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AOC’s Among Us Twitch Stream Was a Landmark Political Event

AOC plays Among Us on Twitch.

On Monday, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez posted a tweet asking if anyone would want to join her in a Get Out the Vote Twitch stream of Among Us. At the time, she’d never played the game and she didn’t have her own Twitch channel, though she’d joined other gamers on their streams before. Just over 24 hours later, the stream attracted more than 600,000 viewers, making it the third-most-watched Twitch stream ever and, according to Run for Something’s Amanda Litman, the biggest GOTV rally of 2020—and that’s not even counting all the clips that have been shared since, many of which have over a million views on Twitter and TikTok.

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AOC was joined by a mix of gamers, activists, and fellow lawmakers, including Rep. Ilhan Omar, who clearly enjoyed her time playing.

During the stream, AOC and others did talk a bit about voting. The congresswoman talked about the importance of making a voting plan and encouraged people to support progressive candidates. Myth, who is 21, talked about voting for the first time via absentee ballot.

There were a few other politics-adjacent moments as well, like this hilariously upsetting exchange with @Hbomberguy about the ease and affordability of healthcare in the UK.

But for the most part, the stream was just about playing the game. And it was so much fun to watch. AOC was visibly nervous about playing Among Us, which, if you’re not familiar, is a multiplayer game that takes place on a spacecraft, with a certain number of imposters onboard, trying to kill and sabotage their fellow crewmembers.

AOC was the imposter in her first game and the first time she had to kill someone, she fretted over it. “I can’t kill Poki,” she said. “She’s so nice, I can’t do that.” When she did kill Pokimane, she gasped in horror/delight.

The whole stream was just so much fun, for the viewers and clearly for the players as well.

That said, the importance of this stream as a political event can’t be overstated. “The future of politics isn’t just young, tech-savvy, and meme-literate. It is accessible,” writes Polygon. Other politicians have taken to Twitch, most notably Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, both of whom use their channels to rebroadcast rallies and other appearances. AOC, on the other hand, used Twitch for what it is and as a result, was able to engage with hundreds of thousands of supporters and potential supporters on genuine terms.

From Kotaku:

AOC, unlike literally every other politician and extension of the U.S. government, evidently recognized that, putting out a call to streamers and industry experts rather than trying to reverse-engineer another slick, tediously sanitized streaming operation. This meant that she immediately had a gargantuan audience of people who actually wanted to watch her stream.

Most people are not just interested in one thing, be it politics or video games. Most of us can enjoy both, and we can and want to enjoy them at the same time. AOC is great at this, at bringing politics into personal spaces, like her Instagram videos where she discusses policy while also explaining her makeup routine. It’s humanizing and it makes politics incredibly accessible, especially for young people but also, really, for everyone.

(image: screengrab)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.

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