Twitter – Moderate Democrats Adopt A Biden-Era Playbook: Twitter Isn’t Real Life
In the wake of a presidency defined by a bombastic Twitter presence, moderate Democrats seeking higher office are taking a page from the social media-averse strategy that propelled President Joe Biden to the Democratic nomination in the hope of fending off more tech-savvy progressive foes.
The most recent example came Friday with the launch of Rep. Conor Lamb’s (D-Pa.) U.S. Senate campaign – he said in his first campaign ad, “These are serious times, and we won’t win this race on Twitter.”
Though Lamb has about 150,000 followers on Twitter and 41,000 on Facebook, his following pales in comparison to that of his main progressive rival, Pennsylvania’s Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who has 410,000 followers on Twitter and 100,000 on Facebook.
Lamb’s comments echo those of Eric Adams, the moderate who won the Democratic nomination for New York City Mayor in June, who declared in his primary victory speech, “I don’t care what people tweet. I care about the people I meet on the street.”
Adams, whose 27,000-follower Twitter account was only recently verified, beat back several high-profile foes like former presidential candidate Andrew Yang and MSNBC contributor Maya Wiley, who have 1.9 million and 453,000 Twitter followers respectively.
Adams has dubbed himself the “Biden of Brooklyn,” and it’s a fitting nickname through the lens of social media: Biden famously doesn’t write his own tweets, unlike his prolific predecessor, and some of his top staffers don’t even have official Twitter accounts.
“I think it’s safe to say that the president spends a lot less time obsessing over social media than the former president,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said last month when asked about Trump suing Twitter, Facebook and Google to overturn his bans on their platforms.
484,000. That’s the number of Twitter followers amassed by Nina Turner, a progressive superstar and former Ohio state legislator who lost a U.S. House primary on Tuesday. Cuyahoga Democratic Party chair Shontel Brown, the relatively moderate winner of that contest, has just 27,000 followers and, unlike Turner, is not verified – a reassuring sign for Lamb.
One reason candidates like Brown and Adams are able to prevail despite their meager followings is that frequent Twitter users make up a miniscule portion of the overall population. Just 22% of American adults use Twitter, and the top 10% of tweeters generate 80% of the tweets, according to Pew Research data from 2019, which also found Twitter users skew more politically left-wing than the American electorate overall.