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Hasan Piker Won’t Tell You to Vote for Joe Biden

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“If I’m young, I don’t see anyone right now that is captivating me,” Piker told us.

Pollsters and strategists like to make the case that Biden won the last election in part to the young voters that turned out for him, but over the past few months, polling has suggested that their support is wavering. A new set of New York Times/Siena polls out this week also claim that in every battleground state except Wisconsin, Biden is polling behind former president Donald Trump, and the youth vote could be a large reason why.

Streamers like Piker are arguably some of the most influential creators on the internet, and there’s no doubt that they could have a real impact on 2024. Earlier this week, I spoke with Samuel Drzymala, the founder of Progressive Victory, a liberal group that works with streamers on get-out-the-vote initiatives. He told me that Twitch’s format allows for the kinds of back-and-forths that can change a person’s mind.

“The long-form discussion allows for a lot of nuance and detail to be discussed and creates a greater understanding, like these people are educating their audiences when they choose to speak on issues,” Drzymala said.

Progressive Victory’s approach to moving online activism into IRL has proven successful. In a recent Ohio canvasing event, the group was able to bring together around 20 streamers and 300 volunteers to knock on 40,000 doors for state progressives.

“They’ve built communities around their personalities and the way that they speak to their audiences,” Drzymala said. “The live nature allows for the creators to make really compelling asks of their audiences and can get people to take crazy amounts of action.”

Unlike Drzymala’s group, Piker focuses more on issues advocacy than electoral politics. Though he will sometimes encourage followers to vote in down-ballot elections, his largest priorities are the causes he cares about.

“I think that my impact is way more important when it comes to a Chipotle unionizing in Lansing, Michigan. I went to the UCLA encampment, and all the SJP and JVP students I met were like, ‘I’m here because I started watching you in 2020 and you really broadened my horizons,’” Piker told us.

That impact won’t be reaching the Biden campaign anytime soon. The Biden campaign declined to comment on what Hasan said about voting, but it has made significant investments in its relationships with supportive influencers, as we’ve talked about multiple times in this newsletter. But is a video with Luke Skywalker more effective than deeply engaged online communities? I guess we’ll find out.

The Chatroom

On Monday, I spoke with Erin Hattamer, a comedian on TikTok with more than 1.6 million followers. For the past two weeks, she has spearheaded a program called #PassTheHat, pairing creators like herself with families in Gaza to raise money for them to either evacuate, pay medical bills, or rebuild their lives.

The grassroots group Operation Olive Branch finds and verifies the families in need, and as of this week, Hattamer has matched more than 700 Palestinian families with online creators. Once a creator is paired with a family, the creator will continue to post about them and their GoFundMes until their goals are reached.





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