Will social media and their influencers have an impact on November’s election?

In today’s world, social media have become powerful tools to disseminate information quickly and changed the way people communicate, particularly in American politics.

Earlier this week, we welcomed featured speaker, Andrew Bleeker, a global leader in high stakes digital communications to speak to our clients. Bleeker is President & Founder of Bully Pulpit Interactive and a senior counselor to leading businesses, organizations and political campaigns around the world.

In a call moderated by Brian Andrew, President and Chief Investment Officer of Johnson Wealth, Inc., Bleeker discussed the following topics:

  • State of the 2020 Presidential race
  • Social media’s impact on the election and the potential for the spread of misinformation
  • Digital marketing strategies to aid your business

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State of 2020 Presidential Race

Andrew Bleeker discusses the state of the 2020 presidential race.

Social Media’s Impact on the Election

Andrew Bleeker discusses social media’s impact on the election and the potential for spread of misinformation.

Q&A

Andrew Bleeker and Brian Andrew address several participant questions.

We have a responsibility to understand the quality of the information we receive and distinguish between opinion and fact. When sharing information with others, you may want to identify information as opinion or believed to be fact.

Great point! Social media firms don't seem to have risen to the need to educate their users or the public at large. The growth in platforms has been historic. At no time in history has one company had the ability to provide information so quickly to billions of people. However, these companies operate as for-profit, therefore their role in public education is balanced with their desire to generate revenue.

Research. Sounds simple but we have to work to understand the sources of information and their quality.

It is possible that this form of "censorship" is a function of their for-profit model, sensitivity to advertisers and the move to regulate them. Newspapers have been allowed to provide opinion and edit content based on their editorial board views and this may be similar. Because it is so new and pervasive it is likely that there will continue to be a healthy debate among companies and policy makers for some time.

It is possible that books such as John Bolton's and Jill Biden's have become common place during the Presidential election cycle. We don't think they will move the electorate as much as social media as they don't have the persistence in the news cycle.

Polling has been altered since 2016 to be more reflective of the electorate. However, it isn't likely to be any more accurate since the issues in 2016 are not the issues we face now.

History suggests that key factors would be the economy, the economy and the economy. Economic performance ranks 1st, 2nd and 3rd to everything else for incumbents.

Both. Its ability to direct individuals/households makes it a powerful tool. The ease with which like minded people share messages and information makes the "group building" equally as important.

Perhaps it is scale, fallibility of technology and differing view points as to how to register voters.

There would be many policy issues reviewed and potentially changed. Policies regarding taxes on individuals and corporations will change and be near the top of the priority list. It would be possible for tax rates to return to previous levels for corporations. However, individual tax rates would most likely be altered for those earning more than $100,000. The previous tax legislation added less than 0.5% to our economy's growth potential so the impact could be similar.

Financial markets are used to climbing a wall of worry. The global shut-down we saw in the first quarter may not be repeated and so the economic toll will likely be less should there be a resurgence of infections beyond what we're seeing now. In addition, other parts of the world had greater success in dampening the pandemic's effects and so would likely continue to recover.

It is possible that stocks will continue to perform better, particularly global growth stocks. Small cap stocks and bonds were more impacted by lack of pandemic progress in the U.S.

While we believe there is a small probability of this outcome, it would seem less likely now. Countries have experienced what a dramatic shut-down of the economy looks like and it seems that policy makers are now very reluctant to take such draconian measures. As a result, it would seem that measures will be more focused on managing the health care system's capacity than trying to irradicate the virus.

Too many sources, most edited with some degree of perspective. Reading as much as possible from multiple sources and understanding your resources is the key to finding good information.