Elites & Rank-And-File Have Their Own Separate “Invisible Primaries”

If you buy the idea that social media are going to play a progressively much larger role in politics in the very immediate future, then this item from Politico‘s Hadas Gold should be of some interest:

Social media has no doubt who the most buzzworthy potential presidential candidates are at the moment for 2016: Hillary Clinton and Ted Cruz together accounted for 40 percent of the discussion on Facebook and nearly half — 47 percent — of mentions on Twitter among 10 top presidential possibilities in the past three months, according to new data provided to POLITICO by Facebook and Twitter.

At the other end of the spectrum, interestingly enough, are the GOP candidates most beloved of elites, including donors:

Going further down the Facebook list, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a favorite of grass-roots liberals, had 6 percent for 1.7 million interactions, just ahead New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie with 5.5 percent, or 1.5 million interactions, according to Facebook. At the bottom of the list were Florida’s potential hopefuls, both Republicans — Bush at 3 percent, or 700,000 interactions, with 300,000 people talking about him, and Sen. Marco Rubio with 1 percent, or 200,000 interactions, and 100,000 people talking about him.

Given the endless and interminable and redundant hype about Chris Christie being a world-beating presidential candidate, the fact that Bernie Sanders is more prominent on social media is revealing. Meanwhile the other elite favorites, Bush and Rubio–the latter, BTW, the object of a puff piece by National Journal‘s Josh Kraushaar today that labels him as the ought-to-be 2016 “front-runner”–are just about invisible on social media. This gives a new and parallel meaning to the term “invisible primary,” the pre-election period where candidates maneuver for position. There may be two this time around, with only one of them controlled by donors and other “insiders.”

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.