03 Feb

Brazilians on Twitter see only Bernie Sanders as a candidate in the Democratic primaries

An analysis by FGV DAPP shows what makes the Vermont senator, who defines himself as a “democratic socialist”, the champion of preference

Por Lucas Calil para o El País | Opinião

Updated 14 de February, 2020 at 10:58 am

The Iowa caucuses this week marked the (likely long) dispute for the difficult task of becoming Donald Trump’s opponent for the US general elections in November. The Democratic Party primaries reached the beginning of the voting with several candidates still campaigning and without a clear favorite that is widely accepted by the establishment and by the voting intention polls, which is unusual considering the past decades. However, in the context of the repercussion of the American political process for Brazilians on Twitter, with data collected by the Department of Public Policy Analysis at Fundação Getulio Vargas (FGV DAPP), Senator Bernie Sanders is the leader in terms of impact by a large margin, and has been gaining in popularity in recent weeks.

Since January 1st, there have been 89.3 thousand mentions to the Democratic Primaries or their candidates on the Brazilian Twitter, and Sanders is mentioned in 23% of these publications (20.6 thousand posts) – more than double the mentions to the second candidate with the most direct references, Senator Elizabeth Warren (9%, or 8 thousand tweets), which shares Sanders’ left-wing ideological spectrum inside the party and in the race. Joe Biden, who has lead the polls since the beginning of his campaign in 2019, has been losing the support of the early states (the first four states to vote in the primaries, Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina) and appeared in only 5% of the tweets (4.5 thousand mentions).

A qualitative and discursive analysis about the authors, agendas and topics of the debate on US politics on the Brazilian Twitter should enable a more detailed understanding of the reasons for Sanders’ protagonism.

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