Yes, it is bizarre to see Brooklyn grandpa Chuck Schumer tweeting about Cardi B in conversation with his much younger colleagues.
But it isn't just Twitter. Politicians are also showing up on Instagram, a medium that Ocasio-Cortez has seized upon as an effective way to communicate with the public. (She has even hosted a meeting this week teaching fellow Democratic lawmakers to use social media.) Now we have Beto O'Rourke making political points during a dental cleaning and Elizabeth Warren cracking a cold one in her kitchen.
Before you jump on the "how do you do, fellow kids" meme, it must be noted that some older politicians have a knack for social media. Aside from her widely mocked video about drinking beer, Warren has been largely successful in going viral on social media. An Instagram post and tweet by Warren today highlighting her presidential bid offers insight into how politicians may be seen as more relatable through social media.
First, Warren announced her bid for the presidency on Dec. 31, joined by her husband and, more importantly, her dog, Bailey. Bailey received the warmest reviews from media and observers alike, with many commenting on his undeniably adorable "Consumer Watchdog" collar (which can also be purchased on her website).
Warren has since made Bailey an important part of her nascent campaign. On Wednesday, Warren tweeted a video of Bailey at a political event in New Hampshire, and the various attendees who are presumably there for Warren but fall in love with Bailey along the way. A "Bailey Cam" appearing to be attached to Bailey's collar gets footage of all of his adoring fans.
On Friday, Warren advertised another New Hampshire event using Bailey. Her Instagram story showed her giving him a bath to get ready for the night's event in Claremont, New Hampshire. A tweet she posted with photos of Bailey quickly went viral.
The popular Twitter account WeRateDogs replied to Warren's post of Bailey with "omg." WeRateDogs is pretty self-explanatory -- it rates pictures of dogs, generally giving the canine a grade even higher than 10.
Warren replied to WeRateDogs, asking, "15/10 official Good Boy?" WeRateDogs replied, "i think so elizabeth i think so."
Although an entirely mundane Twitter interaction, it is notable because Warren is 69 years old and knows how to converse (or has a millennial staffer nearby) in internet parlance as well as any millennial, with the nonsensical capitalization of "Good Boy" and the nod to WeRateDog's raison d'etre of giving cute dogs impossible ratings.
We can expect more of this as the presidential race intensifies. Kirsten Gillibrand has 'grammed herself baking dessert, recipe included. Likely presidential candidate Cory Booker also makes liberal use of Instagram stories. Almost everything potential 2020 hopeful Kamala Harris tweets gets over 1,000 likes, and usually far more.
Warren may have a corner on the WeRateDogs constituency for the moment. But once more candidates jump in the race, the scramble to appeal to phone-obsessed young voters will officially begin.