The GOP Needs to Start Throwing Money at Social Media Influencers...Right Now

(AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

The GOP has a messaging problem. That is nothing new. But the power of social media is a relatively new phenomenon, and its influence is being felt in nearly every aspect of society these days.


Bot farms can overwhelm platforms with negative messaging that can shift the public ethos of a product or company by making it seem like a lot of customers are complaining. Even the verifiable complaints are often amplified by the algorithms, making it seem as though an entire movement of customers is upset with Coke for not taking a stance against Georgia voter laws, when in reality it was just a small group of activists who don’t even drink soda.

Social media makes it seem like every kid under 18 is “gender fluid” (except you or your kids). It makes it seem like everyone’s house is pristine and tidy (except yours). It makes it seem like every parent is completely in control of and connecting with their perfect, beautiful, well-behaved children (except you).

It is an extremely effective method of disseminating messages and influence. There is a reason China bans TikTok for its own children but peddles it to ours. Social media can act as a mind virus.

It’s a terrible, dark consequence of modern technology, but it has become too huge of a force in politics to ignore. There was a time, not very long ago at all, when being famous and influential required that one-in-a-million Hollywood moonshot. Now it just requires a phone and an app. The fame market has exploded thanks to social media. And so has the idea market.


Democrats recognize this. While the Republican white-haired set turn up their noses at TikTok influencers being invited to the White House or showing up at political events, Democrats are cultivating and activating new voters simply by getting people those voters see most to repeat their talking points. It’s good for a chuckle to roll our eyes at the flamboyant gay kid who spent a day making Instagram reels with Jen Psaki, but a million of his followers suddenly found out who Jen Psaki was and guess what? She seemed cool to them. We’ve been talking nonstop about Tucker Carlson for two days now, but his effect on those kids watching Psaki turn the White House into an influencer crash pad is exactly zero.

A large portion of that audience might not vote at all, but if only a small portion chooses to vote for the person who looks the coolest to them in just one election, it could change everything. Rest assured, the one issue that will activate GenZ above all else is abortion, and the pro-abortion content creators are outraged, slick, and supported by the algorithms. Their messages are getting shared millions of times over just as we head into election season and the Democrats are supporting it, either with direct funding or indirect perks like access to politicians, interviews, and invitations.


What’s the GOP doing?

They’re launching a fact-checking website.

Shapiro likes to say that “facts don’t care about your feelings” but social media has given us millions of voting-age adults who don’t care about facts, or they think the captions on their favorite reel represent the only facts there are. Democrats know this. They understand how pervasive the culture is to the political mindset of Americans. They are the architects of that.

The youth vote hasn’t traditionally been that important for Republicans because young people don’t really vote. They talk, but they don’t vote. I believe for the most part that will always remain true. However, it doesn’t mean they have forsaken their votes altogether. When they feel moved enough, GenZ will make the Herculean effort to cast at least one vote if their influencer gods make it seem vital enough, and one vote in one election is all it would take to foil a Republican presidential challenge. Guess what just happened that has thrown their gods into rage-filled, spitting, flaming rages? Abortion. Since the demise of Roe v. Wade, the abortion hysterics have increased exponentially, and they are working to motivate young people to head to the ballot box – young people with brains freshly infected at altars of their colleges, universities, and mandatory DEI work seminars.


None of them are surfing the web and stopping at fact-checking websites.

They’re looking at their “stories” feeds while they go to the bathroom, wait in line, or wait for class to start. They’re sharing videos on lunch breaks and commenting on viral posts while getting their ADHD prescriptions refilled. They’re getting all of their political opinions from social media and progressives understand that. They have mastered the art of going where the voters are. Republicans scoff and put out more white papers. Ronna McDaniel shows up on Fox News and acts as though she’s just shifted the course of the American political conversation. The consultant class takes millions of dollars for radio ads and YouTube spots, as if almost everyone doesn’t simply skip through those these days.

The word of one TikTok influencer with a few hundred thousand followers travels light-years faster than a traditional political ad. One of the complaints from the left about Trump’s 2016 run is that he got so much free advertising simply because of all the hate-clicks and rage posting from mainstream outlets. Then Democrats figured it out and got in on it. Why pay millions for a tv ad when you could pay thousands (even just hundreds, in some cases) for a quick word from a popular influencer?


The GOP needs to stop acting like they’re above the ebbs and flows of social media culture. They need to stop pretending the consultant class is winning anything anymore. They could see twice the results for half the money if they’d just throw some cash and perks at a few of the biggest conservative social media influencers – not the Shapiros of the world, but the kids you’ve never heard of who still have millions of views a week – and let those people make their messaging viral.

Think of how many pairs of yoga pants Ronna McDaniel could buy with those savings.

The GOP needs to take a cue from the messaging success of the left. They should be paying influencers right now. This very moment. Not managing them, or trying to create them…paying them – the ones already working and creating. Throw them a little cash, give them their basic talking points, and walk away.

2024 is already in motion. It’s now or never.


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