#featureme#trending#viral#voteyourossoff#election#blorgia♬ original sound – Jordan levy

@jewslovetrees#voteyourossoff #fyp #jewish #trees #georgia @jon♬ original sound – tobin.mitnick

@jonEarly voting starts next week, Dec 14th! #VoteYourOssoff #GASenateRunoff♬ crimewave by crystal castles – kermishy

@jon#duet with @stanzipotenza Thanks Stanzi for getting out the word — I had to duet. Today is the LAST day to register to vote for the January 5th runoff♬ original sound – Stanzi

@tillary.clinton#stitch with @jon I found David Perdue #jonossoff #perdue #georgia #runoff #davidperduechicken #georgiarunoff♬ original sound – Peter Scattini

read more: