Tennessee Democrats Using Social Media To Communicate With Constituents

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) - Democrats number barely a quarter of those in the Tennessee House, but they are pointing to use of social media this year to build their ranks. It’s part of a changing political landscape of how politicians talk with their constituents.

With only 25 out of 99 State House members in Tennessee, democrats still feel they had a hand in what happened this past session. And social media may have had something to do with it. 

“We have now been using social media to communicate with people all across the state,” says Rep. Mike Stewart.

During much of this past session, there were weekly Facebook live chats that included various House democrats and even some constituents who just wanted to be there.

Led by House Democratic Caucus chair Mike Stewart, the Facebook live chats are replacing some of the old ways of a party getting out its message.

“We would often have a thousand people following, and many of them would be from places like the Tri-Cities, so if you are a Democrat in the TriCities you could email in questions,” says Rep. Stewart.

Like the House itself, democrats are great outnumbered in places outside of Nashville and Memphis, but by using social media like Facebook, democrats think they will reach more non-party members and solidify like-minded people more efficiently and cheaper than traditional methods, like flyers, or even door-knocking during campaigns. 

Democrats may be redoubling their social media efforts after seeing protests from various groups, organized often in hours, on various bills such as the defense of marriage action or so-called bathroom bill.

They were included in a list released Monday on social media of various bills democrats say they helped kill, but Rep. Stewart looks down the road for social media leveling a playing field skewed by more republican oriented groups donating to Tennessee lawmakers.

“We have to overcome that disadvantage in money by talking directly to the people, and social media allows us to do that,” says Rep. Stewart.



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