Commentary

Clinton Launches White House Bid On Social Media

Already heavily favored to win the Democratic nomination in 2016, Hillary Clinton moved to secure her lead by officially announcing her candidacy on Sunday. In a campaign that promises to borrow heavily from Barack Obama’s techniques for reaching younger voters, Clinton did the President one better by making her announcement on social media -- a first for mainstream candidates.

The Clinton included simultaneous posts on Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook, among other social media platforms, with messages casting Clinton as the advocate of middle- and working-class Americans. The message on Clinton’s official Twitter account read: “I'm running for president. Everyday Americans need a champion, and I want to be that champion,” with a link to her official campaign Web site, www.hillaryclinton.com.

Meanwhile, the YouTube message, “Getting Started,” was a roughly two-minute video ad showing a diverse collection of “everyday” Americans going about their business, with Clinton appearing only about three-quarters of the way into the ad. Speaking directly to the camera, Clinton again emphasized her intention to help Americans who have been struggling through the recession, highlighting young families, retirees, homeowners, and college grads as people looking for work; the video also featured LGBT constituents with two gay couples.

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Clinton reached out to left-wing Democratic primary voters with statements that “the game is fixed” in favor of the wealthy, suggesting that she senses a potential threat from more liberal rivals like Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. The choice to deliver her message via social media also positioned her as the candidate of younger adults, implicitly acknowledging concerns that as a baby boomer Clinton is out of touch with millennials.

As of Monday morning the video had racked up around 2.17 million views on YouTube. The video plays with a YouTube overlay ad for Hillary for America, linking to the Web site.

The New York Times points out that Clinton has favored Twitter for some time, especially after stepping down as Secretary of State, since it allows her to express her positions in short-form messages that circumvent the traditional news media, which she and husband often view as adversarial.

 
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