Earlier this year, our expert on political campaigning and social media, Dr. Jason Johnson, travelled to Germany for a speaker tour that included discussions with high school students and teachers in Hamburg and Berlin. We were lucky to ask him about his take on the evolving election campaign.
One thing is already clear: The presidential election 2016 will be of historical significance. Not only did the campaign reveal a split between some party representatives and Trump supporters within the Republican party, but also Hillary Clinton had a hard time to overcome Bernie Sanders‘ criticism of the electoral system and his grassroots campaign.
Jason Johnson summarized the presidential election campaign for us like this:
Social media have played a major role throughout the campaign thus far. But this is in itself is not a novelty in 2016. Digital Campaigning has been an important part of the U.S. elections since 1996. It was in the mid and late 1990s that candidates running for the highest political office in the United States began integrating campaign websites into their campaigns. Today social media are a major component of those campaigns and their success. Not surprisingly, Barack Obama‘s first presidential bid in 2008 famously relied on Facebook, his re-election campaign made heavy use of Twitter. In this year’s election, these networks count as important instruments to mobilize voters and volunteers on both sides, the Democrats and the Republicans. And other social networks like Snapchat are about to follow with growing importance.
U.S. political analyst Jason Johnson told us more about the evolving role of social media for the November election:
Jason Johnson is one of our experts on U.S. elections and politics. Until the November elections, we will be forwarding student questions to our experts and post their answers in this blog. To learn more about this, visit the Virtual Town Hall in the U.S. Embassy School Election Project 2016.
Janina Schmidt obtained her B.A. in teaching Economics and English as a Second Language (ESL) at Leuphana University Lüneburg in 2014. After earning her Master's degree (expected 09/2017), Janina intends to teach ESL as well as English for Specific Purposes with an economic focus at vocational schools. As a student assistant she currently supports the development of the U.S. Elections Project 2016.