ANALYSIS: Americans Care More About Baby Yoda Than 2020 Democrats
Baby Yoda has taken Americans' hearts by storm, far outpacing most 2020 Democrats in social media interactions. As former Gov. Deval Patrick (D-who?) and former Mayor Michael Bloomberg (D-massive gobs of money) entered the 2020 Democratic presidential race, Disney+ launched the first season of The Mandalorian. Baby Yoda, a side character in that TV show, has outpaced both Patrick and Bloomberg — and even frontrunners like Joe Biden (D-nostalgia), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-left of Karl Marx), and Sen. Bernie Sanders (S-USSR) — in interactions per article on social media, according to Axios.
Both Bloomberg and Patrick have had far more news articles written about them than Baby Yoda. NewsWhip counted articles about 2020 Democrats and Baby Yoda. According to the study, Bloomberg has had the second most articles written about him (7,650), while Patrick ranked fourth with 4,044 and Baby Yoda ranked tenth with 1,368.
Yet in terms of raw social media interactions, the lovable Star Wars character far outpaced the late-comers. Only Biden (8 million), Sanders (2.9 million) and Warren (2.53 million) beat Baby Yoda's 2.28 million interactions.
In terms of social media interactions per story, Baby Yoda left all the candidates in the dust. The Star Wars character had a whopping 1,671 interactions per article. Sanders (850) and Biden (839) only have about half as many interactions per article, while Americans seem far less interested in "liking" or commenting on articles about Mayor Pete Buttigieg (600), Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (523), Sen. Kamala Harris (504), and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (496). Bloomberg ranks 14th at 173 interactions per article, and Patrick takes 16th with a mere 134.
NewsWhip focused on interactions on Facebook and Twitter, including "likes," comments, and shares. While the number of news articles about a particular candidate indicates the media's interest in him or her, the number of interactions comes closer to gauging whether or not Americans care about him or her.
It may not be completely fair to compare 2020 Democrats to a Star Wars character. However, this comparison highlights how little social media chatter the candidates inspire. The first electoral contest is only 4 months away, and few candidates can compete with Baby Yoda.
Bloomberg and Patrick entered the race as the Democratic establishment grew nervous about Biden and the relative strength of Warren and Sanders. Yet at this late entry, it seems unlikely Patrick will pick up enough steam to compete with the frontrunners, and Bloomberg will have to spend his gobs of money at a rapid pace to have a chance — something that could weaken him politically, since Warren and Sanders have already accused him of trying to buy the Democratic nomination.
This study does not suggest the news media should ignore the Democrats and write articles about Baby Yoda all day, but it does suggest that Democrats are finding it difficult to make Americans care about them as much as they care about a cute mysterious Star Wars character. If this social media traffic is any indication, Disney is likely to rake in the dough as Christmas approaches.
Follow Tyler O'Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.