9 of the most buzzy social media moments in politics of 2018
In 2018, politics and pop culture collided and made for viral moments as celebrities, public figures and everyday citizens weighed in on the news of the day.
ABC News examined this year’s Twitter analytics released earlier this month and narrowed down what posts were most shared, and what public figures netted the most buzz.
Here’s the countdown of nine moments when the pop culture of America’s Main Street went head-to-head with Washington, D.C.’s Pennsylvania Avenue in 2018.
9.) Kanye West at the White House
Controversial rapper-turned-prison reform activist, Kanye West, made headlines in October during his extended Oval Office meeting with President Donald Trump to discuss a wide range of topics including tax breaks, racism, mental health and the need for art programs in schools.
In a moment that inspired viral posts and memes galore, West and the president shared a bromantic moment.
Trump said the rapper “could very well be” a future presidential candidate, to which West responded, “Only after 2024.”
“Let’s stop worrying about the future, all we have is today,” West said. “Trump is on his hero’s journey right now. He might not have thought he’d have a crazy m—–f—– like [me].”
8.) Kim Kardashian West advocating for prison reform
In a collision of two reality television worlds, West’s wife, Kim Kardashian West, also visited the White House twice this year to discuss prison reform with the president as well as with Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner.
This tete-a-tete resulted in a picture of Kardashian West and the president in the Oval Office that nearly rivaled that other time she broke the internet.
Trump and his son-in-law adviser, Kushner, have taken up the cause this year on a prison reform bill that could receive a Senate vote before 2018 ends.
Kardashian West also successfully lobbied Trump in June to commute the sentence of Alice Marie Johnson, a first-time nonviolent drug offender who was serving a life sentence. She was released the same month.
7.) Taylor Swift broke her political silence
In an October evening Instagram post, pop singer and Tennessee native Taylor Swift broke her political silence and endorsed former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen over Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn in the state’s Senate race. Swift historically remained apolitical in her pop music career.
Swift said she would vote for two Democratic candidates for the U.S. Senate and House in Tennessee, but she urged her followers to vote for candidates of their choice.
“Please, please educate yourself on the candidates running in your state and vote based on who most closely represents your values. For a lot of us, we may never find a candidate or party with whom we agree 100% on every issue, but we have to vote anyway,” she wrote.
I’m writing this post about the upcoming midterm elections on November 6th, in which I’ll be voting in the state of Tennessee. In the past I’ve been reluctant to publicly voice my political opinions, but due to several events in my life and in the world in the past two years, I feel very differently about that now. I always have and always will cast my vote based on which candidate will protect and fight for the human rights I believe we all deserve in this country. I believe in the fight for LGBTQ rights, and that any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender is WRONG. I believe that the systemic racism we still see in this country towards people of color is terrifying, sickening and prevalent. I cannot vote for someone who will not be willing to fight for dignity for ALL Americans, no matter their skin color, gender or who they love. Running for Senate in the state of Tennessee is a woman named Marsha Blackburn. As much as I have in the past and would like to continue voting for women in office, I cannot support Marsha Blackburn. Her voting record in Congress appalls and terrifies me. She voted against equal pay for women. She voted against the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which attempts to protect women from domestic violence, stalking, and date rape. She believes businesses have a right to refuse service to gay couples. She also believes they should not have the right to marry. These are not MY Tennessee values. I will be voting for Phil Bredesen for Senate and Jim Cooper for House of Representatives. Please, please educate yourself on the candidates running in your state and vote based on who most closely represents your values. For a lot of us, we may never find a candidate or party with whom we agree 100% on every issue, but we have to vote anyway. So many intelligent, thoughtful, self-possessed people have turned 18 in the past two years and now have the right and privilege to make their vote count. But first you need to register, which is quick and easy to do. October 9th is the LAST DAY to register to vote in the state of TN. Go to vote.org and you can find all the info. Happy Voting! ??????
A post shared by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) on Oct 7, 2018 at 4:33pm PDT
While it is unclear what type of reach her post had, according to Vote.org, 240,000 people around the country used the website to register to vote in the 48 hours following Swift’s call to action to her 112 million Instagram followers.
6.) LeBron James opened a school — and then Trump started a Twitter feud
President Trump used Twitter to bash both NBA superstar LeBron James and CNN host Don Lemon, after seeing an interview between the two meant to promote James’ “I Promise School” which he had recently opened for at-risk students. During the interview, James accused Trump of enabling racists and using sports to divide the country.
Trump didn’t like that.
Though James didn’t reply directly to Trump, he sent out a tweet the following day that suggested he was more focused on the school he was opening.
Other celebrities, athletes and public figures came to James’ defense on Twitter.
5.) Books about the White House — and Trump’s rebuttal to Omarosa, Michael Wolff and Bob Woodward
It was a year of books, specifically ones detailing the inner workings of the White House — some with scandalous details.
Three notable books were “Fear: Trump in the White House,” by famed investigative journalist Bob Woodward; “Fire and Fury,” by columnist Michael Wolff; and “Unhinged,” by former Trump ally Omarosa Manigault Newman.
Twitter erupted during the Grammy awards in January when host James Corden had celebrities — including Trump’s 2016 competitor, Hillary Clinton — read from Wolff’s book, “Fire and Fury.”
All of the books landed with a splash on social media and when — coupled with the president’s tweets against Omarosa, Wolff and Woodward — led to some especially buzzy moments.
4.) Trump’s response to Hurricane Maria’s death toll and the backlash that followed
Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico in 2017 and the reverberations from the storm that claimed the lives of nearly 3,000 people were still felt well into 2018.
In August, the governor of the U.S. territory formally raised the number of deaths from 64 to 2,975, a number President Trump rejected. He tweeted, “3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico.”
Backlash ensued, with celebrities leading the way on Twitter.
Politicians also took part, including some from the president’s own party.
3.) The Kavanaugh-Ford Senate hearings captivate the nation
Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony, as well as the one that followed by now Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, riveted social media. As Ford read her opening statement, Twitter communications manager Nick Pacilio tweeted that all 10 of the top trends were about the hearing.
Among the trending terms that day were #KavanaughHearings, Grassley, Dr. Ford, Feinstein, Brett and Mark, and #KavanaughFord.
Commentary followed by politicians, celebrities and other public figures. Reaction from viewers also trended across social media.
2.) March for Our Lives demonstrations
In the wake of the deadly Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, calls for action and gun control have seemingly grown louder in 2018 than in previous years.
Then on March 24, thousands of people hit the streets of Washington, D.C., and cities across the nation to show their support for gun reform at March For Our Lives demonstrations.
The demonstrations were organized by students of Stoneman Douglas, but the cause was carried to the front of American consciousness by celebrities and public figures on social media.
1.) Separated families at the border and that jacket
The Trump administration’s policy of family separation at the border engulfed the news cycle for several weeks this summer, a rare lifespan in the age of Trump. Not only did the administration receive domestic condemnation, but it also garnered strong international pushback from one of America’s strongest allies, the United Kingdom.
As backlash and calls for reunification for migrant families mounted, Trump tweeted that children were “being used by some of the worst criminals on earth as a means to enter our country.”
First lady Melania Trump then visited immigrant children in south Texas who had been separated from their parents, but her jacket gained more attention than the visit itself. The army green jacket that read, “I really don’t care. Do U?” unleashed another flurry of backlash online and in the media.
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