TikTok, 2020 Presidential Election on the Clock


Courtesy of Alex Castro, The Verge

TikTok has been used to spread information about the election.

Ryan Henry Staff Writer

This week’s election was the main character of all of our narratives this week. Everywhere you turn, there was a sign or post attempting to sway you to act or think in one way or another. 

The way politics has been covered and commentated on has drastically shifted within the last century, more in particular the last four years. Gen-Z has dominated the virtual public sphere, using their enthusiastic and progressive approach to commentate on the issues that the mainstream news fails to uncover. The influence they are demonstrating during these chaotic times will change the way politics is covered for decades to come. 

Comedy has been proven to be a great tool for education, especially with the political landscape we are immersed in. The basic format of political satire has been through into a loop in the most positive way as TikTok, the app that was once at the center of the Trump administration’s destructive gaze, has become the epicenter of powerful political posting. 

From students to influencers with millions of followers, the election is the main punchline used to attract and engage with an audience. Most of the time, trends start out with a non-political punch line, but through the wittiness that is Gen-Z, the satirical strength shines. 

With the numbers of print engagement dropping daily, it doesn’t come as a shock that these short-fitted to sixty second videos are attracting not only the eye of the younger generations but also the politicians who crave their praise. By taking part in the trends and also engaging with the users, they not only gain the attention of the young vote but also the algorithm. 

Just through scrolling my own TikTok feed today, I would say more than 99.9% of the videos on my personalized “For You Page” capitalized on the “viralness” that is the 2020 election. 

Politicians like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Vice Presidential candidate Kamala Harris and President Donald Trump have been examples of using trends that have been surging in popularity in their own personal posts – some far better than others.

Despite its neon pink and blue color scheme, some would say that the app presents a shifting blue view. The tribalism that is present on TikTok should be listed in the terms and conditions when downloaded. 

The trends that have been used by influencers, such as songs and graphics, do at times jab at republican views. Cancel culture looms over the app as influencers and “social commoners” fear shifting too far right as they know the liberal trends will come after them in the end.

Now, we all are looking for some sliver of hope or comic relief during what could be the most stressful and historic weeks in our nation’s most recent history. We should consider though the power and subliminal influence our media consumption has over our personal and political beliefs.