“Holy cow, bear with me. Can y’all hear me?” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez inquired, as she started off her live stream on Twitch. Last Tuesday, the Democratic congresswoman took the streaming platform by storm, as she live-streamed the popular game “Among Us” against her fellow Democrat representative, Ilhan Omar, alongside famous Twitch streamers like Pokimane, HasanAbi, Jacksepticeye and various other internet celebrities.
As she live-streamed her game, Ocasio-Cortez took time to encourage people to vote and discuss various other things. She directed viewers to IWillVote.com, a democratic party website with information on voting. She encouraged the viewers, especially if they couldn’t vote themselves, to ask family members about their voting plan and whether they were informed about the criteria for voting in the 2020 election.
AOC also yelled “Trans rights!” in the live stream, in reaction to Harris Brewis’ – also known as Hbomberguy – name coming up on-screen. This is because Brewis is known for raising more than $440,000 for the transgender rights charity, Mermaids. Her short statement was touching to a lot of people, as many flooded Twitter with the clip and exclaimed how happy they were to have AOC’s support. Although this is nothing new since AOC has made her alliance with the LGBTQ+ community crystal clear. Last year, at Bronx Pride, she took center stage to detail her plan to further LGBTQ+ rights in America. Her platform detailed free and accessible Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis for all, as well as tackling the crisis of queer homelessness and making sure that no trans women — or anyone, for that matter — dies in U.S. prisons, following the death of Layleen Polanco. Polanco was a trans woman of color, who died at Rikers Island in 2019 since the staff failed to provide her with medical care while she was in solitary confinement.
She also discussed healthcare with Hbomberguy — an English Twitch streamer — about the UK’s free healthcare. “So you go to the doctor and then what happens, do you just walk up and say I need help? How does that work?” she asked. “I can’t even imagine that interaction without a credit card or some sort of cash payment.” The congresswoman is well known for supporting a free healthcare system in the U.S. On her website, it states that Representative Ocasio-Cortez believes that in the richest country on earth, no person should suffer because they can’t afford healthcare and that she is an unapologetic advocate of Medicare for All.
Regardless of your views on these issues, it is important to note how clever AOC was with getting her message out on Twitch. Twitch, is a video live streaming service operated by Twitch Interactive, a subsidiary of Amazon. Twitch has become popular in the past few years because it enables you to stream whatever you want from virtually anywhere in the globe, and its content producers provide a wide variety of content. While it can be used for other things, Twitch has become the world’s favorite platform for game-streaming service, making it the go-to site for gamers to post content. The Twitch audience is composed of millennials, with 55 percent of the audience being somewhere between 18 and 35. The site is also dominated by a male audience, with the user base being composed of about 81 percent male viewers.
So why is this news? Well, AOC played “Among Us” with over 400,000 people watching her live. All the various Twitch celebrities that promoted her also have millions of followers themselves who might be interested in watching their favorite twitch streamer play “Among Us” with a member of Congress. In a brilliant way, AOC reached thousands of young voters on their own turf. Ocasio-Cortez, who had previously been branded a social media expert, has had better luck with reaching out to young voters than her compatriots in the democratic party. AOC even hosted a workshop for her fellow Democrats, in order to teach them how to effectively engage with constituents on Twitter.
While some may scoff and brush this off, it’s important to note that the tech-savvy congresswoman is the second-most followed democrat on the site, the first being Barack Obama. Neither Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi or even Joe Biden match AOC in terms of Twitter followers, meaning that their access to younger voters is just a bit less than Ocasio-Cortez’s. Love her or hate her, AOC’s attempts at reaching out to young voters have proven to be successful.