Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’

Striding ‘Right’ for Black GOP Strategist is a No-brainer

Saturday, December 8th, 2012

Charles Badger is not your typical 23 year-old. His tersely stylized, self-description on Twitter provides little insight into what he thinks. In the maximum allowed character length below a picture of a jubilant dude in line dance formation, Charles fonts the following:  “NY-baked-Southern glazed inquisitive Cosmopolitan. Foodie. Bourbonist. Art-Jazz-Hip-Hop lover w/ a change-the-world complex.”

Okay. None of that seems peculiar. And, most of us are down with those having a can-do spirit to make a difference. But, what he doesn’t text out near his cyber avatar that you quickly gather from his Twitter feed is that he’s ‘say it loud, he’s black and he’s proud’ … to be a Republican.

What? Come again? That last part?

It’s a question he’s asked often: ‘why are you, a black man, a Republican?’ Given African Americans’ historic patronage to candidates with the parenthetical ‘D’ flanking her/his name – he understands folks’ curiosity.

Reporters seldom like to look like they’re asking obvious questions, but when I pose it to him in our upcoming interview, his answer provides real insight into his political paradigm. Charles’ urban upbringing in conditions that he says government failed to make better, has a lot to do with his view. He says he lived in a breeding ground for generational poverty that never improved no matter how much public assistance, programs, and services were piped in to help. That’s why he’s a Republican. He’s witnessed – in his words: “the failure of big government.”

Not content to watch from the sidelines and driven by his “change-the-world” complex, the Berea College graduate became a political operative, even before he’d graduated. Charles has already worked for half-a-dozen political campaigns, including the recent 6th congressional district contest that unseated Democrat challenger Ben Chandler. Did I mention Charles is 23?

If you looked carefully at our election night coverage on KET last month, you saw a glimpse of Charles’ brown dome making a cameo behind the night’s new political star, Congressman-elect Andy Barr, who won that 6th congressional district race.  Barr lost to Chandler by less than 700 votes in a match-up two years ago. This time around, Barr scuttled Chandler’s return to the Beltway by more than 11,000 votes. It was a victory he cinched with an arsenal of pro-coal ads, Chandler’s burden of sharing the ticket with a president unpopular in Kentucky, and a tight ground game.  Charles Badger had a heavy hand in Barr’s victory. It wasn’t the first rodeo for either and it showed.

Judging by the way things look now, Charles has a long time ahead in the saddle of politics. When you tune into our interview you’ll learn why. He has a strong command of the issues, a sharp articulation of message, and is trying to change the face we typically associate with the Grand Old Party in Kentucky and beyond.

Check out Charles Badger on Connections — Sunday at 1:30pm on KET. You can watch a preview.


Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

Guest post from KET  public affairs assistant Kara Ferguson

What’s in a ‘like’? Would a ‘like’ by any other name be a vote?

You click ‘like’ on Facebook for the candidate that best aligns with your beliefs and share that information to all of your digital friends who now probably deduce that’s your preference versus the opposition.

You re-Tweet links and choice commentaries that particularly resonated while you are closely following the lead-up to this election. You want your voice heard.

But can social media activities foreshadow the outcome of the election?

October 15th at Miami University of Ohio, Sam Graham-Felson, chief blogger for Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, and Becki Donatelli chief Internet consultant to John McCain’s two presidential races, shared their thoughts and answered questions about social media’s role in the 2008 election and the future of social media in political campaigns in general.

“Social media is an outlet for people who would’ve otherwise never have been heard,” said Graham-Felson.

People take to Facebook and Twitter to share, rant, spin facts, and argue their political opinions hoping to sway their online friends into voting for their candidate of choice.

“Social media really wasn’t that much of a factor in ’08 and now it is vastly important,” said Donatelli.

From a USA Today article: “One in six social network users say they’ve changed their views about a political issue after discussing it or reading posts about it on a social networking site, according to a Pew Research Center survey fielded in January and February of this year. “

Judging solely on what is trending online and who has more ‘likes,’ the current Gallup Poll results would look a lot different.  (The last presidential preference numbers posted at the Gallup Poll website on Oct. 29 showed a tie with 48% pro-Obama/Biden and 48% pro-Romney/Ryan.)

At last count, Barack Obama’s Facebook page shows he currently has more than  31 million people who ‘like’ his page compared to Mitt Romney’s Facebook page, which only has 10.3 million ‘likes’. On Twitter, Obama leads again with more than 21 million followers compared to Romney’s 1.5 million.

Obama’s campaign is the leader across all social media platforms and activities according to a study by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism.

Donatelli and Graham-Felson agree that this says more about the demographic on social media sites rather than as any kind of prediction for the November 6 outcome.

“I think the Internet has helped keep Obama really, really strong,” said Graham-Felson. “Now they are using new tools but the exact same principles.” He adds, “The key to utilizing social media in elections is going to be how to turn a Facebook ‘like’ into a vote.”

Donatelli suggests that it is less about the number of followers or likes and more about the quality of posts shared about the candidate.

Binders full of women Internet memes, hashtags about ‘horses and bayonets’ or ‘Are you better off?’ have made their way to our Facebook and Twitter accounts thereby demonstrating what resonates with social media users who will likely vote.

Can what we share and post really influence votes?

The November 6 outcome will no doubt be studied from multiple angles,  including  stats on just how much influence social media had in the 2012 election.



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