Sitting from afar in New Zealand, I only get news of the USA presidential elections in dribs and drabs. I see highlights of the various debates, and I get news articles (mostly pro-Bernie Sanders) blasted in my face on Reddit. The thing that most intrigued me watching clips of the debates, was how well every candidate can spin essentially any question into a WWE style promo for their policies. Sanders can spin almost any question into a rant about the working class, Trump can take any problem in the world and blame it on an ethnicity other than White American and Clinton can take a question on her email scandal and somehow spin it to pander to women voters.
It got me thinking about the candidates Twitter accounts, do they stay just as well on message? Is Sanders all about health care? Is Hillary Clinton all about trying to get the women’s vote? Is Trump tweeting non stop about immigration? I set out to find out.
I wrote a quick app to download the candidates last 200 tweets, remove stop words (words like “and” or “the”) and created a word cloud for each candidate. Here are the results….
Bernie Sanders (D) :
Yep. You bet your bananas that health care is talked about often. But what also gets me about Bernie’s Twitter (and as you will see below), is that he is very straight forward in his offerings compared to other candidates. He talks Jobs, Wages, Social, People, Climate, Social Security, Minimum Wage. It’s all here. You’ll notice that there are Spanish words in Bernie’s cloud, and that’s because he tweets in Spanish quite often.
Hillary Clinton (D) :
Hillary is also all about that healthcare. She also spends a lot of time talking about republicans, Trump and Obama. Again, she also sends out tweets in Spanish.
Martin O’Malley (D) :
O’Malley talks a lot about guns, refuges, energy, and apparently leadership. He is a sure fire chance to drop out of the race after a few primary votes, so I didn’t expect to see too much policy.
Donald Trump (R) :
Whatever the Don is tweeting about, it ain’t policy that’s for sure. He spends a lot of time talking about Ted Cruz though. You can also see he talks about Jeb Bush, Rubio and Clinton an awful lot. I thought for sure the number one term would be something to do with immigration, but it seems Trump saves that for the debates.
Ted Cruz (R) :
Cruz is all over the place. Mostly he uses Twitter to thank people. He does talk Tax, Isis and women in terms of policy. But that’s about it.
Marco Rubio (R) :
Rubio won’t stop tweeting about Hillary. In terms of policy, he talks about Isis and Iran a lot, and football too. Can’t forget about football!
So let’s wrap up. Overall it was an interesting exercise. It seems that the Democrats do talk a lot more policy on Twitter than Republicans. But I would point out that’s not a bad thing necessarily. If the Twitter account is just pumping out policy slogans all day long, it’s not good either.
I might in the future take a look at other things to do with presidential Twitter accounts. e.g. What was Clinton tweeting in the 2008 race against Obama? What did Trump tweet out before he entered the race?