AOC playing Among Us is not sus

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Joel C. Bautista | The Ticker

Gabriel Rivera, Science & Technology Editor

Politicians across the United States nowadays have consistently failed to demonstrate that they are normal people. While this is due in part to the polarity of the current political landscape, politicians have neglected to deviate from their personas on Capitol Hill.

Their political rhetoric and beliefs have taken precedence over creating a human connection to voters.

The success of Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s and Ilhan Omar’s livestream of themselves playing Among Us in late October, however, goes beyond two congresswomen playing a popular mobile game with well-known streamers to appeal to young voters. The congresswomen showed they were human.

Ocasio-Cortez and Omar broke the internet playing the hit mobile game on Twitch. The congresswomen played with several other popular streamers and encouraged viewers to vote early for the presidential election.

Ocasio-Cortez instantly shattered records as her stream drew in 439,000 viewers, the third-highest number of viewers for an individual stream in Twitch history. This all started the day before the stream, with an innocuous tweet in which Ocasio-Cortez asked if anyone wanted to see her play Among Us live on Twitch.

The tweet quickly gained massive support and some fans even began to prepare graphics for Ocasio-Cortez to use on her stream. Twenty-four hours later, the congresswoman from New York was playing in front of almost half a million viewers.

Ocasio-Cortez’s and Omar’s Twitch event is part of a larger trend in which politicians have turned to the world of e-sports and video games to attract voters.

The Joseph Biden campaign opened an island named Biden HQ in the popular Nintendo game Animal Crossing: New Horizons in which players can roam and even take photos with an avatar of Joe Biden.

With the incredibly polarized landscape of politics, it’s no surprise Ocasio-Cortez’s and Omar’s choice to livestream has drawn criticism from right-wing opponents.

Although their stream was associated with the upcoming election, both representatives found a way to accomplish something ordinary politicians have failed to do for decades — appeal to young voters.

Since 1980, citizens 65 years and older and 45 to 64-years old have had much greater voter turnouts than citizens in the 18 to 29-year-old age range. Voters 65 years and older specifically have almost consistently had a turnout 20% greater than that of the 18 to 29-year old demographic, according to Census data.

While Sen. Bernie Sanders garnered substantial support from young citizens in both of his attempts for the Democratic National Party’s nomination, there was a lower turnout for him at the polls during primaries.

It is evident there is a disconnect between politicians and the young voters they are trying to gain the support of.

This is incredibly problematic because several of the most pressing issues America faces — climate change, racial injustice, the growing wealth gap — are ones that will have the greatest impact on the future of young voters.

The hundreds of thousands of viewers that watched Ocasio-Cortez and Omar’s stream were undoubtedly composed of a considerable number of voters in the 18 to 29-year-old demographic. Over 73% of Twitch users fall in the 16 to 34-year-old age range, according to GlobalWebIndex stats from the second quarter of 2019.

Ocasio-Cortez’s and Omar’s wholesome livestream was a breath of fresh air in a considerably vitriolic election season.

Political advertisements have resorted to unprecedented levels of mudslinging, with many constantly tagging each other and their views as radical. Watching two congresswomen peacefully coexist and have fun for a few hours is exactly what the public needed.

Going forward, politicians should engage in similar activities that appeal to young voters and prioritize the human aspect of politics.

Ocasio-Cortez and Omar are a few of the politicians that have done this effectively through social media, and it is part of the reason they are heavily favored in their respective congressional races.

If more politicians follow in their footsteps, the U.S. system of democracy will become much more inclusive for voters of all ages and have more dignity than it currently retains.