August 29th, 2016 by Tyler O'Neil in News
This article was originally published on PJ Media.
Last Thursday, a site called Balanced Rebellion launched a video featuring Abraham Lincoln encouraging Americans to reject both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, and to vote for Gary Johnson. The site presents a brilliant idea: it pairs up a Republican who hates both Trump and Clinton with a Democrat who hates both Clinton and Trump, so rather than voting to stop the candidate they fear more, each person will be free to vote third party.
“Look, if America is Gotham City, then Hillary is the mob and Trump is the Joker,” the video’s Lincoln declares. “The mob is always there, it’s corrupt, but at least you know what you’re getting. The Joker just got here, he’s creating total chaos, and you don’t know what he’ll do next but you know it’s going to be hell.”
“America, picking between the Joker and the mob is not a real choice. It’s time to vote for freaking Batman.” This kind of Internet humor pervades the video, as Lincoln jokes about getting shot (“too soon?”) and emphasizes that he himself ran third party — in 1860.
Matt Kibbe, president of AlternativePAC, the organization behind Balanced Rebellion, told PJ Media on Monday that over 30,000 people have made the pledge on Balanced Rebellion to vote for Johnson, and are being matched with their counterparts from the Democrat or Republican Party. So far, more Democrats than Republicans have joined the site, but the disparity is not large — Kibbe estimated it to be around 10 percent.
The president noted that the video has reached “8.5 million views in 72 hours,” and called it “a phenomenon.” According to Facebook, the video has been shared nearly 212,000 times, and Kibbe said it has reached 20 million people. He predicted that this video campaign will match “half a million people.”
“We’re also geo-targeting,” Kibbe added. “The views and the conversions are heavily weighted in states that we think matter for Gary Johnson: Utah, New Mexico, Nevada, Colorado, Idaho, and New Hampshire.” His political action committee has invested $50,000 into boosting the video on social media, and Kibbe announced that they will be investing another $50,000 on Monday.
He emphasized that the growth of viral videos “is not linear,” and he set the goal high — at 100 million views over the next two weeks.
“To me the biggest challenge that Gary has right now is people knowing he exists,” Kibbe admitted. He said they launched the video at this time in order to boost Johnson’s poll numbers, so he might reach 15 percent nationwide and qualify for the first presidential debate on September 26 in New York City. “We think the next two or three weeks are decisive,” he said. “It would be tremendously helpful to get Gary Johnson on that stage.”
The Libertarian currently stands at 8 percent in the RealClearPolitics average.
Kibbe emphasized that social media and Internet movements like Balanced Rebellion have a real chance in today’s politics. “I think we’re at the cusp of a real paradigm shift, we’ve been seeing hints of it for years,” he told PJ Media. “Going back to Howard Dean using social media, Barack Obama beating Hillary Clinton, the Tea Party movement in 2010 — the two party duopoly is starting to break.”
The video listed three reasons why a third party candidate can win in 2016: the power of the Internet, where 1.7 billion people are on Facebook alone; Johnson’s history as a “balanced candidate,” a Republican governor of a Democrat state, winning votes from both sides; and because two-thirds of Americans have said they would vote for anyone besides Trump and Hillary, and Johnson is the only option on the ballot in all 50 states.
The AlternativePAC president admitted that the social media campaign is most likely to reach millennials, but he did not yet possess any data about the people he has reached so far. “The very fact that it’s a social media campaign on Facebook instead of a dusty old TV buy, it’s going to skew younger, and of course we think that’s an audience that’s very good for Gary Johnson.”