See below for some interesting social media stats for Virginia General Assembly members since March 12, when the legislature adjourned “sine die,” courtesy of @VACapitolSquare. In short:
- Most Senate Republicans haven’t tweeted at all since adjournment, despite this little thing you might have heard of called “THE COVID-19 CRISIS!” I mean, at least the Senate Republicans could have tweeted about how proud they are of Trump, except…nope, there’s nothing to be proud of there, and a lot to be ashamed of. Or, they coiuld have tweeted about how the very “big government” they’ve bashed for years has now gotten a LOT bigger, with overwhelming Republican support – including Trump’s signatures. OK, so…yeah, I guess we can understand why these folks have been quiet of late. Haha.
- As for Virginia House Republicans, it’s basically the same deal as their Senate GOP colleagues. Again, the cat’s apparently got these conservatives’ and libertarians’ tongues during a time in which people want and need the *government* to intervene massively in “free markets,” as well as to “infringe on people’s liberty,” as right wingers so often like to rant about.
- In contrast, most Virginia Senate Democrats – you know, the folks who actually believe in government – are tweeting, particularly Sen. Scott Surovell (91 tweets), Sen. Jennifer McClellan (70 tweets) and Sen. Ghazala Hashmi (33 tweets). And Virginia House Democrats have been *very* active on Twitter, particularly folks like Del. Cia Price (100+ tweets), Del. Danica Roem (100+ tweets), Del. Lee Carter (100+ tweets), Del. Marcus Simon (looks like at least 70 tweets plus *many* more retweets), Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn (50 tweets), Del. Mark Levine (looks like at least 30 tweets plus at least that many retweets), etc.
- Does any of this matter? I’d argue that it does, actually. As a top Virginia Democrat I respect greatly said to me yesterday, it’s crucial in times like this for political leaders to “communicate, communicate, communicate” – specifically, with accurate and timely information, empathy, etc., during these difficult times. And social media is one place to do that communicating, including via Twitter, Zoom chats, Facebook Live chats, Facebook posts, etc. Also, I mean, if you’re an elected official and you do *not* have anything to say during times like this, honestly, what the heck are you doing?