Trump supporter Gayla Baer-Taylor, 49, from Knightstown, Ind., describes herself on Twitter as “coffee drinking, highly opinionated, political junkie.”
For the last 16 months, she has been glued to social media to stump for her candidate, attending Trump rallies streamed on Facebook Live and chatting up fellow Trump supporters on Twitter. As returns roll in, she’ll be throwing a “watch party” on Facebook, a single post where she and her friends can comment and engage with each other. She’ll also follow developments on Twitter to share highlights with her Facebook friends.
Baer-Taylor says social media — particularly the visceral immediacy of live-streaming video — has transformed election-year politics, forging stronger connections between campaigns and supporters by whisking people into the middle of the action, from broadcasting distant rallies to informal Q&As with campaign officials. Both Twitter and Facebook live-streamed the presidential debates. Last week, Trump’s campaign launched a nightly program on Facebook Live that includes a link to solicit donations and scrolls the names of donors.
“I think people look at the candidates more like their neighbors because of the social media and the social interaction,” Baer-Taylor said. “It’s like you are bringing the candidates right into your living room or they are sitting at your kitchen table with you. I really think that a lot of people who follow Trump especially think he knows them by name.”