Gauging public opinion on presidential candidates has never been easier. The addition of social media to traditional methods such as polls can give both a quantitative and qualitative sense of a candidate’s popularity. As the general presidential election draws near, both President Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney are going to be paying close attention to the general problems the electorate has with the candidates and try to bolster their rhetoric to match that of the majority of the people. They will also backtrack or sidestep major issues that could hurt their chances of winning the election.
If Mitt Romney wanted to gauge what problems the American electorate has with him, he should take a look at Twitter, specifically the results for #MittRomneyFilms. This hashtag is associated with posts that take well-known movies and relate them to Romney. These posts often criticize his stance on particular issues or his image in general.
For example, the tweet “Sophie Doesn’t Get a Choice #MittRomneyFilms” is based on the book and movie “Sophie’s Choice,” and takes a jab at Romney’s general pro-life stance as well as his silence over the federal law that would make contraception coverage mandatory for employees of religious organizations. “Madame’s Ovaries #MittRomneyFilms”, based on the book and movie “Madame Bovary,” also makes a similar criticism, and incorporates Romney’s poor understanding of women’s issues.
Many of them ridicule the association between the Mormon Church and polygamy, though the church banned polygamy over a century ago. Examples are plentiful and include mocking titles like “Two Girls One Husband” and “Seven Brides For Two Brothers”.
Here is a short list of modified #MittRomneyFilms and the issues Romney will need to confront during his campaign for the general election.
• “How to Lose a Gay in 10 Ways” and “Boys Don’t Cry…When You Cut Their Hair”: The public outrage from the accusation that Mitt Romney bullied a gay student in high school is significant and mounting, even if a campaign spokesperson claims that “Governor Romney has no memory of participating in these incidents.”
• “St. Elmo’s Fired,” “Saving Private Equity,” and “Ordinary Corporations”: Based on the remark that Romney likes to fire people and the 1985 movie “St. Elmo’s Fire,” it’s clear that people perceive Romney as out of touch with the issues facing American workers. Voters are also not keen on Romney’s statement that “corporations are people,” as shown by movies replacing “people” with “corporations.”
• “Billion Dollar Baby,” “The Never Ending Tax Break,” “No Country for Poor People,” “How Green Was My Money,” “Saving Private Equity,” and “Dude, Where’s My Twelve Cars?”: Romney is very rich. Not only rich, but also very good at exploiting tax breaks to pay a ridiculously low tax rate on his investment income while people who earn their income from actual employment have to pay a higher rate than he does. He will need to come up with a good justification as to why it is fair that he pays a much lower percentage of taxes even though he earns significantly more than the average American worker.
• “Romney vs. Romney,” “The Three Faces of Me,” and “The Lyin’ King”:There’s no question that Romney has backtracked and/or flip-flopped his stance on many political issues over the years. Examples of this tendency are numerous and one only need watch The Daily Show to see them. Can voters relate to Romney if they are not sure of Romney’s actual position on important issues?
• “Legally Bland,” “The Unbearable Lightness of Being Lukewarm,” and “I, Robot”: Some may not have a problem with Romney’s political positions, but may not relate to him personally. He has been portrayed as lacking warmth and humanity since the beginning of his run for the presidency. Should Romney change his personality to make himself more relatable, or should he just be himself?
• “Dog on a Hot Tin Roof”:Even the story of Romney’s dog, Seamus, is ripe for criticism. If you remember, Romney put the dog in a crate and tied it to the top of his car while driving for hours. Can Romney show empathy for others? This is a question that has been pervasive on many economic and social issues.
Weigh in: How has social media impacted the portrayal of presidential candidates and political issues?