Vermont senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has created his own Twitch account. Just days before the first round of Democratic debates, the Sanders campaign has registered a Twitch account to boost the campaign's live video output, a representative told Recode this week.
The push to tap into a younger demographic of media consumer (over half of Twitch users are between the age of 18 and 34-years-old) comes just days after the Senator introduced legislation to cancel all $1.6 trillion of student loan debt in the United States. Earlier this month, Sanders also tweeted in support of unionization within the video game industry.
The video game industry made $43 billion in revenue last year. The workers responsible for that profit deserve to collectively bargain as part of a union. I'm glad to see unions like @IATSE and the broader @GameWorkers movement organizing such workers. https://t.co/Ia5gMG2v0w— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) June 18, 2019
The Sanders campaign said it will look to use Twitch alongside other video platforms to promote a recurring "Bernie TV" forum, which will likely feature discussions on the student debt plan among other policy issues.
“We’re moving toward doing a lot more live content on Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook, tapping into an audience where there’s not a lot of political content already,” Josh Miller-Lewis, the digital communications director for the Sanders campaign, told Recode.
Early this year, U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made an appearance on Twitch during a Donkey Kong 64 charity stream. Among other contentious political topics, Ocasio-Cortez revealed that she never owned a Nintendo 64, "But I do think it's probably the best system out of all of them."
Ocasio-Cortez's use of social media and video live streaming, specifically via Instagram, has been credited for her quick rise within the Democratic party. Her laid-back, Q&A streams have been hailed as a trend-setting new way for politicians to interact with constituents and help unmask previously hidden avenues of the political process.
The unfiltered and unedited nature of live streaming, though accessible, is also precarious territory for politicians who typically prefer strict control over their own image. Just last week, Ocasio-Cortez received backlash after comparing migrant camps on the U.S. southern border to concentration camps, a statement she made during an Instagram live stream.
Whether Sanders will be the only 2020 presidential hopeful to plant a flag on Twitch is yet to be seen. It is also unclear how much video game-related content will be featured on the Sanders channel, if any. If the Senator is looking to dip his toes into the gaming world, he might look to start with an RPG about his own political journey, a project that is currently being crowdfunded on Kickstarter.
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