By Ryan Isakow
Alison Lundergan Grimes introduced herself to voters last week with a YouTube video promoting her candidacy and attacking Mitch McConnell. The video received over 100,000 views in the first two days, and has steadily gained more attention as the week goes on.
The big lesson from her success is YouTube’s ability to let politicians make ads that go beyond the time constraints necessitated by television. A three and a half minute ad would be prohibitively expensive to run, but the Lundergan Grimes campaign can utilize word of mouth to get views through social media. The low barrier to entry means that upstart candidates can get national exposure with cheap to make videos.
There is a new trend of prominent politicians using YouTube to make major announcements. Hillary Clinton officially announced her support for gay marriage in a Human Rights Campaign YouTube video. Anthony Weiner announced his campaign for Mayor in a YouTube video, and Michelle Bachmann announced her intention to not run for reelection on the web. While all 3 already had a large preexisting media presence, Alison Lundegan Grimes is one of the first lesser-known candidates to successfully use YouTube to get their message out.
As 2014 midterms get closer, we expect more candidates to use YouTube to get national attention, donors, and votes.