Indian Country politics and public policy

Commentary by Mark Trahant

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LESSON LEARNED

I learned something interesting yesterday about how stories travel via social media. I measure every story and look how it’s used on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, as well as Indianz, Indian Country Today Media Network, News from Indian Country, and Native News Online.  (I Really like the flattering display in Daily Yonder this week. Thank you!)

On Facebook my traffic lately has been picking up since the Iowa caucus. I have had a couple of posts that have topped 30,000 views and I regularly reach a couple of thousand. But not yesterday. My story about presidential aspirations fell way flat, only reaching 454 readers (let alone viewed). What gives? I was thinking about this all night and then this morning it hit me: I teach social media, I should know this. Facebook uses an algorithm that favors native video over YouTube. I used a YouTube video in my piece as an illustration. Something as simple as that loses you readership. Fascinating.

PLANNING

CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS – As I have written a lot, I believe there are at least four “parties” in the U.S. For most of US history that’s been masked by including various wings under Democratic or Republican flags. We will know before March 15 if former NYC Mayor Micheal Bloomberg is running. He has money (much more than Trump) so he could be a serious contender. But don’t forget that conservatives are not happy with the prospect of a Trump nomination. I think it’s likely that a conservative will run as a third-party candidate. Study the 12th amendment. The US once had a lot of chaos in presidential elections and I think we’re headed that way again. If there are four candidates and all four win states (all it would take is Bloomberg in NY and a conservative in Texas) then the House of Representatives decides the election. It’s required to pick from the top 3. But that would mean a candidate could win one state, Texas, and then move into the White House.

TUESDAY – Watch turnout. The real story so far about the “Feel the Bern” movement is how few voters are showing up. If you want just one example, look at Elko County were participation was down by some 30 percent since the Obama-Clinton race in 2008. Are millennials just posting love on Facebook? Or are they voting? Tuesday should give us a clearer picture.

 

Next Monday Speaking at Shoshone-Bannock Tribal Energy Summit. Will use this to wrap up series on energy, climate and the 2016 election.

— Mark

 

 

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