Tag Archives: politics

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Student Spotlight: Erin Cooke

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Deciding who to interview for a student spotlight was a no-brainer for me. My friend Erin Cooke is probably the busiest person I know. I’m not kidding when I say she rarely has a day off! A senior from Ringgold, Georgia, Erin is involved in many student organizations at here at UGA, holding leadership roles in multiple clubs. Just to name a few, she works full-time for the UGA chapter of Turning Point USA, is a member of the College Republicans, and holds a position of leadership in UGA Miracle. Erin’s senior year got off to an impressive start as she coordinated a Turning Point event that hosted Donald Trump Jr. as headline speaker. The event was met with much anticipation. Originally scheduled to be at the Tate Center Theatre, the event had to be moved to the Classic Center to accommodate the large expected crowds. Turning Point saw its largest attendance ever for a campus event with a recorded turnout of around 1,500. Because of Erin’s impressive work coordinating the event, Turning Point offered her a full-time position, which she accepted in December.

Turning Point isn’t the only organization in which Erin is making a difference. Erin attributes a large part of her time to a leadership position with UGA Miracle, an event that raises money for the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Erin has a younger sister with a cleft palate lip who was adopted from China at a young age. Erin told me that she knows the difficulties that many families go through with children needing vital operations. Erin’s relationship with her sister is the driving force behind her commitment to the organization. This weekend, UGA Miracle hosted a dance marathon in which attendees were challenged to stand for 24 hours straight to raise money for the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. The organization raised over $1.1 million over the weekend. Erin raised about $600 herself through her sorority.

So what are Erin’s plans after graduating from UGA? Well, Erin plans on running for political office in the state of Georgia, aspiring to become a U.S. Senator one day. For someone who has accomplished so much at such a young age, Erin is very humble and down to earth. She told me that she doesn’t want to seek fame through politics, but instead wants to be a servant of the community. Erin’s faith in Christ is what she said has motivated her throughout her life’s journey. I believe Erin will enjoy great success after graduation because of her amazing work ethic and dedication to service. I wish Erin Cooke the best of luck in her future career in politics!

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Advertising for the 2018 Midterm Elections Hits New Record

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More money has been spent on this midterm cycle than any midterm cycle before according to the Center for Responsive Politics. This is because of the increasing climate of competitive races, polarizing candidates, and a radicalized political environment

But what does this mean for the future? Ad spending for all mediums is predicted to increase, but particularly in digital. It is estimated that there will be a 260% growth in digital ad spending to reach $900m. Estimates for TV and radio reach $3.27billion. However, local cable and broadcast TV will only see a 30-75% growth.

By the numbers: The following data was derived by Axios.

  • Average cost per impression: $.007 on Facebook, $.005 on Google and $.015 on Twitter.
  • Average spending per ad: $153-$600 on Facebook, $1,800 on Google and $265 on Twitter.
  • Average impression per ad: 1,100-4,800 on Facebook, 6,300 on Google and 86 on Twitter.

With more and more money available to spend, political campaigns will stop at nothing to receive votes.

References: 1, 2, 3



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Celebrity Endorsed Politics

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As we all know, today is election day and it is crucial that all American citizens get to the polls and make sure their voice is heard. Over the past couple of months leading up to the elections, I have noticed a large number of celebrities endorsing political candidates via social media channels.

We know that influencer marketing is extremely effective. When you have a celebrity with a large number of followers backing your brand, people will listen. When it comes to politics, I think it’s awesome to see celebrities speaking up and encouraging people to vote. It shows that we are all united as Americans with the same rights, regardless of whether we are famous or not.

However, I’m not so sure I think celebrities should use their platform to endorse a specific candidate or bill. They are obviously free to say whatever they want on social media, but I believe it influences people to vote how Taylor Swift told them to rather than doing research and making individual opinions. (Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge Swiftie and I love what she’s doing on social media right now.)

Below are screen grabs of Taylor Swift’s Instagram posts regarding the elections. She posted on her page about endorsing a certain candidate in her home state of Tennessee and explained why she was not voting for the opposing candidate. She then encouraged people to get out and vote, specifically for the candidate she endorsed. She has also been posting Instagram stories of her fans and other celebrities that tag her in their voting photos, which I believe is a great way to connect with people and show that she is no different from her fans.

Like I said, I’ll always be a Swiftie regardless of what she believes or how she uses her platform. I believe there are both pros and cons of celebrities encouraging their followers to vote. I’m just curious how this will impact elections and individuals’ opinions on issues in our country. What are your thoughts?

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Headed To The Polls? Your Favorite Brands Are Joining You.

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With midterm elections occurring on this upcoming Tuesday, November 6, there’s been a push around the country to register and to vote over the past few months. Due to a tumultuous political climate and a partisan divide that seems larger than ever, the movement to encourage voting that started largely with celebrities and influencers is not lost on America’s younger voters (or their favorite brands).

From Levi’s to Lyft and just about every other major brand in between, companies are urging Americans to vote. Tory Burch, founder and namesake of the fashion empire, said of the brand’s limited edition “Vote” t-shirt that “Voting is an issue I am incredibly passionate about. It is an integral part of what it means to be an American and defines our country’s character.…Creating this t-shirt is not about partisanship, it’s simply about voting. To me, voting is an expression of patriotism. I never feel more American than in the voting booth.”

Many CEOs and companies feel similarly to Burch’s statement, all posting Instagram stories, creating merchandise, and running ad campaigns centered around voting. This trend has been gradually growing since the controversial 2016 election and it’s not slowing down any time soon. Why are brands doing this — and is it working?

With consumers that pay less attention to product and demand more content centered around themselves, it’s no surprise that brands are choosing to elevate an activity that’s applicable to the every day social media follower and product consumer. There’s no downside to encouraging customers to exercise their democratic right (especially when voter turnout amongst millennials is historically low). 

Are more people voting due to brands taking a stand in favor of the democratic process? You bet. USA Today reported that according to a poll from Harvard, forty percent of the young voters polled said they would “definitely vote” in the midterms. The article also states that “nationally, voters aged 18 to 39 have nearly tripled their early voting rate since 2014. That’s increased their share of the early vote by more than 3 percentage points.”

Whether you like it or not, brands are shaping the culture around voting through increasing awareness using their platforms. What do you think? Drop your opinion in the comments below!

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Trending Now: Midterm Election Edition

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It is almost election time and my social media is filled with supporters as well as some not-so-supporters of our candidates for Georgia’s next governor. I can find out almost anything I want to know in relation to elections just by hopping on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter…

I can find out people’s’ political views, updates on voting locations, voting rules, candidate information, and tons of resources about how to register and when the deadlines are. This is super important everywhere, but especially for a college town like Athens. There are so many young voters that have a huge influence, and social media is where we look to find information. Now that politicians and the government also use social media as a platform for campaigning, voter turnout among the younger generations have increased- and there are better-educated voters as well. Now we know that not everything is true on social media, but it is a great outlet to see how the candidates are using these platforms and to find those credible statistics in regards to laws and other proposals on the ballots. I see something new related to the upcoming elections at least once a day on each social media, and that is a great thing overall.

It is so important to stay up-to-date on this information, and because we look to social media and the internet for updates, it is just as vital for the politicians and government to utilize these resources. Other generations are adapting to the internet usage in politics too. Twitter pretty much carries the presidential elections and tons of senators, representatives, and politicians rely heavily on Twitter to share their beliefs. Celebrities are even endorsing candidates through their social media. It’s here to stay!


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I’m bad at Twitter, but so is Ted Cruz

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As you may know, Ted Cruz and Beto O’Rourke are the candidates running against each other for Texas’ senate seat. Campaigning efforts by each party have been pretty typical of any normal senate campaign. However, this weekend on Twitter, Ted Cruz found himself campaigning for his opponent.

Cruz decided to tweet out a video of his opponent Beto O’Rourke giving a speech in a church, with the caption “In Beto O’Rourke’s own words #TXSenateDebate”. All in all it was a short clip, around 1 minute long, detailing the injustice in the case of Botham Shem Jean, a man shot in his own home just a few weeks ago.

I’m not sure what Ted Cruz was expecting when he tweeted that video clip. He might have wanted people to be outraged by O’Rourke’s speech. However, instead of criticizing O’Rourke, followers found his speech beautiful and inspiring. Twitter users have been replying to Cruz’s tweet all weekend in support of O’Rourke.


Many people started to reply to the tweet saying that they hoped O’Rourke meant what he was saying because they needed a man like him in office. Others tweeted their confusion at the nature of Cruz’s tweet. He seemed to be advocating in favor of O’Rourke instead of opposing him.

People have even been tweeting out funny scenarios about Cruz trying to make O’Rourke look bad when in reality it looks like he is trying to highlight how great O’Rourke is.

Long story short, I am unsure if Ted Cruz knows how to run his own Twitter account. I do not think that tweeting something potentially in support of your opponent is a good idea. On the other hand I also do not think that that specific news story is something that Cruz would be wise to oppose. Essentially, I think that if he wants to succeed he needs change up his Twitter game. I may not be the most savvy Twitter user, but I think there’s a better way to market yourself than this!


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John Oliver: Fake News Quickly Becoming the Real News

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HBO’s “Last Week Tonight” with John Oliver has proven to be arguably the most influential comedy news program on television right now.  What many other comedy news shows, such as “Late Show with Stephen Colbert” and the Daily Show with Trevor Noah, do is run through a series of headlines and make brief jokes about them before moving on to the next topic.  How LWT differs, though, is that it chooses one or two main topics and dedicates the entire half hour to it, going for depth rather than breadth.  By going into such detail, the show enables itself to reveal the hidden stories behind many commonly misunderstood concepts and organizations.  Additionally, Oliver often ends the episodes by introducing a tangible idea to tie in the previous ideas as well as often launch a counter to them with real results.  Here are a few recent examples and the corresponding movements that Oliver started at the end of the episode:

Recent examples and impact:

Mike Pence

The show tackles the Vice President and his long-running history of homophobia and transphobia and the implications of his beliefs and their impact on the White House.  Oliver covers Pence’s daughter’s book about the family rabbit Marlon Bundo, which was released the day after his show premiered and promoted at several homophobic events.  To combat this, the staff wrote a rival book about the family bunny being gay and marrying another male bunny which was released a few hours earlier than the original book.  All of the proceeds were donated to various LGBT rights groups.  The Last Week Tonight book shot to #1 on the Amazon bestseller list.


The show looks at the NRA-funded station NRA TV, which is available on several streaming devices and is revealed to be a pseudo-propoganda with the purpose of convincing gun-oweners that people are trying to attack their liberties and thus incite rage and monger fear. He reveals the tactics that the programs use to instill a sense of dread in its viewers while often masking the truth behind said production tools.

Immigration Courts

In this segment, Oliver assesses how ridiculous and unfair immigration courts are, especially with regard to how they treat children being forced to defend themselves in these courts, as well as adults who have a lesser grasp on English.  These trials often last less than 5 minutes and trap the defendants in legal binds.  Additionally, they are often forced to wait for several years before they can even leave detention and face trial.

Here are two of the most popular episodes of the show on YouTube:

Donald Trump, followed by Trump vs. Truth

Oliver’s two most viewed episodes on YouTube both concern then-candidate Donald J. Trump’s loose grasp on telling the truth.  He does a good job keeping his political views out of the segment, focusing only on the objective truth and the ways that it is circumvented.  He did however launch a viral campaign poking fun at Trump’s familial name with the hashtag #MakeDonaldDrumfAgain leading to millions of web searches and uses of the trend.

Why he’s so important:

It is often easy to get caught up in headline-grabbing sensationalist journalism devoid of facts and pushing an agenda.  What makes Oliver’s show so compelling is that he presents a concept and spends the entirety of the segment demonstrating the facts regarding it, albeit with crass humor injected throughout.  He attracts young audiences with his humor and keeps them with the compelling narrative of his segments.  For this reason, his show is one of the most legitimate forms of news we currently have.

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