December 2019 US Presidential Elections - Year in Review
The 2020 Facebook Primary originally began in April 2019 as a study of certain Democratic candidates. Additional Democratic and new Republican candidates were added in May, Libertarians were added in August, and a Green Party candidate was added in November. Despite the entry and suspension of several campaigns in multiple parties, the number of candidates tracked by December 21 - 15 Democrats, 3 Republicans, 2 Libertarians, and 1 Green.
1) You Can't Stump the Trump
President Donald Trump is the reigning champion of social media, with the greatest number of followers on Facebook and Twitter, along with greatest net growth in followers and greatest average monthly net increase in followers.
2) Buttigieg Dominates Facebook
Mayor Pete Buttigieg has the best performance of any candidate on Facebook. Despite coming in 7th place for total page likes on the platform, Mayor Buttigieg has had the greatest net increase in page likes and greatest average monthly increase in page likes. President Trump will be a difficult candidate to overthrow, having 19 million more page likes than the top Democrat, Senator Bernie Sanders. Libertarian candidate John McAfee, the best performer of both tracked candidates in his party, ranks just below third-place Republican Governor Bill Weld. A primary challenge to President Trump has hurt Rep. Joe Walsh, who has steadily lost page likes monthly since August.
3) Warren Dominates Twitter
Senator Elizabeth Warren was a top performer on Twitter until November. As of December, Senator Sanders has the greatest average increase in Twitter followers, though Senator Warren still has the greatest net growth in followers. Unlike on Facebook, no candidates has seen negative net growth in Twitter followers.
4) Bloomberg Hits the Ground Running
Mayor Mike Bloomberg has already seen a meteoric rise in social media performance since announcing his candidacy last month, gaining the most new Facebook likes and Twitter followers of all Democratic candidates. Governor Deval Patrick is the least popular Democratic candidate on Facebook, ranking below both Republican challengers of President Trump and Libertarian John McAffee. Governor Patrick ranks above only Senator Michael Bennet and Rep. John Delaney on Twitter, who both perform poorly on both social media platforms.
5) Biden is All Over the Place
Vice President Biden, seen by many as the frontrunner, has seen volatile performance on social media. After rocky debate performances lost him 83,000 followers between August-September, his relationship to the Ukraine scandal likely increased his following by 93,000 likes between September-October.
6) What Impeachment?
The threat of impeachment is having no measurable impact online for President Trump. After gaining at least 1 million new Twitter followers every month between July-November, he only received 700,000 new followers between November-December. Despite slow Facebook growth during summer, his page likes jumped from 154,000 during October-November to 752,000 between November-December.
7) No Future for the Bottom Tier
It is time for poorly-performing candidates to drop out of the race if they wish to avoid embarrassment during the early primaries. Senator Bennet and Rep. John Delaney both saw negative net growth in Facebook likes last month, while Secretary Julian Castro could not add 1,000 new likes to his following. Neophytes like billionaire Tom Steyer, entrepreneur Andrew Yang, and anti-vaccine writer Marianne Williamson are at most a negative distraction, contributing nothing positive to the Democratic primary.
Two more debates will be held before the Iowa Caucus puts County Auditors all over the Hawkeye State to work certifying the results. My predictions: Mayor Buttigieg wins Iowa, Senator Sanders wins New Hampshire, and Vice President Biden wins South Carolina. From there, we will see. President Trump is not likely to face stiff competition for the nomination, though Governor Weld may take away substantial support in New Hampshire. Until the votes are tallied, make sure to like and follow your favorite candidates online!