Oprah, Facebook, Beyoncé, and the Media: Components of the Beginning of the President’s 2012 Campaign
While the country is in shambles, our bombs are raining overseas, and gas and energy prices are putting people in the poor house, our President has begun his 2012 campaign. He hasn’t done so by approaching these issues, but instead by making himself more visible as a pop culture icon.
On April 20th, Barack Obama held a video town hall which was hosted on Facebook, obviously the world’s most popular social medium. On April 27th, Barack and his wife attended and were featured in one of the final episodes of the Oprah Winfrey Show, which has been reported to be aired on May 2nd. On May 3rd, a video promoting Michelle Obama’s fitness initiative will be released featuring Beyoncé, who is the highest paid celebrity under 30, appears in commercials, on tours, and is one of the most popular music artists in the world. And of course we know that the media is always suckling at the teat.
So what does this do for Obama? As a member of the youth and being surrounded by college students on a daily basis, I may be in a better position to help the less connected conservatives understand. According to CBS News, 19% of the voting population for the 2008 Presidential election was between the ages of 18 and 29. Meanwhile, during the 2010 elections, the same demographic only made up 9%. This particular demographic was critical to the Obama election as 68% of the voters who turned out voted for him and the Democratic Party.
Approaching the popular culture is the best way for the President to stay in the presence of that demographic, so targeting these outlets is the best way to do that. Obama is making an effort to go after the young voter early on, knowing that it will lead to word of mouth discussion, the spark that becomes a blazing fire.
Meanwhile, Republicans haven’t followed suit. The closest that they have gotten has been with Donald Trump who has been effective enough to push the President’s hand on the birth certificate issue, all the while other conservative hosts, politicians, and bloggers have attacked Trump, challenging his history on issues regarding universal health care and anti-free market remarks.
The Republicans need to find a representative that they can push out to the youth and that the youth will be confident in getting behind. John McCain was never the right person to take on Obama for that target demographic. I am not sure that we have yet seen the candidate who would be good for that, other than Trump and only him because of his charisma, television show, and global identity.
This country can’t take four more years of this ideologue without crumbling beyond recognition and capability of recuperation. The Republican Party has to get serious about a candidate who can transform the youth’s perception of the Republican Party as a bunch of heartless, money hungry and warmongering people. It’s also important that all conservatives are aware of their constituents who are being watched and address them, including the Tea Party members who have been filmed committing acts of violence and been accused of racism and public drunkenness. Without this transformation and state of awareness, it is going to be hard to win this election against Barack Obama. He has all of the tools he needs at his disposal, including the $1 billion expected to be spent on his election campaign.
Finally, I would like to remark that I am appalled that my spell checker knows of the accent over the final “E” in Beyoncé.