Boston - After Senator Bernie Sanders endorsed Hillary Clinton at 11:29am on Tuesday July 12 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Jill Stein's Green Party Presidential campaign began experiencing an immediate surge in online traffic, with a huge spike in social media interest that made Jill Stein a trending topic on both Facebook and Twitter several times throughout the week.
Stein's online growth following Sanders' endorsement was so strong that bySaturday, the campaign had succeeded in an appeal to be added to Google's top search results for "Presidential candidates", and by Sunday the campaign was receiving widespread reports from followers that Facebook was preventing them from inviting more friends to like Stein's page.
The surge was unleashed after Politico posted an article about Jill Stein's live tweeting of the Clinton-Sanders event, which quickly began trending on Facebook. Buzz continued to grow as Stein posted a statement on the endorsement, congratulating Sanders for his success in an "undemocratic primary" and thanking him "for showing clearly how a grassroots campaign, armed only with a progressive vision and small contributions from real people, can win over the majority of Americans."
On the evening of the endorsement, Dr. Stein hosted a live video discussion on her Facebook page with the title "What's next for our revolution?", taking questions from supporters across the country. Jill Stein was trending on Facebook when the live video started, and within hours the video had reached over 2 million people on Facebook, getting over 350,000 views.
Stein's posts continued to go viral over the course of the week, including stories about donations to the campaign jumping 999% the day of Sanders' endorsement, Stein's public offer to pardon whistleblower Edward Snowden, and high-profile endorsements for Stein's Green campaign from actor Viggo Mortensen and renowned academic Dr. Cornel West, who had recently served as a delegate to the Democratic Party's platform committee. By the time Stein broadcast a Facebook Live appearance together with West on Sunday, reaching over 1.3 million people, the campaign had begun to receive a flood of messages and comments from people saying that Facebook was no longer allowing them to invite friends to Dr. Stein's page.
Despite Facebook's apparent decision to put the brakes on Jill Stein's page, in the one-week period following Sanders' endorsement Stein still brought in an increase of 92,583 new followers, a higher increase than either Hillary Clinton, whose page added roughly 79,000 new followers, or Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson. Overall, Stein's Facebook following grew by 31.5%, Johnson's by 9.5%, Donald Trump's by 2.0% and Clinton's by 1.8%.
Meanwhile on Twitter, Stein's following grew by 27,403 over the same period, an increase of 20.9%. Stein's tweets earned over 14 million impressions. Stein's most viral tweet of the week, one featured in the Politico story, aimed a direct jab at the popular argument that voters have to settle for the "lesser evil": "It sounds like the only good thing Bernie can say about Hillary is that she's not Donald. That's what most of her supporters like about her." The viral takedown of Clinton's campaign strategy was retweeted 8,206 times, reaching 721,000 people on Twitter alone.
On Thursday, two days after the endorsement, Stein's campaign posted a petition revealing that the top results of a Google search for "Presidential candidates" yielded the names, pictures and party affiliations of Trump, Clinton, Sanders and Johnson, but not Stein. After over 20,000 supporters signed the petition within 24 hours, Jill Stein promptly appeared next to the other candidates in Google's top results.
"The explosion of interest in Jill Stein's campaign this week shows that when people get a chance to hear from Jill, they want to hear more - and they want their friends to hear about Jill too," said Dave Schwab, the campaign's Communications Director. "The Internet, and social media in particular, are empowering us to bypass the traditional gatekeepers of the political establishment so we can have a conversation directly with regular people who are ready for a new kind of politics."
"A recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll showing Jill Stein at 6% nationally shows that literally millions of Americans are ready to reject the failing two-party system and try a new way forward with the Green Party, a truly democratic party of the people that has never taken money from corporations or super PACs," continued Schwab. "We're now reaching critical mass as these millions of Americans spread the word, online and in their communities, that we all deserve better than Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump as President. Between now and November we will bring together the 60% of Americans who want a new major party with the independents who now outnumber both Democrats and Republicans. Together we will break the DNC-RNC stranglehold on the Presidential debates, and we will break free from the two-party trap for good."