AOC’s Twitch stream did what other politicians can only dream of

How video games created a new way to gather votes


Daisy Calderon / Talon

AOC crewmate asking if they’re being “marinated,” a popular term to describe gaining someone’s confidence only to kill them at the end of the game. (Daisy Calderon / Talon)

By Daisy Calderon, Oak Park High School - CA

Arguably one of the most beloved Democrats, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez recently broke the internet by streaming “Among Us,” a game that grew in popularity during the coronavirus pandemic. 

On Oct. 20th, Ocasio-Cortez took to Twitch, a streaming platform, to play rounds of “Among Us” with a variety of players from video game streamers, such as Pokimane, to fellow colleagues like Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota. Her stream garnered over 400,000 live views at its peak, making it one of the most watched streams in the platform’s history. 

The stream lasted for three hours and was trending on Twitter. Some viewers went as far as to edit the footage and make compilations of her best moments while playing as the imposter and crewmate. 

Amidst discussion, this game stirred a prominent question: was this the right move? Personally, I think it was. 

The main goal of the event was to get viewers to register to vote, as Ocasio-Cortez stated in her initial tweet. That endeavour proved to be successful when her stream was the primary driver of traffic to Was it unorthodox? Sure, but it also appealed to a vast majority of young voters because she was relatable, a trait many politicians lack. 

Her background as a working class member of the Bronx is often the center of jokes directed towards her, but she never lets that sort of criticism deter her from her primary goal: serving her constituents with honesty and fighting for issues that some view as “communist propaganda.” 

AOC crewmate in drop ship waiting room. (Daisy Calderon / Talon)

Sure, her stance on issues like healthcare, climate change and college tuition attract many young voters, but I argue that it’s actually her authenticity and relatability that draws in people. In an interview with Stephen Colbert, Ocasio-Cortez said that her No. 1 social media rule “is to be authentic, to be yourself and don’t try to be anyone that you’re not. So don’t try to talk like a young kid if you’re not a young kid, don’t post a meme if you don’t know what a meme is. That was literally my advice. And I said, ‘don’t talk like the founding fathers on Twitter.’” 

Playing “Among Us” just added another moment in which she showed the world that she’s a politician, but also a human being who spends her nights relaxing at home just like any other American. Not only that, but her reactions to playing also made the stream particularly entertaining. 

In the general scope of things, she was a horrible imposter. She often gave herself away by killing and walking out of the room instead of venting or by having her partner kill most of the game. Likewise, she rarely came to her own defense when accused, but rather muted herself and plastered a panicked face towards viewers. My personal favorite moment was when she was doing tasks and stated that she felt she had to “be more observant [of her surroundings]” only to unknowingly walk by a murder.

The event sparked a new conversation regarding politicians and campaign tactics. Though Ocasio-Cortez’s stream didn’t drastically change the way politicians communicate or campaign, I think it brings forth the idea that new and modern tactics can and should be used. It also emphasizes the importance of appealing to demographics that don’t typically have a large voter turnout, like the youth

Her idea was genius. She knew the game was popular and she used that to encourage people to get out and vote. A particularly strange, yet incredibly effective tactic. 

This story was originally published on The Oak Park Talon on November 19, 2020.