Tech by VICE

Bernie Sanders Will Stream on Twitch Before and After the Democratic Debate

On Monday night, Bernie Sanders' 2020 presidential campaign launched a Twitch channel. The campaign will stream on the platform before and after Thursday's presidential debate.

by Caroline Haskins
Jun 26 2019, 2:33pm

Image: Screenshot from the Bernie Sanders Twitch channel.

The presidential campaign for Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders launched a Twitch channel on Monday night. The channel will host its first streams on Thursday night, before and after the Democratic presidential debate at 8:30 p.m. and 11:00 p.m., Eastern time.

"This campaign is about bring new people into the political process," the Sanders campaign said in an email. "As one of the first presidential campaigns ever to join Twitch, we hope to reach people who may not otherwise be involved in politics and speak with them about the issues that matter most to them."

Sanders is the second 2020 presidential candidate to have a Twitch channel. Andrew Yang, an Independent candidate popular on Reddit and 4chan, has had a Twitch channel since last year.

Sanders has a “Donate” link on his Twitch page, which leads users to a separate page with a Twitch stream on the left and a donation portal on the right. At the time of writing, Sanders has over 8,800 Twitch followers (Yang has 225).

The Sanders Twitch channel launch marks an emerging trend among politicians in using live-streaming platforms in order to communicate with constituents or potential voters. Freshman Congressperson Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has made a habit of frequently using Instagram Live, where she talks about politics and answers questions while cooking or, say, building IKEA furniture. While Ocasio-Cortez has appeared on Twitch, she does not have her own channel.

The Sanders Twitch channel stream chat is active, and most of the comments are jokes about electing the first gamer president.

“Wait, does this mean if bernie wins, we'll have our first game president?” user koolmin23 said.

“Probably not. Obama played minecraft,” user BearsKillYou replied.

“Bernie Sanders for Minecraft Mondays,” user cris_dela_zerda said.

“can't wait for bernie to yeet the rich,” user enteran said.

Some of the commenters appear to support the candidate, while some of the commenters appear to use a mix of irony or sarcasm to indicate a lack of support. The Stream Chat is currently in slow mode, meaning that users need to wait one to several seconds before submitting another comment. This indicates that the stream mostly likely has a human moderator on the campaign.

Update: This article was updated to include comment from the Sanders campaign.