While some races for the 2022 midterm elections are yet to be determined due to the likes of mail-in ballots not having been fully counted, what many on the right thought was going to be a “red wave” across the country has seemingly turned out to be more of a red splash – and the blame game fomenting from party infighting (and outside speculators) is starting to point the finger at Trump for this outcome.
But the outcome of this election cycle not being as strong for Republicans as many had hoped can’t be squarely blamed on Trump, as there’s a more likely culprit at the center of this fiasco: TikTok.
On November 7th, a day before the midterm elections, The Nation published an article titled, “Can Gen Z Save the Midterms for Democrats,” posing the possibility of there being what was referred to as a “youth wave” of voters aged between 18 and 29 that will “upend the conventional narrative” of election outcomes.
In the abovementioned article, 19-year-old Olivia Julianna, who serves as the director of politics and government affairs for Gen Z for Change (obviously, a leftist youth movement) told the outlet, “There’s a lot of polls that are conducted over the phone and by voluntary digital polling. Young people are very rarely [included] in those polls, so they’re underrepresented.”
The sentiment expressed by Julianna doesn’t seem too farfetched, but what is all the more interesting is how the group Gen Z for Change got off the ground to begin with – it was apparently born from “a coalition of TikTok creators using digital media to organize young people against former president Donald Trump.”
According to a November 9th report from The Telegraph, the under-30s demographic of voters largely voted in favor of Democrat candidates this midterm, meaning that the Democratic messaging has resonated with Gen Z, or as I like to call them, the TikTok generation.
This isn’t a coincidence, as youths were early adopters of TikTok (which used to be called Musical.ly before being acquired by ByteDance in 2018 and rebranded as TikTok), and young leftist content creators seized the opportunity to inundate young adults and those coming of age with pro-leftist messaging.
Simultaneously, those on the right largely ignored TikTok in terms of both consuming and creating content on the platform, thereby allowing the leftists creating content on TikTok to essentially have a monopoly on many first-time voters and those who’ll be among the age of majority in the next several election cycles.
In fact, one of the reasons why the Twitter account Libs of TikTok is so shocking to run of the mill conservative voters and pundits is because conservative voters and commentators largely have never bothered to use TikTok at all for the several years it has been an established platform.
This is basically the Hollywood mistake all over again with respect to conservatives, as Republicans have by and large ceded ground to the left by willfully ignoring or innocuously not participating in the creative arena captivating youthful audiences.
Is a lot of the stuff on TikTok cringy? Yes, it is – but that is where the next generation of voters have their eyeballs glued, and nothing says that conservative content creators and voices have to be cringy when contributing to platforms like TikTok (or whatever the next thing will be that youngsters adopt in the coming years).
Folks on the right often lionize the late Andrew Breitbart but seem to be failing to uphold one of his greatest pieces of advice rendered before his passing: Politics is downstream from culture.
Whether folks on the right want to admit it or not, TikTok is a platform where culture is created and disseminated to youths, and the captive TikTok audience has been flooded with leftist culture which has manifested into these youths harboring leftist politics.
It’s basically the equivalent of the shrieking socialists the right associates with college campuses having direct conduit to kids through their phones, rendering a collegiate level of leftist indoctrination without these youngsters ever having to set foot on a college campus.
Did Trump make some odd endorsements and boost questionable candidates this midterm cycle? Absolutely, but that tidbit alone isn’t what hindered the highly sought after red wave; the biggest blow to it was the constant stream of “orange man, and all in his proximity, bad” content on TikTok that had essentially zero counter-messaging from the right on the very same platform.
But it cannot be stressed enough just how much of a hold the far-left has on TikTok and, by default, the younger generation, with outlets like The Washington Post boasting about how “influencers” on the platform are peddling propaganda to kids about the trans agenda, Medicare for all, and raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour (among other leftist tenets).
Republicans can learn a lot from this latest midterm cycle, with one of the most important things being to stop sleeping on emerging social platforms or outright dismissing them because they may already be steeped in leftism. It’s just plain bad strategy to dismiss certain social platforms that are among those being adopted by today’s youth, because that is where the next generation of voters are actively congregating online.
Conservatives can foment some of the greatest arguments against leftism or present some generally appealing policy proposals to would-be young voters, but those well-crafted arguments and tantalizing policy prescriptions aimed at youths are pointless if we’re not actively taking steps to make sure they’re being heard.
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