Elections

Trump Is Gobbling Up Media Attention At A Breath-Taking Pace As Dems Struggle To Keep Up

Photographer: Alex Edelman/Bloomberg via Getty Images

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Chris White Tech Reporter

Online interest in Democratic presidential candidates has plunged as the media largely focuses on President Donald Trump’s recent tweets.

Articles about the Democratic candidates last week generated only a combined 6.5 million social media interactions, the fewest since January, Axios reported Wednesday. Trump soaked up all the attention Sunday after he told several progressive lawmakers to “go back” to their own countries.

News articles about the president, meanwhile, generated roughly 23.2 million interactions, the report notes, citing data from NewsWhip, a social-media metrics company. The moment is a reminder of the president’s ability to steer news-cycles and deprive his opponents of attention.

One of the most significant stories about a Democratic candidate was on California Sen. Kamala Harris’s proposal to require rent and utility payments to be incorporated into credit scores to help address the black homeowner-ship gap, which received 208,000 interactions.

Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at The Graduate Center of CUNY in the Manhattan borough of New York, New York, U.S., July 11, 2019. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri - RC1C9EFA6300

Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at The Graduate Center of CUNY in the Manhattan borough of New York, New York, U.S., July 11, 2019. REUTERS/Carlo Allegria

Former Vice President Joe Biden, who is also running for president, also saw his interactions tumbled despite rolling out his health care plan Monday, which seeks to build on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) rather than attempt to dismantle it. (RELATED: Joe Biden Rolls Out Health Plan In Contrast To Medicare For All Democrats)

Axios’ data on interactions include likes, comments and shares and highlights a crucial element of an election: the ability to measure the amount of attention candidates are receiving and how that attention is moving the minds of voters.  It measures enthusiasm in ways traditional polling can not.

Trump employed a similar technique in 2016. The president earned roughly $2 billion worth of free media during the 2016 Republican primary while spending much less on advertising than most of his GOP opponents during that election year.

To put that into perspective, Trump earned $400 million worth of free media in February 2016, a number equaling the amount of free media the late Sen. John McCain spent during his entire 2008 presidential campaign.

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