Biden needs the TikTok generation. His awful debate won’t help.

Biden needs the TikTok generation. His awful debate won’t help.
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Biden looks down with his eyes closed at the debate, standing in front of a microphone with a bright blue background with the CNN logo.
  • Social media is having a meltdown over Biden’s debate performance.
  • Many felt disillusioned by the prospect of either candidate — and their ages.
  • Biden was struggling with Gen Z voters, many of whom get news from TikTok, even before the debate.

There was one potential bright side to Biden’s horrendous performance at CNN’s debate: relatively few people watched it.

But for a critical demographic, they didn’t need to watch live.

Polls have shown Biden has glaring issues with critical Gen Z and millennial voters, with their support for him slipping even before the debate.

And those younger voters are turning less and less to television; roughly one-third of Americans aged 18 to 29 consistently get their news from TikTok.

But if Biden had hoped hoping TikTok would react better than panicking Democrats to the debate, he’s going to be disappointed.

A study by social intelligence firm CredoIQ analyzed the top 450 TikToks about the debate, which together amassed roughly 483 million views.

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The report found that 39% of those videos expressed negative sentiments about Biden alone.

By comparison, only 9.5% of those videos were negative solely about Trump, according to the study. Negative reaction to Biden also outpaced TikTok users who trashed both candidates. Those videos made up about 35% of views.

Overall, TikTok users seem to find the whole event pretty dismal. According to CredoIQ, only 5% of the top posts touted any positive sentiments at all.

Biden’s ‘memeable’ face

While political pundits have largely focused on Biden’s bumbling answers, some on TikTok have focused instead on his “memeable face.”

One video has nearly 9 million views compiling short clips of Biden looking confused, his mouth open and eyebrows furrowed. In the background, the creator can’t help himself from laughing — hard.

Others compared contemporary Biden to his former self. A side-by-side video contrasting Biden’s 2012 performance in the vice presidential debate and his performance on Thursday attracted more than 8 million views, with many commenters saying he seemed like a different man.

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“I need an Adderall prescription, and it’s not for me, it’s for fucking Joe Biden,” James Charles, a popular influencer, said at the beginning of a video that gleaned 18.7 million views.

Charles trashed Trump in the two-minute rant as well, railing against his federal convictions and calling both candidates “corpses.”

But Charles also faced a torrent of criticism over his video when he blamed Biden for the fall of abortion rights and Roe vs. Wade.

And to be fair, Biden did have some defenders, with one creator surmising his performance could have been the result of past health issues or his “speech impediment.”

Nihilism all around

Many users mourned America’s political trajectory beyond Biden himself, with critics calling out Trump’s rampant lies and criminal charges.

One TikTok with nearly 18 million views compares the Obama-Romney 2012 match up to the Trump-Biden disaster.

Obama and Romney’s cordial exchange is set against patriotic music, while Trump and Biden’s voices are sped-up and higher pitched.

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One commenter noted the candidates’ ages, writing, “The fact that even today, Obama and Romney are both still younger than Biden or Trump is just sad.”

“Give them both a pdf,” one creator on X quipped in a post with 4.6 million views, “first one that can rotate it gets to be president.”

Despite the dismal reception, there were several moments that stood out — and even inspired levity.

One Instagram post compiled the night’s biggest quotables, including Biden jabbing that Trump had the “morals of an alleycat,” Trump calling Biden a “very bad Palestinian,” and an argument over which candidate could hit the golf ball further.

“My fellow Americans,” one commenter concluded, “we are so cooked.”

Read the original article on Business Insider


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