Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) drew hundreds of thousands of viewers to Amazon's
AOC's stream featured the freshman representative playing the popular multiplayer "social deduction game" Among Us, in which players, taking the roles of crew members aboard a spaceship, attempt to complete tasks while rooting out an imposter among their ranks, who attempts to wipe them out. AOC's stream drew in roughly 438,000 viewers, a massive peak for the year on Twitch. The stream was mirrored across several other accounts, including several prominent Twitch streamers and Ocasio-Cortez's congressional compatriot Ilhan Omar.
The stream certainly resonated with viewers, given the game's popular nature and AOC's casual demeanor. The Congresswoman's acuity was on display, with Ocasio-Cortez engaging with her fellow players with ease and using popular slang terms such as "sus" (short for "suspect") that have come to be associated with the game. The stream was not AOC's first foray into video gaming to reach out to Americans; in May, Ocasio-Cortez revealed that she had purchased the popular casual social simulation game Animal Crossing: New Horizons, subsequently visiting the islands of other players.
The use of streaming and video games by politicians is a relatively nascent practice. AOC is one of the first politicians to experience widespread success, likely due to her affinity for video games (the Congresswoman having professed in the past her love of games such as League of Legends). The trend seems to be picking up somewhat, given former Vice President Joe Biden's recent foray into Animal Crossing
The smash success of Ocasio-Cortez's stream and Biden's Animal Crossing foray are proof of the effectiveness of using new mediums to reach out to voters. The massive popularity of Twitch (which boasts 15 million users) makes it a lucrative platform for tech-savvy politicians, and the use of popular games such as Animal Crossing (New Horizons selling 22 million copies) and Among Us (which sold 1.5 million copies in September alone) only serves to increase the appeal of candidates.
Already, many politicians lean on the internet for garnering support, such as President Donald Trump leaning heavily on Twitter