Categories
World News

The Trump campaign requested a recount in Georgia one day after the state's election results were certified and showed Biden won by more than 12,000 votes

  • The Trump campaign's lawyers said in a statement Saturday that they requested a recount in Georgia, after the election results showed President-elect Joe Biden won the state.
  • The petition was filed one day after Brad Raffensperger, Georgia's Republican secretary of state, said he had officially certified Biden as the winner of the state's presidential election.
  • The Friday certification came after an audit that included a hand recount of more than 5 million paper ballots, which showed Biden won the state by more than 12,000 votes.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The Trump campaign's lawyers said in a statement Saturday that they requested a recount in Georgia, after the election results showed President-elect Joe Biden won the state.

The petition was filed one day after Brad Raffensperger, Georgia's Republican secretary of state, said he had officially certified Biden as the winner of the state's presidential election.

The Friday certification came after an audit that included a hand recount of more than 5 million paper ballots. The final results showed Biden had received 49.5% of the vote to President Donald Trump's 49.3%, with the president-elect winning by more than 12,000 votes.

"Today, the Trump campaign filed a petition for recount in Georgia," the Trump campaign said in a statement. "We are focused on ensuring that every aspect of Georgia State Law and the U.S. Constitution are followed so that every legal vote is counted."

The statement also stressed the importance of signature matching for mail-in ballots, something that is completed upon receipt of the ballot, before it is counted.

Raffensperger, who received threats for his work overseeing the election, has expressed full confidence in the vote count.

"The election appears to be very accurate," the secretary of state told Insider's Grace Panetta. "And as a Republican, I'm disappointed, but as a secretary of state, my job is to report accurate results."

In an op-ed published in The Washington Post on Saturday he again defended the accuracy of the count, saying, "Georgia's voting system has never been more secure or trustworthy."

Georgia law allows for a candidate to request a recount if the results are within 0.5%. Biden beat Trump by 0.25%.

Georgia flipped for Biden after supporting Trump in 2016, marking the first win for a Democratic presidential candidate in the state since 1992.

Source: Read Full Article

Categories
World News

Trump Briefly Acknowledges Biden’s Election Win, but Still Refuses to Concede

Over a week after the presidential election was called for Joe Biden by all major news organizations, President Donald Trump has acknowledged Biden’s victory – but still refuses to concede. In a series of tweets on Sunday morning, Trump continued his claims that the election was rigged, citing the media and faulty election equipment.

“He won because the Election was Rigged,” Trump tweeted above a post from Watters’ World claiming that Biden did not “earn” the election. “NO VOTE WATCHERS OR OBSERVERS allowed, vote tabulated by a Radical Left privately owned company, Dominion, with a bad reputation & bum equipment that couldn’t even qualify for Texas (which I won by a lot!), the Fake & Silent Media, & more!”

Although Trump’s statement of “He won” is significant, the claims of election fraud that followed made it clear that he has no plans to concede. Trump also called mail-in voting “a sick joke,” alleging that the Democratic party was stealing votes. “All of the mechanical ‘glitches’ that took place on Election Night were really THEM getting caught trying to steal votes. They succeeded plenty, however, without getting caught. Mail-in elections are a sick joke!”

Later on, Trump contended that Biden “only won in the eyes of the FAKE NEWS MEDIA,” adding: “I concede NOTHING!” All three tweets were flagged by Twitter for false information, with the tag saying, “This claim about election fraud is disputed.”

 

There has still not been a formal acknowledgement by Trump’s administration of Biden’s victory, causing a delay in the transition effort. In order for the transition to begin, the administrator of the General Services Administration must issue a letter of ascertainment that will allow Biden and his team access to funds and use of government offices. Despite this, Biden has carried on with the transition himself, beginning to build his team by naming Ron Klain as his White House Chief of Staff.

At a press conference on Tuesday, Biden said Trump’s refusal to concede is an “embarrassment,” adding that the transition to the Biden administration is “well under way.”

Source: Read Full Article

Categories
World News

'For how long must Americans and Joe Biden wait for any evidence to be offered?': BBC presenter explains confusion in the UK over Trump's response to the election

  • BBC presenter Ros Atkins explained the confusion in the UK over President Donald Trump and top Republicans' reaction to the projected election results and unsubstantiated claims of mass voter fraud.
  • "By any measure, this is extraordinary," Atkins said in a video clip shared on Twitter. "The defeated candidates in US presidential elections almost always concede immediately once the winner is projected."
  • Atkins also questioned Republican leaders' accusations of voter fraud, asking, "for how long must Americans and Joe Biden wait for any evidence to be offered? It's been a week and still nothing."
  • Since President-elect Joe Biden was projected the winner of the election, Trump has refused to concede and made several false or unsubstantiated claims about mass voter fraud.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

BBC presenter Ros Atkins explained the confusion in the UK over Trump and top Republican's reaction to the projected election results.

"Four days since his defeat was projected, President Trump's refusing to concede, is claiming to have won without providing evidence to show that, and he's refusing to help the transition to Joe Biden," Atkins said in a video shared on Twitter. "And many Republicans support him."

 

Since President-elect Joe Biden was projected the winner of the election, President Trump has refused to concede, all the while making several false or unsubstantiated claims about mass voter fraud and attempts to "steal" the election.

Atkins explained how the administration is not working with Biden's transition team, such as not providing transition funds or access to classified information, as is customary once the winner has been projected. 

He also showed a clip of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell saying, "I think we ought to quit all the hand wringing, not act like this is extraordinary."

"Except by any measure, this is extraordinary," Atkins said. "The defeated candidates in US presidential elections almost always concede immediately once the winner is projected. And if a new president is taking over the outgoing administration cooperates. Donald Trump knows this because back in 2016, Barack Obama met him to discuss their handover, and that happened weeks before all the votes were certified."

Read moreBiden just hired 4 people to tear down Trump's climate and energy policies

He also went on to discuss how various Republican leaders have responded to the election, saying many have supported or enabled Trump's claims of fraud without proof.

"For how long must Americans and Joe Biden wait for any evidence to be offered?" he said. "It's been a week and still nothing."

Meanwhile, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, once seen as an ally of Trump, congratulated Biden for winning and has since referred to Trump as the "previous president," telling members of parliament he had an "extremely exciting" phone call with Biden. 

On November 5, before the winner was projected, Atkins also reported on the president's and his allies' unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud in another widely-shared BBC clip, saying, "This is not American democracy as people normally see it."

Source: Read Full Article

Categories
World News

Boris Johnson calls Trump the 'previous president' after an 'extremely exciting' conversation with Joe Biden

  • Boris Johnson calls Donald Trump the "previous president" as he lavishes praise on Joe Biden, following his "extremely exciting" phone call with the President-elect.
  • The UK prime minister on Wednesday said it was "refreshing" to hear Biden defend global institutions.
  • A tweet sent by Johnson congratulating Biden for winning the election was revealed on Tuesday to contain elements of a previously-drafted message congratulating Trump instead.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday labeled Donald Trump the "previous president" as he lavished praise on Joe Biden after their first call together since the President-elect's election victory.

Johnson, who has until now been a strong ally of Trump, on Wednesday told Members of Parliament about an "excellent conversation" he had with President-elect Biden on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Johnson said it was "refreshing" to hear Biden speak in defence of international institutions, in an apparent swipe at Trump's aversion to international organisations such as NATO and the World Health Organisation.

He said: "One of the many merits of the excellent conversation I had yesterday with President-elect Joe Biden was that we strongly agreed on the need for the United Kingdom and the United States to stand together, to stick up for our values around the world, to stick up for human rights, to stick up for free trade, to stick up for NATO, Mr Speaker, and to work together in the fight against climate change.

"It was refreshing, I may say, to have that conversation and I look forward to many more."

Johnson was then asked by Labour Member of Parliament Angela Eagle whether he had "any advice for his erstwhile best friend, President Trump," whose "continuing refusal to accept the result is both embarrassing for him and dangerous for American democracy."

In response, the smiling UK prime minister said: "I had and have a good relationship with the previous president and I do not resile from that. It's the duty of all British prime ministers to have a good relationship with the White House.

"I'm delighted to find the many areas on which the incoming Biden-Harris administration is able to make common cause with us — in particular, it was extremely exciting to talk to President-elect Biden about what he wants to do with the COP26 summit next year."

Johnson was among several world leaders who President-elect Biden spoke to on Tuesday as he prepares to move into the White House in January.

A Downing Street spokesperson said that the UK prime minister "warmly congratulated Joe Biden on his election" and "conveyed his congratulations to Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on her historic achievement."

The pair discussed fighting the coronavirus and climate change, according the Downing Street spokesperson, with Johnson inviting Biden to the COP26 climate change summit in Glasgow, Scotland next year.

There was intense media attention on when Biden would first call Johnson amid reports that the President-elect and his team take issue with the the UK prime minister over Brexit and his history of controversial remarks, like in 2016 when he said Barack Obama's "part-Kenyan" ancestry meant he disliked Britain.

The call came after a tweet sent by Johnson congratulating Biden for winning the election was revealed on Tuesday to contain elements of a previously-drafted message congratulating Trump instead.

Source: Read Full Article

Categories
Business

Obstinate Donald Trump Says “Election Far From Over” After Joe Biden Declared Next POTUS; GOP Vows Court Battles

As expected, Donald Trump is not accepting the results of the election and Joe Biden now being declared the next President of the United States.

“We all know why Joe Biden is rushing to falsely pose as the winner, and why his media allies are trying so hard to help him: they don’t want the truth to be exposed. The simple fact is this election is far from over,” said the former Celebrity Apprentice host’s re-election campaign in a clearly prepared statement after the ex-VP was proclaimed the winner in the race for the Whote House.

As Pennsylvania was finally called for Biden this morning and pushing him over the needed 270 electoral votes, Trump was on his golf course outside Washington DC.

Having already filed lawsuits all over the county to stop ballot counting, the GOP plan to fight the results in the courts for what could be weeks and even months. Closer to home in a disorganized White House, Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows tested positive for COVID-19 yesterday, as the United States hit a sad record of more confirmed cases than ever before on any single day.

READ THE COMPLETE STATEMENT FROM DONALD TRUMP BELOW:

“We all know why Joe Biden is rushing to falsely pose as the winner, and why his media allies are trying so hard to help him: they don’t want the truth to be exposed. The simple fact is this election is far from over. Joe Biden has not been certified as the winner of any states, let alone any of the highly contested states headed for mandatory recounts, or states where our campaign has valid and legitimate legal challenges that could determine the ultimate victor. In Pennsylvania, for example, our legal observers were not permitted meaningful access to watch the counting process. Legal votes decide who is president, not the news media.

“Beginning Monday, our campaign will start prosecuting our case in court to ensure election laws are fully upheld and the rightful winner is seated. The American People are entitled to an honest election: that means counting all legal ballots, and not counting any illegal ballots. This is the only way to ensure the public has full confidence in our election. It remains shocking that the Biden campaign refuses to agree with this basic principle and wants ballots counted even if they are fraudulent, manufactured, or cast by ineligible or deceased voters. Only a party engaged in wrongdoing would unlawfully keep observers out of the count room – and then fight in court to block their access.

“So what is Biden hiding? I will not rest until the American People have the honest vote count they deserve and that Democracy demands.”

Read More About:

Source: Read Full Article

Categories
World News

Thousands of National Guard troops in states across the US are bracing for election unrest

  • National Guard troops in at least seven states are on standby and bracing for possible unrest as Americans go to the polls to vote for the next president, according to Military Times.
  • While active-duty military cannot conduct domestic law enforcement missions, except in rare situations, the National Guard can be called in to support local law enforcement, as they did this past summer as protests rocked states across the US.
  • National Guard troops are also conducting cybersecurity missions to help protect election integrity and working at polls in an administrative role. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

National Guard troops in at least seven states have been activated and put on standby to respond to possible unrest sparked by the presidential election.

Massachusetts and Texas have activated as many as 1,000 National Guard members in anticipation of potential civil unrest and violence, according to Military Times. Arizona and Alabama each have 300 troops on standby, and Florida, Illinois, and Texas all have some number of troops on alert.

Some National Guard troops are on standby to respond only to incidents in their states, while others, such as the 600 troops activated in Alabama and Arizona, are ready to support the National Guard Regional Response Unit mission and respond to crises in their own states as well as others that need assistance.

The highly-divisive and uncertain nature of the presidential election has led to significant concerns that the results could ignite violence and other lawlessness. On the eve of Election Day, President Donald Trump suggested counting Pennsylvania ballots received after Nov. 3 could lead to "violence in the streets."

While active-duty military personnel cannot carry out domestic law enforcement missions, except in very rare circumstances, due to the Posse Comitatus Act, National Guard troops can be called upon to support law enforcement in overwhelming situations.

This past summer, National Guard troops were activated in a number of states across the US in response to civil unrest following the death of George Floyd, a Black man who was killed in police custody.

During that tense time, there were concerns that the president would invoke the Insurrection Act, an exception to the Posse Comitatus Act, and deploy active-duty military to US cities. Active-duty troops were even moved into position outside of Washington, DC in preparation for such a move, but they were never sent in.

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper argued publicly against invoking the Insurrection Act, saying in June that he believes "the National Guard is best suited for performing domestic support to civil authorities in these situations in support of local law enforcement."

He added that the "option to use active-duty forces in a law enforcement role should only be used as a matter of last resort and only in the most urgent and dire of situations."

Military Times reports that nearly 4,000 National Guard troops have been activated for missions related to the election, but not all of these troops are on call to respond to unrest.

Dozens of Guard personnel have been activated in Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Washington, Wyoming, and possibly other states to support the cybersecurity mission by monitoring networks and protecting state operations.

National Guard troops are also working at polling stations. Wisconsin, for instance, has around 400 Guard members working at the polls. They are not armed and serve in civilian clothes. In an emergency, their response would be the same as a civilian and would involve a 911 call.

This year has been a very busy year for the National Guard not only because of protests and the elections, but also because of COVID-19. In June, as the virus and protests rocked the nation, around 86,000 National Guard troops were activated for various missions.

Source: Read Full Article

Categories
World News

Obama mocks Trump for being 'jealous of COVID's media coverage'

  • Watch Former President Barack Obama mock President Donald Trump for being "jealous of COVID's media coverage."
  • The former president told a campaign rally for Joe Biden in Orlando, Florida, that the president was trying to distract people from the fact he had "completely screw this [pandemic response] up."
  • "What is his closing argument… That people are too focused on COVID. He said this at one of his rallies. 'COVID, COVID, COVID,' he is complaining. He is jealous of COVID's media coverage.
  • Trump responded by tweeting that Obama is "drawing VERY small (tiny) numbers of people" to his speeches.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Donald Trump is "jealous of Covid's media coverage," former President Barack Obama said on Tuesday as he mocked the president's record on tackling the coronavirus pandemic.

"The pandemic would've been challenging for any president, but the idea that this White House has done anything but completely screw this up is nonsense," Obama told a campaign rally for Joe Biden in Orlando Florida.

"What is his closing argument?" Obama asked.

"That people are too focused on COVID. He said this at one of his rallies 'COVID, COVID, COVID'. He is complaining. He is jealous of COVID's media coverage." 

Watch Obama mock Trump's coronavirus response

In an apparent response to the attack, Trump tweeted that Obama is "drawing VERY small (tiny) numbers of people," adding that "Biden is drawing almost no one."

Trump also appeared to criticise Fox News for covering Obama's speech, tweeting: "Now Fox News is playing Obama's no crowd, fake speech for Biden, a man he could barely endorse because he couldn't believe he won. Also, I PREPAID many Millions of Dollars in Taxes."

Over 70 million Americans are reported to have cast their voters in the presidential election in the run-up to the final polling day on November 3, according to a tally on Tuesday from the US Elections Project which was cited by Reuters.

Joe Biden, the Democratic challenger, has a durable national polling lead over President Trump, but the race between the two candidates appears much closer in several key battleground states.

President Obama was ranked the second most popular Democrat in the US in a YouGov survey carried out this year, behind only Jimmy Carter, meaning his vocal support for his former vice-president has been a potentially useful campaign asset.

At a drive-in rally for Biden in Philidelphia last week, Obama also attacked Trump's coronavirus response, telling the audience that Trump would not protect Americans from the pandemic because he could "barely take the basic steps to protect himself."

He also referenced a New York Times story which reported that Trump maintains a bank account in China, based on tax records obtained by the paper. 

"He's got a secret Chinese bank account. How is that possible?" Obama said at the rally on October 22.

"Can you imagine if I had had a secret Chinese bank account when I was running for reelection? You think Fox News might have been a little concerned about that."

Do you have a personal experience with the coronavirus you’d like to share? Or a tip on how your town or community is handling the pandemic? Please email [email protected] and tell us your story.

Get the latest coronavirus business & economic impact analysis from Business Insider Intelligence on how COVID-19 is affecting industries.

Source: Read Full Article

Categories
Business

Who the hell are the non-voters at a time like this? An Insider investigation.

  • Almost 100 million eligible Americans did not vote in the 2016 presidential election.
  • Business Insider conducted a series of polls to find out why.
  • Our polls revealed a variety of factors — including education level and employment status — impact how people feel about voting.
  • Survey respondents cited problems with the system, problems with the candidate, issues with ballot access or registration, COVID-19 concerns, disinterest in voting and politics, and religion as reasons why they are not voting in 2020.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The 2020 presidential election is one of the most divisive in modern US history. Despite the coronavirus pandemic continuing its surge across the country and Republican efforts to restrict and undermine voting, turnout is expected to reach historic highs this fall. Early voting and new registrations have already reached record levels. 

But there are millions of Americans — nearly 100 million in 2016 — who won't be casting their ballots this fall. With the election dominating headlines and consuming the attention of a nation, we wanted to know: who?  

It turns out non-voters are hardly a monolith. Business Insider conducted a series of polls and identified a number of characteristics that define this subset of citizens. For some, the threat of exposure to coronavirus poses too big a risk.  Others said they faced obstacles in registering to vote or getting to the polls, while another subset indicated religious objections to voting. And many conveyed a general disillusionment or disinterest in the American political system. Our polling also found that Asian-Americans are more likely than Black and Latino citizens to sit out the election.

Keep reading for more on what these non-voters are all about.

People without a college degree are much more likely than others to say they don't intend to vote this year

 

Unemployed Americans are more likely to not vote, a new Insider poll finds

 

America's 1.3 million Jehovah's Witnesses will be sitting out this election

 

More than 20% of Asian Americans say they do not plan on voting in the 2020 election

Source: Read Full Article

Categories
Business

Shark Tank investor Kevin O'Leary says the market 'just doesn't care' about who wins the US election

“Shark Tank”/ABC

  • Kevin O’Leary told CNBC on Wednesday that markets are not concerned with who wins the election because they know that a $2 trillion stimulus package will be released regardless of who wins.
  • “This is the most fascinating election the American economy has ever seen because the market just doesn’t care,” the investor said. 
  • He added that policies are unlikely to change in the near term if Biden wins because the former vice president’s “hands will be tied” around the unemployment rate. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Kevin O’Leary said that markets are not concerned with who wins the US presidential election in a CNBC interview released Wednesday.

The Shark Tank investor and O’Shares ETFs chairman said that there will be a $2 trillion stimulus with either candidate, and that’s really what the market is trading on right now. 

“This is the most fascinating election the American economy has ever seen because the market just doesn’t care,” O’Leary said. 

He also said Joe Biden is unlikely to change policies immediately if he wins the election because the unemployment rate will still be at 9%. 

Read more: An investment chief overseeing $23 billion breaks down 2 critical election-linked risks facing the market – and shares the smartest way to turn them both into profit opportunities

“You got 9% of the economy unemployed. I think his hands are tied. I don’t think he does very much of anything, I think the policies remain the same,” the investor said. Even with a “blue tide” where Democrats gain control of the White House and Congress, policies are unlikely to change until the midterm elections two years down the road, he added. 

The market is expecting increased tensions between the two largest economies of the world too, O’Leary said.

The investor added: “If you’re the Chinese government you’d rather have Biden, but if Trump wins again … bar the doors on China relations, he’s going to put the screws down even harder and the market’s ready for that too.”

Source: Read Full Article

Categories
World News

An entire generation of new voters are on TikTok, but Biden and Trump are neglecting them

  • As a possible ban still looms over TikTok’s growing user base, discussions about politics exist on nearly every corner of the video-based app.
  • But absent from these political discussions often are the candidates themselves, like President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden, whose campaigns have avoided the controversial platform.
  • One political scientist told Business Insider candidates will likely regret not joining the platform, while a digital strategist said it makes less sense for candidates to use TikTok because the app requires more authenticity than others.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

 

For months, TikTok users have been confronted with US politics as the November election draws near and President Donald Trump continues to take aim at the popular app over security concerns related to China.

At the center of the controversy is TikTok's parent company, ByteDance. The China-based company has raised the eyebrows of US officials who argue it could collect the data of US users and turn it over to the Chinese government. TikTok has repeatedly denied the allegations, which have been leveled by both Democrats and Republicans.

Most recently, a federal judge sided with TikTok and against the Trump administration, issuing a preliminary injunction on Sunday that halted a download ban on the app just hours before it was slated to go into effect. A week prior, the Commerce Department delayed the ban by one week, citing progress around selling the app so US-based companies Oracle and Walmart would have a stake in the company. 

Unsurprisingly, the Trump campaign has steered clear of TikTok, having no official presence on the app. The president and his son, Donald Trump Jr., however, have posted videos to Triller, a competing vertical-video app.

Meanwhile, Trump's rival, Democratic nominee Joe Biden, recently called TikTok "a matter of genuine concern," and his campaign has opted out of using the app.

In July, the Biden campaign asked its staff to remove the TikTok app from their personal and campaign-issued devices, citing security and privacy concerns. While the Biden campaign declined to further comment on internal policies around using TikTok, they have embraced other platforms, including Reels, Facebook's TikTok competitor that launched in August. 

But even without top political players, TikTok remains a political platform

While TikTok's most well-known stars, like Charli D'Amelio and Addison Rae, have made the TikTok brand synonymous with snappy dances to popular songs, other creators have used the platform to discuss politics. 

Most notably, the 17-year-old daughter of Trump's former senior counselor, Kellyanne Conway, made headlines when she joined TikTok and posted anti-Trump content as well as openly criticized her parents. 

"I think TikTok is a huge platform especially for Gen Z kids," Conway told Insider earlier this year, adding she was using the growing platform to make "cute little videos" to express her opinions.

Similar to Conway, other Gen Z users — sans politically famous parents —regularly talk politics on TikTok.

Olivia Julianna, a 17-year-old Texan who is known to her over 55,000 followers as "The Gen Z Political Analyst," told Business Insider she didn't intend on using TikTok for politics. 

"When I started TikTok, I made stupid videos like most teenagers do," said Olivia, who asked that Business Insider not publish her last name due to safety concerns about users finding out where she attends school. "The real shift in my political beliefs came after everything happened with the Black Lives Matter movement and George Floyd." 

"I saw how much anger, hatred, and exhaustion there was in the world and how fed up and frustrated Gen Z was and how there was so much misinformation being spread," Olivia said. "I felt like there really needed to be someone who could talk about politics where it could be educational but also being able to criticize your own party."

##politics ##biden ##biden2020 ##2020election ##settleforbiden ##democrat ##debate ##trump2020 ##trump ##president ##news

 

Since turning political, more than 5.2 million people have since liked her videos. Her first TikTok video to gain traction speculated that Biden would choose his former rival, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, as his running mate. 

"It reached over one million views in two weeks, which was crazy because I never got that many views before," Olivia said. "Then I started posting more and more. People would ask me questions and I would post. And I really enjoyed it because I felt I was helping people learn about politics." 

While she won't be able to vote this year — she turns 18 two weeks after the November election — Olivia has encouraged eligible Gen Z followers to register to vote alongside a cohort of TikTok creators. Their campaign, which part of the recently formed "Tok the Vote," has been spearheaded by Colton Hess, a recent Princeton graduate who earlier this year left his job as a product manager at Amazon to start the organization.

"We've reached this point in the last few months where there's been a change in people's willingness to post on social and political issues," Hess said. "Everyone is looking for ways to help and use their platform and power and position of privilege to get the word out about these things and to help others." 

A page for Tok the Vote has amassed more than 22,000 followers while videos tagged with #TokTheVote have received over five million views and garnered more than one million likes. 

"TikTok presents an incredible tool and an opportunity for activism, and it's really entirely untapped right now," Hess said. "We've seen young people finding it as a way to express themselves politically even if they're new to this and they're not really sure how — they're trying, and they're trying in unique, creative, new ways, and we think we're going to continue to see this."

TikTok announced last week it would launch an in-app election guide, connecting its userbase to reliable sources for information about the upcoming US election.

In the meantime, political TikTok videos thrive on the app as they range in diversity and reach. Some feature creators passionately talking to their phone cameras, educating TikTok users about issues that range from cultural appropriation to climate change. Other creators have relied on popular meme formats and the TikTok sound library to poke fun at or criticize politicians, like Trump or Biden. 

"Red Kingdom," a hype song used by the Kansas City Chiefs, has been used more than 123,000 times on the app, especially for pro-Trump memes and parody videos created by TikTok users with opposing political views. Similarly, "Real Women Vote for Trump," a song by the pro-Trump group known as The Deplorable Choir went viral on TikTok with more than 31,000 videos on one version of the sound. 

Videos using the hashtag "settleforbiden," in which users explore their decision to rally behind Biden after supporting other candidates in the primary race, have racked up more than 176 million views.

Videos on #Trump2020, which feature an assortment of pro and anti-Trump content, have raked in more than 11.1 billion views. The hashtag Biden2020 consists of videos that have received a total of 2.4 billion views.

A handful of elected officials and candidates have braved TikTok 

Few candidates have taken the plunge into TikTok, and those who have joined the app have yielded varying degrees of success.

Sen. Ed Markey, of Massachusetts, earlier in September won the primary race against his challenger, Rep. Joe Kennedy. During the primary race, Markey's campaign utilized TikTok to reach voters, making him the highest-profile politician to use the platform thus far. 

"Ed Markey is 74-years-old and popular on a platform that is largely composed of teenagers and young people," said Paul Bologna, the campaign's digital communications director, in a statement to Business Insider. "Even before our campaign was on TikTok, TikTok found Ed Markey. Our use of this platform is part of our strategy to organize everywhere and to tap into online grassroots enthusiasm to engage with and turn out young voters during this election." 

While the Markey campaign has an official presence on the app, Bologna noted the vast majority of the 2.9 million TikTok views on videos using the "edmarkey" hashtag came from users unaffiliated with the campaign, who posted about the progressive senator on their own accord. 

In August, The Verge's Makena Kelly reported about the social media users who made up Markey's "stan army," a group of about 100 people who used platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok to create viral moments that helped garner support for Markey in the heated primary campaign. The digital outreach strategy was not just about getting votes, either. The campaign used the platforms to solicit donations or to encourage people to phone bank for Markey.

"Ed Markey recognizes that TikTok as a platform is far from perfect when it comes to privacy and he has called for the Federal Trade Commission to increase its attention to the dangers that minors encounter online, including the use of their personal data for advertising dollars," Bologna said of the bipartisan concerns stemming from the app's Chinese ownership.

Matt Little, a 35-year-old member of the Minnesota Senate, has also embraced TikTok during his reelection campaign. Known on the platform as the "Little Senator," he has amassed some 150,000 TikTok followers since he joined in February. 

"The reason we started was the same reason we are using all sorts of different platforms, which is I try to talk to people where they are," Little told Business Insider. "Right now, if you want to talk to Gen Z or the younger generation, you've kinda got to be on TikTok or Instagram." 

Little said the security risks associated with TikTok, which have been amplified by prominent Democrats like Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, were about the same as those associated with other mobile apps, adding that Congress should work toward passing consumer protections that target more than one app.

Reply to @political_educationI don’t even understand this. ##politics ##minnesota

 

"TikTok has become a political talking point," Little said. "If you're concerned about TikTok, you should probably delete just about every app you've got on your phone, including Google Maps, Facebook, and maybe even Instagram." 

As Business Insider's Isobel Asher Hamilton previously reported, there is still no proof that TikTok is spying on users for China, and experts say the app poses similar data-harvesting risks to Facebook and Google.

While his substantive TikTok videos about policies are less popular than content featuring self-deprecating humor, Little said his presence on TikTok has still reached his community and helps introduce him to voters. 

"We were going through the McDonald's drive-thru, and the person working there was like 'I like your videos, Mr. Little.' The same thing happened at Taco Bell a couple of weeks later," he told Business Insider. 

Occasionally, Little uses TikTok to discuss issues that matter to him. Otherwise, he said he used the platform to fundraise, and as the election nears, he plans to use the app to get voters to register and help them figure out how to cast their ballot.

Still, a following on TikTok doesn't directly translate to support at the polls. Joshua Collins, a 26-year-old in Seattle who ran a campaign to become the youngest member of Congress, had a significant following on TikTok earlier this year.

Central to Collins' campaign were his social-media accounts, including his TikTok profile, where he shared his Democratic Socialist ideology and his support of other progressive lawmakers, namely Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Despite his hearty TikTok following, Collins earned less than 1% of the vote in his primary race and came in 15th place among the 20 candidates vying for a seat currently occupied by outgoing Democratic Rep. Denny Heck, according to The Post Millennial.

Despite its political nature, the biggest names in politics are nowhere to be found 

It's not just Biden and Trump who have avoided using TikTok — most elected officials in the US have steered clear from the platform which has drawn criticism and concern from Democrats and Republicans alike. 

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the New York Democrat known for her Instagram Live chats and her fiery tweets, has similarly bypassed TikTok. The lawmaker in July posted a video to Instagram that she called a "bootleg TikTok," confirming in a tweet that she didn't use the app.

"Social media has always been a major player" in politics, Vincent Raynauld, an associate professor at Emerson College who researches the impact of social media on politics, told Business Insider. 

Political candidates would likely regret their decision to steer clear of TikTok taking into account the platform is where young people have decided to get political, Raynauld said. He pointing to the TikTok campaign credited with tanking attendance at Trump's June rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  

The Trump campaign did not immediately return Business Insider's request.

Politicians "should definitely be on there because there's a lot of politics being discussed on that platform," Raynauld said. "There's a lot of energy, there's a lot of excitement, and people are willing to talk about politics and spread messages based on issues and candidates."

"However there's a lot of risk of being on these platforms because they could certainly lose control or see their message hijacked," he told Business Insider, noting that it's likely more difficult for candidates and politicians to keep control of their own message on TikTok.

"Campaigns are closely watching what's happening on TikTok, but they're still trying to figure out how the platform works and how they can use the energy of the platform to their advantage," Raynauld added.

In addition to this lack of control, Little said lawmakers might avoid TikTok because the app is more complicated to use.

"It requires a level of complexity that's not on other social media apps," Little said. "Everything else is a picture and some words. There are so many moving parts on TikTok that it's logically more difficult."

TikTok is also largely personality-based — so if candidates weren't funny enough or are perceived as "lame," they're more likely to get "roasted" than they would on other platforms, he said.

Annie Levene, a partner at the DC-based digital marketing agency Rising Tide Interactive, said she unsure it made sense for candidates like Biden or Trump to use TikTok as a campaign tool. More than other platforms, TikTok requires a certain authenticity that makes it harder to crack. 

"What I would spend my energy on, as a campaign, is instead of building up your own TikTok — especially because we don't have a great sense of how the algorithm works, and what videos tend to get to the forefront — would be to forge some sort of partnership with people on TikTok who already have an existing following," Levene said.

She called this strategy cross-pollinating: the practice where campaigns leverage other popular social media accounts or celebrities to spread their message rather than using their own accounts. It's one of the ways campaigning has evolved — even since 2016, as social media continues to become more important in reaching voters. It's also one of the ways campaigns have connected with voters as COVID-19 has, in many cases, thrown a wrench in typical canvassing, Levene said.

The Biden campaign, for example, began an initiative called #TeamJoeTalks in July, where members of Biden's campaigns were interviewed on Instagram Live by various celebrities. For the September issue of Elle, Biden was interviewed by rapper Cardi B.

"They can speak to why it's important to vote, or why it's important to register, or why they're supporting a certain candidate in a way that feels really authentic to their viewers," Levene said. "It's one thing to just get on (social media) and create content, but it's another thing for people to really consume it, and respect, and be persuaded by it."

Exclusive FREE Report: The Stories Slide Deck by Business Insider Intelligence

Source: Read Full Article