2016 Presidential Candidates' Instagram Accounts Graded From A+ Shade Throwing To C- Campaigning
Debates and canvassing might be important, but the 2016 presidential candidates' Instagram accounts are also becoming vital platforms of campaigning. The election will be the fifth presidential race of the millennium, and since President Barack Obama set the bar pretty high for using technology in a campaign, it's up to Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, et al. to take the game to the next level. So far, they have not disappointed. Bernie Sanders has his own very cute emoji app, and at least six candidates are on Snapchat. Not bad for a bunch of old people!
Instagram, specifically, has been widely — and rather resourcefully — used among the contenders. Plus, it's not a stretch to say that Instagram is the most fun and dynamic social media outlet. Donald Trump, for instance, has been using Instagram to throw shade at Jeb Bush. The first jab was a video of Barbara Bush telling an interviewer that there have been enough Bushes in the White House, ending with the words, "Mother Knows Best Jeb!" The next day, he posted a video of Jeb Bush honoring Hillary Clinton at her Liberty Medal award ceremony. It also cuts to Jeb's big bro, George, saying Clinton is his "sister-in-law." Out of context, it looks bad for Jeb. Pretty shady, right? In the spirit of competition, I've decided to assess Trump and his opponents' Instagram game and assign them letter grades. Because social media is the key to our dark millennial hearts.
Donald Trump: A+
On top of throwing expert shade, Trump uses his account to post quotes by himself, talk very loudly at his followers, and make more fun of the Bushes. He has also posted a #TBT with a pre-manic episode Britney Spears. On Instagram, @realdonaldtrump is raw, obviously self-aware, and facetious. With no ounce of irony, I must say that he's a must follow.
Hillary Clinton: A-
Never forget the Kimye selfie. The other best part about Clinton's account is the occasional vintage photos of the fam. Otherwise, it's a decent mix of perfectly composed (a little too perfect) portraits of herself, pictures of her potential constituents with HONY-style captions, and pictures of babies. Lots of babies.
Rand Paul: B+
Weird filters. Star Trek references. Many awkward pictures of self. If my dad had an Instagram, it would look like this, sans campaign stuff.
Jeb Bush: B
Unlike Clinton, Bush's Instagram is less curated and most photos seem like actual iPhone photos that he took spontaneously, like this turtle he met outside the Reagan Library. He's definitely not trying hard and there's a charming aspect to that. And he's not completely helpless to Donald Trump's blasts. Last week, he posted a video of Trump saying he has no idea why he's a Republican in a very old video. Good for him standing up to bullies, albeit really Insta-savvy ones! Here he is touching this little boy's head. Here is a blurry selfie.
Marco Rubio: B
Some photos are uploaded by staffers, some by Rubio himself. It's a disconcerting inconsistency. His first 10 photos are hilarious. Three of them are of LeBron James.
Bernie Sanders: C
Sanders has a freakin' emoji app, and yet his Instagram is a neglected pile of boring campaign photos. Get a grip, Bernie!
Ted Cruz: C-
Cruz actually has two verified accounts, one specifically devoted to his presidential campaign. That one kind of sucks, so our focus will be on his general account, which also kind of sucks. The past 30 or so weeks have been a stream of political infographics and a few videos of him speaking in what looks like the Senate chamber. Before that, it was decidedly more interesting, like this great Throwback Thursday find.
Overall, I'd say not bad. We have a B-average among the candidates, though much of it should be attributed to their savvy (and probably young) staffers. More than anything else, it's nice to see that politicians are using Instagram to genuinely express themselves — a notion that, in the world of politics, is hard to come by. Where else would Rubio pay such an homage to his favorite athlete, anyhow?