O'Rourke must motivate voters who stay home during midterms, get Latinos to the polls and have a "historic turnout" of 18- to 29-year-old voters, said Mark Jones, a Rice University political scientist. Texas' older voters reliably vote Republican, he said. Only 13 percent of registered voters age 18-29 voted in Texas during the 2014 midterms, compared to 56 percent for the 65-69 age range, Jones said. O'Rourke is betting on this aggressive social media push to reverse that trend.
The Cruz campaign has run about a dozen ads, most of which invite Facebook users to attend rallies, others that cast O'Rourke as a dangerous liberal and extremist. He's spent less than $200,000 on ads viewed fewer than 4 million times.
In 2016, Bernie Sanders "broke through the noise of presidential politics" with Facebook posts that drew tens of thousands of likes and shares, establishing his image as a straight shooter with younger voters. His campaign raised most of nearly $230 million total online.
Regarding Beto: "It's the Obama playbook, the Sanders playbook and the Trump playbook all rolled into one," Dan Schnur, professor at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School of Communications, said of O'Rourke's campaign. "Over the last decade and a half, there has been a gradual evolution of how candidates use social media to motivate supporters. The thing to remember is that all the online activity in the world doesn't make a difference unless it results in offline activity. All those supporters watching Beto O'Rourke's videos are going to have to hit the streets and turn out friends if he's going to pull off the upset."
Blanketing social media
Other midterm races are tighter, but for Democrats nationally, this is the contest to watch. It doesn't hurt, says Republican strategist Thomas, that O'Rourke's facing off against Cruz, who is the biggest bogeyman next to Trump for Democrats and isn't that popular with many Republicans either.
Robert Stovall, a San Antonio-based Republican activist and former chairman of the Bexar County, Texas, GOP, had heard of O'Rourke's social media blitz. But he got his strongest indication three weeks ago when his 27-year-old son called to alert him that O'Rourke was all over Instagram, Snapchat and pretty much every other social media platform. Stovall predicts Cruz will still win the race but O'Rourke's social media strategy is reminiscent of President Trump's strategy in 2016 and could be the wave of the future.
An excellent PodCast video, with the Founders of Pod Save America, which includes a visit to Beto's Austin HQ and a brief visit with Field Director, Zack Malitz:
Interview with PodSaveAmerica Founders on Morning Joe:
Jon Lovett and Tommy Vietor, both co-hosts of the Pod Save America podcast and the HBO special, join Morning Joe to discuss the evolution of their show, President Trump and the coming midterms.
Thorough and inspiring summation from The Nation today: