By Will Bleier
With tweets, videos, speeches and late night TV appearances, a crowded Democratic field — and a lone coffee executive with a book tour — have all expressed interest in becoming the country’s next president.
But how does one decide what’s the best way to tell everyone they’re ready to run? And what effect does their chosen method have?
Kirsten Gillibrand, the senator from New York, announced her presidential aspirations on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. That appearance garnered her face time with a young demographic.
It also gave her an opportunity to show off her sense of humor and play off of Colbert’s banter.
Gillibrand announced the beginning of an exploratory committee, which means she’s not bounded by full financial disclosures to the Federal Election Commission — so basically she’s testing things out, not that such a committee has ever not yielded a full campaign.
The exploratory committee creates an additional opportunity for media attention. This means Gillibrand can now make another announcement when she’s ready to launch the full campaign.
Kamala Harris, the senator from California, skipped the exploratory phase, making her announcement in a straightforward interview on ABC’s Good Morning America. But Harris’ early morning move allowed her to control the day’s news cycle.
She also threw her hat in the ring on Martin Luther King Day and timed around the anniversary of Rep. Shirley Chisholm’s 1972 presidential campaign launch — the first African-American and woman to seek the office in either of the two major parties.
In the perfect combination of symbolism and strategy, her launch awarded her a sizable mass of social media attention.
Corey Booker, the senator from New York; however, won the social media game.
His campaign announcement video, posted to Twitter, has received well over 3.8 million views.
Social media has proven itself as a launching platform for presidential campaigns, which can quickly rival and exceed traditional media.
And now, the coffee guy.
Howard Schultz, the former CEO of Starbucks, broke the news of his potential run on Twitter and later that night on CBS’ 60 Minutes.
Although, Shultz felt the pain of social media gone wrong.
Shortly after spilling the beans, Twitter users roasted the billionaire businessman for his intentions of running an independent campaign. Many Democrats feared his run would set the stage for another four years of Donald Trump.
Shultz then attempted to shift the focus of his presidential consideration, saying he would first go on book tour and continue to weigh his options. A choice that is either genius PR, pure confusion or somewhere in between.
Either way, if the start of the 2020 campaign season is any indication, we’re in for a wild ride.
Now, let’s just wait for Shultz to return from that book tour.