Dem 51
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GOP 49
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Trump Dominates TikTok

Young voters get much, if not most, of their so-called news from TikTok. And Donald Trump dominates TikTok. It is not clear if the Chinese government actually supports Trump or Trumpers have organically taken over TikTok. It is possible that the Chinese government, which is not stupid, understands that Joe Biden is a far greater threat to them than Trump. Trump's response to China was to put a 10% tariff on imported t-shirts and other imports, something that American consumers pay. Biden's response was to get the CHIPS act passed, which resulted in Intel building a $100 billion chip plant in Ohio and the biggest Taiwanese semiconductor company building a $40 billion chip plant in Arizona. When completed, these will greatly reduce America's dependence on China for the most advanced chips. Oh, and Biden also badgered the Dutch government into forbidding ASML, the only company in the world that makes advanced chip-making machines, from selling any of them to China. China did not like this because it would probably take 10 years or more to catch up to today's technology, and ASML is not standing still. Which of these guys is a bigger threat to China? We ask, you answer. Oh wait, we already gave the answer. Sorry about spoiling the quiz.

Nominally, Trump leads Biden with 7.4 million TikTok followers to 400,000 for Biden, but many of Trump's followers could be Russian bots. Also, TikTok attracts a younger audience, and some followers of both candidates could be too young to vote. Naturally, with younger viewers, Biden's age of 81 is a big deal. Trump's age of 78 and many mental lapses doesn't seem to register with anyone. One thing Biden has going for him is the influencer Olivia Julianna (21), who has 670,000 followers—more than Biden—and she is not running for anything. She says that what she has seen on social media is not what the pundits are saying. It is more: "I'd rather vote for Grandpa Democracy than Grandpa Dictator."

One review of TikTok content shows that there is twice as much pro-Trump content as pro-Biden content. How come? One possible reason is that posters on the right have to take fire from posters on the left, but that's pretty much it. They expect that from the devil's spawn and it doesn't bother them. Similarly, posters on the left get flak from posters on the right, which they expect and can handle. However, they also get a lot of incoming fire from the left as well. Heaven help a leftist who is "wrong" on any issue, be it Israel, immigration, or the police. The right knows that it has to stick together to win. The left demands 100% conformance on every single issue. The core reason is that the Republicans are very homogeneous. A large fraction of them are churchgoing, rural (or semi-rural), working class white men (or their tradwives). The Democratic coalition is a mix of different constituencies, ranging from affluent white suburbanites with advanced university degrees to poor Black folks who dropped out of high school. It is not surprising that they are not always on the same page on every single issue. This divergence is inevitable but it would be better for the Party if the various groups agreed that the worst Democrat is better than the best Republican and laid off some of the criticism for the greater good.

Another reason that Trump trumps Biden on TikTok is that a lot of pro-Biden content is very policy-driven and intellectual. The pro-Trump content is more "I'm Donald Trump. Watch me do cool stuff with cool people." The pro-Trump content caters to the audience better. Another factor is that many young people are having trouble paying the rent. They don't want to hear about global logistics, supply chains, and comparative international inflation rates. They want to know what Biden is going to do about their problem. Another thing Biden supporters absolutely have to do is stop shaming young voters. Saying "Remember 1968? Remember 1924?" Well, they don't. Many are passionate but not well informed. Biden has to inform them, but in a user-friendly way. Interviews with young influencers about his life (What's it like to live in the White House? Is the food any good? What do you do for fun?) rather than talking about NATO or tax policy might help, but he doesn't get it. He really needs one or more young staffers who are really into TikTok and who are on this all day long. (V)

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