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Written by Holland Turner

In my amateur opinion, running for President of the United States is a taller order than it used to be. I realize that candidates know what they’re getting into upon entering the race, but let’s cut them some slack, shall we? All presidential candidates face backlash from their past, scrutiny over their appearance, and the over-analysis of their every word. This has happened in the past and is still happening in the present. However, the current candidates and their respective staffs have to worry about their presence on a totally different platform: social media. Candidates have to make sure that their identities on every social media platform bring fourth their personalities, while representing their potential as leaders and retaining their professionalism.

With this election in particular, we have seen a new form of debate play out that doesn’t involve moderators and TV screens. I’m sure by now you all know that I’m referring to the beast that is Twitter. As if million dollar television smear campaigns aren’t enough, now voters are able to read the candidates unfiltered thoughts about each other with the touch of a finger. In 1960, the winner of the debate between Kennedy and Nixon was largely undecided. Those who listened on the radio sided with Nixon, while those who watched on television were swayed by Kennedy’s charming, All-American appearance. In 2016, debates are decided within 140 characters.

In last week’s debate, Hillary Clinton spoke directly to the American people and urged them to visit her website to view the “fact checking” that ran in real time along with the debate. I personally think this is groundbreaking and a fantastic use of online resources. These two candidates are tackling the challenge of appealing to a generation that grew up with a screen in their hands. With the acknowledgement that candidates are aware that they will not appeal to everyone, these two candidates are using their respective social media profiles to appeal to their core audience. And even if they miss the mark with that, at least it’s entertaining.

Photo credit: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/attacks-fly-in-first-presidential-debate-as-clintons-jabs-put-trump-on-defensive/2016/09/27/c2f0259e-8471-11e6-a3ef-f35afb41797f_story.html

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