This piece was originally published in the September 17, 2021 edition of CAP Action’s weekly newsletter, What’s Trending? Subscribe to What’s Trending? here.
The Met Gala dominated social media this week — we’ll dive into what that means for the Build Back Better Agenda below.
But first: Did you miss our latest edition of What’s Trending? You can read it here.
WHAT’S TRENDING THIS WEEK
- Covid-19: A new analysis by CNN found that 1 in every 500 U.S. residents has died of coronavirus since the start of the pandemic. The figure drives home the importance of the Biden-Harris Administration’s new six-pronged strategy announced last week to control, and eventually end, the pandemic. Most notably, the plan mandates vaccinations or regular testing for all employers with more than 100 employees — a mandate more than half of Americans agree with.
- California recall: On Tuesday, California voters overwhelmingly rejected the effort to recall Governor Newsom.
WHAT WE’RE HEARING ON SOCIAL
Seven of the top 10 Facebook posts from the past week came from conservatives. Donald Trump, Jr., led the pack with a photo of his father Donald Trump and New York City first responders on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Other top conservative posts included a meme of the same photo from Candace Owens and a video of Donald Trump’s 9/11 remarks from Breitbart.
Top progressive posts included Barack Obama’s text post and President Biden’s photo post commemorating the 9/11 attacks and a statement post from President Biden about ensuring the wealthy and corporations pay their fair share in taxes.
The Met Gala was the biggest story of the week on Facebook — and it was also an example of extremely effective political communication. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s “Tax the Rich” dress brought a critical but under-discussed policy area into the mainstream, which we can see in the NewsWhip data below. In the first week of September, posts that mentioned taxing the wealthy and other related keywords averaged fewer than 50,000 Facebook interactions a day. On September 14, the day after the Met Gala, that went up to 1.3 million — a 25x increase.
In fact, on that day, “tax the rich” eclipsed our Economy topic, which focuses on keywords like “jobs” and “wages” — shifting the economic conversation from BLS data and monthly reports to the fraying tax code and loopholes that limit our capacity for public investments. Top posts came from AOC, tying taxation to investments in climate, health care, and child care, as well as President Biden. AOC’s Instagram post was also one of the highest performers on the platform that day, with over 2.3 million likes and countless other engagements.
With a crucial policy fight for the Build Back Better agenda ahead of us this month, it’s critical that progressives seize every high-engagement opportunity to steer the national conversation and highlight what public investment can do for America and how we can pay for it.
Thanks for reading,
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This newsletter is written by me, Alex Witt (@alexandriajwitt), a progressive political staffer and Dolly Parton enthusiast (she/her), and CAP Action’s fantastic team of designers, data analysts, and email strategists.