Election 2016 and social media, from campaigning to “vote trading”

ROANOKE (WSLS 10) – Election Day is only one week away. The 2016 election season is one for the books, complete with scandals on both sides of the aisle.

From the candidates, to the scandals, the 2016 race to the White House has certainly been one of the most talked about, as well as unusual elections in history.

Just as the 24-hour news cycle changed the race years ago, social media has made this election literally go viral.

“Social media has had a huge impact, an unprecedented impact,” said WSLS 10’s political analyst Dr. Ed Lynch.

Yard signs that show your support to neighbors and drivers passing by have now evolved to a quick post on Facebook that can be seen by the world.

Voters are taking to social media, and so are the candidates. Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have accounts on Twitter and Facebook.

“Certainly Donald Trump has depended largely on social media. I heard one glib remark the other day that if Twitter didn’t exist, Donald Trump wouldn’t exist,” Lynch said.

According to a study by Pew Research Center, 44 percent of American adults claimed to have received election information via social media.

“We are essentially walking people door to door over the internet,” said John Stubbs, co-founder the Republicans for Clinton group R4C16 and Trump Traders.

Launched only a week and half ago, Trump Traders targets third-party voters in battleground states that oppose Donald Trump. The group fears that third-party voters could in the end, help Trump win.

This is a statement from their site.

“We get it. Secretary Clinton is not your favorite. But at this point she is the only one standing between Trump and the White House. If Mr. Trump wins the election the Republican Party becomes the party of Trump, and that’s probably the least of our problems.

If you are #NeverTrump but want to support Gary Johnson or another third party candidate in a swing state, don’t do it. You may toss the election to Trump.

Instead, find a friend in a state that’s safely blue or red – they’ll vote for your third party candidate in exchange for your vote for Clinton.”

Don’t allow Gary Johnson to be the Ralph Nader of the 2016 election.


As an alternative to voting for a third-party candidate in a battleground state, the site allows those voters to essentially trade their vote with another voter who is a Clinton supporter in a non-battleground state Clinton is projected to win.

“These are your never-Trump, don’t love Hillary people who like third-party candidates and want to have a more expanded conversation about third parties in this country,” Stubbs said.

Stubbs says “vote trading” is a tactic that has been successful in campaigns in other countries.

Since it’s launch on social media Stubbs said it’s connected 10,000 voters.

“The response has been tremendous,” Stubbs said.

This quarter, Facebook reported 1.71 billion monthly users, Twitter reported 313 million users

With those types of numbers, and the impact social media has had on this year’s election  Lynch said it’s safe to say this type of online campaigning will stick around for future elections.

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