The demise of Joe Biden’s (D-Delaware) presidential hopes demonstrates that 2020 will be the first YouTube presidential election.
To explain, 2020 will be the first presidential in which streaming video is the dominant media. In fact, a large percentage of voters are getting most of their news and information about the candidates from digital video.
In particular, Biden could go down as the first Presidential candidate YouTube destroyed. It is easy to blame the astonishing Biden campaign collapse on YouTube.
The Rise and Fall of Joe Biden
In December 2019 Biden was leading the Democratic presidential primary race with the support 32% of probable voters, Emerson Polling estimated. Moreover, Biden was the strongest Democratic candidate with the backing of the media, and the Democratic establishment.
However, Biden attracted few votes in the first three 2019 Democratic presidential contests. First Biden finished fourth in the 2019 Iowa Caucus with 15.8% of the vote. Next, Biden finished fifth in the 2019 New Hampshire Primary with 8.4% of the vote.
Finally, Biden finished second in the 2019 Nevada Democratic Caucus Primary with 20.2% of the vote. In fact, Biden received less than half the vote of front runner U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) who received 46.8% of the votes of Nevada Democrats.
How YouTube Destroyed Joe Biden
Voters appear to have a different opinion of Biden than the media and you can blame Alphabet’s (NASDAQ: GOOGL) YouTube.
The media did their best to ignore and cover up Biden’s many gaffes and blunders. In contrast, YouTube broadcasts all those boners for everyone’s enjoyment.
A quick survey of YouTube and Google turns up such video click bait as: Hilarious Joe Biden Moments, Biden’s Web Site Blunder, Biden in Iowa Says ‘Poor Kids’ Are Just as Smart as ‘White Kids’, Joe Biden’s Funniest Gaffes, Joe Biden’s Funniest Moments, Biden’s Blunders, and Former Vice-President Joe Biden’s verbal gaffes.
Thus, the Biden story streaming video tells is in stark contrast to the official media narrative. YouTube portrays Biden as an incompetent clown and raises speculation the former Vice President has dementia.
Video and Podcasts Destroy Joe Biden
Moreover, the mainstream media joined in Biden’s destruction by mimicking the YouTube assault. For example, The Guardian published Joe Biden ‘I am a gaffe machine’: a history of Joe Biden’s biggest blunders as early as 25 April 2019.
Adding to the destruction were podcasters such as Useful Idiots’ Matt Taibbi and Katie Halper, and Rising’s Krystal Ball. Halper and Taibi, in particular, devoted several minutes of their weekly gabfast to discussing Biden’s often bizarre behavior.
The Podcasters and reporters were part of an anti-Biden whispering campaign that extended to the water coolers of America. Word of mouth and media exposure directs millions of eyeballs to the blooper reels. For instance, The Los Angeles Times estimates popular left-wing podcaster; and Biden hater, Krystal Ball attracts 600,000 viewers a day with her Rising morning news show.
Will YouTube pick the Next President?
Thus, the digital video universe makes all the pundits and Democratic leaders portraying Biden as a wise elder statesman look like fools. I think YouTube destroyed the credibility of both Biden and his backers with videos.
Consequently, voters are seeking other candidates with no embarrassing video trails. In particular, the lackluster Pete Buttigieg (D-Indiana) tied Sanders in the Iowa Caucuses. Moreover, the little-known U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) came in third in New Hampshire with 19.8% of the vote, in contrast Biden received 8.4% of the Granite State’s vote.
I think the lack of YouTube exposure is part of the appeal of obscure candidates such as Klocbuchar, Buttigieg, and Tom Steyer (D-California). To explain, people vote for those candidates because they find no embarrassing videos of them on YouTube.
Likewise, almost all the video of Democratic presidential front runner Sanders is of the maverick Senator’s speeches or interviews. Hence, Sanders appears to be a wise elder statesman, an expert on the issues, or a tribune of the people on YouTube. In contrast on YouTube, Biden is that embarrassing old man who keeps saying stupid stuff.
YouTube’s Incredible Reach
Pew Research Center data shows YouTube is the most popular and powerful media in America.
Pew estimates that 73% of U.S. adults watched YouTube videos in June 2019. Moreover, 78% of American men and 68% of American men watched YouTube videos in June 2019.
Dramatically, Pew estimates 91% of U.S. adults between 18 and 19 and 87% of American adults between 30 and 49 watched YouTube videos in June 2019. In addition, 70% of Americans between 50 and 64 watch YouTube videos, Pew calculates.
Therefore, Biden was being portrayed as a dottering old clown on America’s most popular video platform, but no journalists or campaign strategists noticed.. Meanwhile, the journalists and campaigns devote resources to media that reach a tiny percentage of the population.
For example, the most popular Cable TV news network Fox News had 1.948 million total day viewers and 3.528 million prime-time viewers in February 2020, The Wrap estimates. Thus, I calculate less than 1% of America’s population watches the most popular cable TV news network on an average day. To explain, Worldometers estimates the US population was 331 million in February 2020.
Could Podcasters Pick a President?
The average viewership of the cable networks is far worse. The Wrap estimates Fox News had 341,000 average total-day viewers and MSNBC had 157,000 average total-day viewers in February 2019. Thus, YouTube star Krystal Ball could reach a larger audience than any of the big U.S. cable news personalities.
Not surprisingly, the breakout candidate of the 2020 Democratic presidential campaign was Andrew Yang who first attracted attention with an appearance on the Joe Rogan Experience. Social Blade estimates Rogan had 7.55 million YouTube subscribers on 26 February 2020. Yang stayed in the race longer and out-polled many established politicians including media darling and U.S. Senator Corrie Booker (D-New Jersey).
Importantly, the Democratic frontrunner U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) also appeared on The Joe Rogan Experience. In addition, Rogan has endorsed Sanders, Vox reports.
The YouTube Election
Therefore, 2020 could be the first YouTube Presidential election. Thus, 2020 could be similar to 1960.
To explain, 1960 was the first television election in which most Americans got most of their news from television. A notable highlight of the 1960 contest was the first live televised presidential debate.
Some observers think Vice President Richard M. Nixon’s (R-California) poor appearance on that debate cost him the election. Oddly, people who listened to the debate on radio thought Nixon won. However, TV viewers thought U.S. Senator John F. Kennedy (D-Massachusetts) won because of a better physical appearance.
1960 vs. 2020
In 1960 Nixon, similarly to Biden today, thought he could ignore a new medium and lost. When he ran again in 1968, however, Nixon embraced TV.
The candidate who looked bad on TV in 1960 was clowning around on the bizarre sketch comedy show Laugh-In by 1968. Tellingly, Nixon won the 1968 presidential election.
Television, like YouTube today, was not a new medium in 1960. In fact, TV broadcasts began in the late 1930s. However, 1960 was the first year television reached most Americans.
Likewise streaming video has been around since the 1990s and YouTube began in 2005. However, YouTube only became a popular medium recent years.
Hence, 1960 was the first year TV could impact a presidential election. Similarly, I predict 2020 will be the first year in which YouTube could impact a presidential election.
Who will Win the YouTube Election?
Therefore, the person with the best YouTube appearance could be the next president of United States. Currently, I think that person is Bernie Sanders, but a candidate’s YouTube persona could change fast.
For example, one embarrassing or unsettling video of Sanders could sink his campaign. For instance, video of Sanders using the N word, forgetting his lines, or tripping and falling.
However, Sanders’ probable Republican opponent President Donald J. Trump (R-Florida) could be in greater danger from YouTube. Remember, there are vast numbers of embarrassing videos of Trump out there.
Could YouTube Destroy Trump?
Notably, all the skits Trump recorded for his infamous World Wrestling Entertainment (NYSE: WWE) appearances. Trump also appeared in a porno movie, silly TV commercials, and ridiculous movie videos. Notably there is video of Trump in overalls singing the Green Acres theme song.
Then there’s legendary The Apprentice Tapes. Apprentice and Trump White House alumni Omarosa Manigault Newman claims there is video of the President using nigger and other offensive language.
Interestingly, I think video of Trump referring to Southerners as Rednecks or mocking Christians could do more damage than the Donald using the N-Word. To explain, there could be video of Trump mocking and insulting the voters he needs most.
Nobody knows if The Apprentice tapes are real because Comcast’s (NASDAQ: CMCSA) NBC-Universal and producer Mark Burnett have gone to great lengths to suppress them. However, Trump has enemies including intelligence services that could easily penetrate any security and publicize those tapes.
The Power of YouTube
What happens if such video appears on YouTube on 1 September or 1 October 2020? Note I think such video will have to surface in June or July 2020 to do real damage.
Unlike television’s impact, YouTube’s influence is not instant. Instead, YouTube videos spread slowly. YouTube videos move slow because they spread by gossip, rumor, and word of mouth.
For example, people hear about that embarrassing YouTube video at the water cooler, the corner bar, or on their favorite podcast. Hence, YouTube is slower than TV, but it could be more influential.
To explain, when your best friend, your sibling, that coworker you respect, your favorite podcaster, or your spouse recommends a YouTube video, you watch it. Hence, unlike something promoted by TV talking heads, watch that video. Additionally, you can catch that YouTube video time on your phone, or on your computer at work.
Thus, a destructive YouTube video could be online for weeks or months before a campaign notices it. I think nobody at the Biden campaign noticed the destructive videos, although some of the worst Biden videos have been floating around for years. Hence, the video that destroys Trump or Sanders could already be on YouTube now, and nobody notices it.
Therefore, 2020 is the YouTube election. Hence, we need to pay more attention to YouTube than “traditional media.”