Why Snapchat and Facebook can win Joe Biden in the US elections

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Social platforms incorporate many anti-Donald Trump youths in Republican states into the electoral roll.

The United States has 330 million inhabitants, of which 245 million are over 18 years old and can vote. However, due to various historical and socio-cultural circumstances that demobilize the electorate and that, in addition, it is necessary to register to vote, turnout is very low. Even in presidential elections like those on November 3, abstention may be around 40%. This means that only about 140 million Americans will vote.

If we add to this low participation the fact that in the United States no one is incorporated by default into the electoral roll, the challenge is great to fill the ballot boxes with votes. The most marginalized and vulnerable social groups, in addition, they have always had many difficulties voting.

There are few votes and in states with a lot of equality, each one of them has an extraordinary weight. There have been presidential elections, such as 2000 (Gore-Bush) and 2016 (Clinton-Trump), which were decided by a handful of votes.

Faced with this reality, it is easy to understand that there are hundreds of American organizations, civic and private, that are dedicated to facilitating voting, starting with the citizen’s registration in the electoral roll of their state.

The main social platforms have joined this collective effort this year. Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter and YouTube, as well as Google, have encouraged their users to vote and they have provided the tools to do so during a mobilization campaign that is now ending.

Facebook, for example, ensures that has managed to register 2.5 million people, also through Instagram and Messenger. Snapchat, meanwhile, has registered more than a million.

80% of the records that Snapchat has achieved are from people under 30 years old and half are the first time they have registered to vote. Young people between the ages of 18 and 23 (Gen Z) and those between 24 and 39 (Millennials) prefer Biden over Trump by a ratio of two to one.

Snapchat claims that it has had many registrations in traditionally Republican states, such as Texas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina. Except for Texas, which Trump seems to have tied up, in the other four states the polls give Biden a chance of victory. These four states, in addition to Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, are hinge states, that is, in 2016 they voted for Trump and now they could do it for Biden.

Donald Trump, in 2016, won Wisconsin by 22,257 votes, Michigan by 11,833 and Pennsylvania by 68,236. In Florida, a state in which 9.5 million people voted, he won by 112,911 votes. These very narrow margins are a clear indicator of how hard every vote is fought there and how important it is to the Biden campaign to get new voters, especially young people who had not reached the age of majority four years ago.

Registration requirements vary from state to state and can be established with the main objective of making things difficult for citizens who have a harder time asserting their rights. The Atlantic published two years ago, in the wake of the midterm elections, a study he conducted with an institute aimed at promoting religious freedom showing that blacks and Latinos are three times more susceptible that whites have difficulty registering and voting.

Some southern states, with a Republican majority, have removed thousands of citizens from the electoral roll on the grounds of fighting against electoral fraud. Between 2018 and 2019, for example, in Texas, Ohio and Georgia 160,000 people were removed from the census when the electoral authorities understood that they did not meet the requirements to vote.

Many voters did not find out that they had lost the right to vote until they went to the polling station on Election Day, too late to re-register. Only 20 states, other than the District of Columbia, allow you to register on Election Day.

This limitation, again, disproportionately harms Blacks and Latinos, people at the bottom of the work pyramid who have more difficulties to move outside their working hours.

Trump, as reiterated last week in his first face-to-face with Biden, does not trust the electoral system. Shake up the specter of fraud whenever you can. He is convinced that he can only lose if there is fraud and threatens not to accept the result if he is defeated. The president is promoting a disinformation campaign about fraud, which is leading to an unprecedented intervention, both from the administration and the justice system.

Social platforms, which in 2016 favored the proliferation of fake news To the benefit of Trump, this year they have increased vigilance. Facilitating voter registration and warning users about questionable content are their way of regaining some of the lost credibility and demonstrating that they are not a threat to the US electoral system but quite the opposite.

Snapchat anticipates that the new constituencies it has garnered can be decisive. The platform is well established in the belt of the Sun, the southern states where Republicans have a majority in the institutions of power.


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