Opinion

Hashtags and Politics: Don’t Mix Them Together

Alanna Demetrius | The PhoenixLet’s be honest — Gen-Z is truly proving that anyone can make an impact on the world, but #SettleforBiden might not be as helpful as you think.

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Gen-Z scrolls through social media for hours, with personalized for-you pages on TikTok, Snapchat and Instagram. We’ve even figured out how to advocate for the political officials we like through social media. The “#SettleforBiden” hashtag started trending shortly after former Vice President Joe Biden got the Democratic nomination for the President of the United States. While its intent is to help get voters for Biden, it may not be its outcome due to misunderstandings.

The hashtag took action with an Instagram page, whose bio states, “Okay, fine. Biden 2020. We’re a youth-led group of ex-Sanders/Warren supporters working to make Trump a one-term president. All content is original.” As of Sept. 14, the Instagram account has 152,000 followers, sells stickers, promotes facts and even has an Instagram highlight of Biden fan art. The hashtag is meant to sway Democrats — ones who didn’t support Biden in the primaries — to vote for him to make sure President Trump doesn’t get a second term. 

The problem with this hashtag isn’t the intention, it’s the fact that they are associating the word “settle” with a presidential nominee. This intention may get lost when an outsider looks at the hashtag. Voters don’t want to “settle” for the President of the United States — one of the most prestigious positions in the world. Voters who aren’t as educated on the #SettleforBiden movement or those who are indecisive on who to vote for, might not vote for Biden because the word settle is associated with him.

Another problem with the hashtag is possible misinterpretation from uninformed or indecisive voters. From an outside perspective looking in, #SettleforBiden could also cause the other side to take over. A “why would you settle for Biden, when you don’t have to settle for Trump” perspective that hardcore Republicans or Trump supporters could ambush the hashtag with. 

As of Sept. 14, Biden is in the lead, according to CNN. Biden has a lead of 51 percent with Trump shortly behind with 43 percent of the voters. The only problem with these numbers is the margin of error is +/-2.5 with two months until election day. These numbers could change drastically based on anything and there’s no sure way of knowing how many people will vote for Biden or Trump. 

Even if Biden has the numbers from the popular vote, there are the electoral numbers to be taken into consideration. After the 2016 election, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, but Donald Trump won the electoral vote, according to 270toWin — a website that explains the electoral votes a candidate won an election with.

Essentially, the President of the United States isn’t elected by the numbers of the voters, but the numbers of the Electoral College. These electoral votes are made up by electors who are supposed to vote for what the popular vote in their state turned out to be. Which is why every citizen needs to vote in order to truly make an impact on the election. 

Gen-Z has developed a different way of advocating and understanding the moral obligation to vote in elections. Through hashtags, TikToks, Instagram posts and much more, they are changing the game of politics. Hundreds of Gen-Z TikTokers pranked Trump at his Tulsa Rally by registering for tickets to the rally without the intention of going — which may have led to decreased attendance.

The voters that created the #SettleforBiden movements are knowledgeable and know what they want, but that isn’t the case with everybody. Not everyone will go to research a hashtag they saw on some Instagram post.

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