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2024 U.S. General Elections

I don't want my president to be a TikTok influencer. Biden is wasting time making jokes.

These videos make me cringe and reveal just how out of touch the Biden campaign is with its young audience.

In one video, the UGK hit “Int’l Players Anthem (I Choose You)” plays over a of a tweet from Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, accusing him of “yapping.”

In another, a criticizing President Joe Biden’s student loan debt plan flips to a sarcastic response from the Biden campaign. A from a live broadcast shows Biden responding, “Oh, I don’t care,” when asked if he would rather run against Nikki Haley or Donald Trump come November.

This is a sample of some of the videos on the verified TikTok page, which began posting on Super Bowl Sunday. It’s part of his 2024 campaign and mirrors the accounts on Instagram and X (formerly Twitter). The foray into TikTok is clearly based on a desire by the Biden campaign to connect with Gen Z voters, who are using the app .

But these videos make me cringe and reveal just how out of touch the Biden campaign is with its young audience.

"Saturday Night Live" spoofs a meeting of TikTok creators with President Joe Biden in 2022.

Biden the TikTok influencer? No thanks.

I do not want my president to be a TikTok influencer.

I do not want to watch him make jokes and I do not care about “Dark Brandon,” his internet persona stemming from the right-wing meme “Let’s go, Brandon!”

I don’t want to see a photo series set to Nicki Minaj or Mitski.

I want him to talk to me and my generation like we’re adults.

There’s so much more that Biden could be saying to potential voters, and it shows in how his videos are performing. Of the 40 videos the account has uploaded, 25 have fewer than 10,000 likes.

The comment sections of different videos are full of Palestinian flag emojis and mentions of Rafah, a city in the southern Gaza Strip that is about to be by the Israeli military.

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What TikTok users want is a president who will address the issues at hand.

of 18- to 29-year-olds in this country get their news from the app. By not taking TikTok seriously, the Biden campaign is missing a major opportunity.

Some successes, mostly misfires

A few of the published videos do this. One post is explaining the disastrous outcome of the recent Alabama Supreme Court ruling that halted in vitro fertilization in the state.

Another is a speaking about the state’s abortion ban and her IVF treatment experience.

In fact, the only on an issue is a clip of him talking about Trump’s plan to ban abortion nationwide.

The Biden video outperformed the video of Harris and the patient, making it clear that voters want to hear from him directly instead of Harris, whom they may be less familiar with, or people whom they don’t know at all. Also, none of the three videos are generating genuine discussion in their comments sections – which would be good for feedback and the algorithm.

Biden’s campaign is focusing on trying to be funny more than covering topics that interest Gen Z voters. It’s clear that the death of and the failure of cease-fire negotiations are top of mind for a lot of voters.

Making a video based on his recent comments about a potential cease-fire would do a lot for his image. He has yet to post a video about the conflict at all.

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Another topic he could explain in depth is student debt. One video features a North Carolina father . Another compares his using the app’s slideshow format.

Neither captures the specifics of who had their loans forgiven and what the long-term plan is. I want Biden to tell me that he canceled in loan debt for 3.9 million borrowers – something that is changing lives across the country.

Instead, the majority of the videos are about ridiculing Trump. The “at least I’m not Trump” strategy might have worked in 2020, but it’s not clear it’ll work in 2024. The jokes the account is creating all feel stale, because they are essentially the same jokes we’ve been seeing since the last election.

Young people, especially first-time voters, need to hear about what Biden is doing for them, and they want to hear it from the president himself.

Other politicians show it can be done well

There are endless possibilities for what he could talk about, and he only has to look to other elected officials who are successful on the app.

Rep. Jeff Jackson, D-N.C., is one of the most effective.Jackson films videos for his 2.5 million TikTok followers where he simply faces the camera and talks about what he’s working on in Congress, from the expulsion of Republican Rep. George Santos (which has ) to the first impeachment vote on Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas ().

It’s clear that the videos are resonating – the past forty videos have each received more than 1 million views. It would be easy for Biden to use Jackson as a framework for talking about issues, or even what he’s focusing on day to day as he continues governing.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., leaves a House Democratic caucus meeting on Feb. 14, 2024.

If his team needs more inspiration, he could also look to the main account of Rep. , D-N.Y. It has close to a million followers and mostly features videos of her speeches on the House floor.

He could take notes from Sen. , D-N.J., who in 2023 did a retrospective series on his for his 390,000 followers.

Talking to Biden's constituents about the issues he cares about would help mitigate concerns about the president's age and mental prowess. It would not be hard to create scripts for him to read. More than anything, his team needs to commit to using TikTok in a way that addresses his hopeful audience like adults who want to know he has a firm stance on current events and congressional happenings.

Biden does not need to be funny. No one needs to think the president is funny. Voters just need to see that he’s capable of winning come November.

˽ýӳ elections columnist Sara Pequeño

Follow ˽ýӳ elections columnist Sara Pequeño on X, formerly Twitter,  and Facebook .

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