The 2016 US presidential election has been dominating our collective consciousness for the last two years. We tried to distract ourselves with women Ghostbusters and @linmanuel Miranda and Leo’s Oscar, but the 2016 campaign kept sucking us in. As it comes to a close, the conversation keeps getting louder, and we’ve compiled the highlights.
The charts below track the volume of the conversation about the election on Tumblr, as measured in original posts, reblogs, likes, and searches. These terms included, but weren’t limited to, #election 2016, #presidential election, and #voting. The spikes tell us what got people talking—primaries, debates, alleged serial killers, etc.
April 1 - May 21, 2016
New York Primary: Somehow it was only six months ago that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump won their respective primaries in New York, securing their frontrunner position in the delegate count. It was a tough loss for the Berners, who complained about problems at the polls, and the state’s closed primary rules. On the day of the primary, engagement around #Bernie Sanders on Tumblr reached its all-time high and would never be that loud again..
Alleged Zodiac KillerTed Cruz drops out: Days after Trump made a clean sweep in the Northeastern Super Tuesday, Cruz dropped out of the race, elbowing his wife in the face after his concession speech.
May 22 - September 2, 2016
Super Tuesday: Again?No problem. This one, with Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, South Dakota, and California, finally put Clinton and Trump over the line in delegates. In the days following the primary, engagement around #Hillary Clinton jumped 153% while engagement around #Donald Trump dropped almost 40%.
Obama endorses Clinton: Officially.
Brexit: June 24th was a bit of a day across the pond when the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. Ever the diplomat, Trump offered his congratulations to the country while visiting his golf course in Scotland, which voted overwhelmingly to stay. The locals’ unique insult structure brought such tags as “mangled apricot hellbeast” into the Tumblr lexicon for the first time.
Sanders endorses Clinton: That was that.
Democratic National Convention: Though the RNC was held days before, the DNC was the convention that got Tumblr talking. Clinton officially became the democratic nominee and we all thought the walkout by Sanders supporters was the craziest this thing was gonna get.
Halloween: The least scary part of the election. Right before the DNC, engagement around #Halloween hit an all time high, up nearly 550% from earlier that week. Throughout August, the lull in the election correlated with an uptick in Halloween and by September 4th, there were hundreds of thousands of engagement with Halloween content per day.
Debate #1: Oh, wow! Trump’s public meltdown was the high point of the Tumblr conversation.
Debate #2: This was the town hall style debate, which let Trump lurk behind Clinton while she spoke. It was also the night the world met #Ken Bone, an undecided voter who was curious about energy policies but will only be remembered for his mustache and red sweater. Eventually, his Reddithistory burst the Bone bubble
Michelle Obama’s speech: Her emotionally-charged rebuttal to the leaked video of Donald Trump boasting about sexual assault resonated on Tumblr. On October 14th, engagement around the #feminism tag increased 179% and the #consent tag 283%.
Debate #3: Clinton finished her clean sweep of the debates with a sick new nickname:
We’re still a few days out from the election, but as you can see, it’s been a long, wild ride. Keep tagging your posts and make sure you get out and vote on Tuesday (you can find out how right in your dashboard!). Just don’t take a selfie with your ballot, please.