animal crossing

The Biden Harris 2020 Campaign Hits Animal Crossing: New Horizons

I just want to go fishing with Joe and Kamala.
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As the coronavirus quarantine extends into the fall, political campaigns are looking for untapped avenues to digitally canvass and campaign. The Biden Harris campaign has found an unlikely venue in Nintendo’s Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Starting today, you can now get a Biden Harris yard sign for your digital island home.

The campaign has created four different yard signs, which feature the Biden Harris logo, the Team Joe logo, the Joe rainbow Pride logo, and Biden’s signature aviator sunglasses in patriotic red, white, and blue. Players can download the designs by scanning the QR codes through the Nintendo Switch Online app.

It’s an innovative approach to virtual campaign, as everyone and their mom has escaped the stresses of quarantine by chilling on their private little island. The game has many high profile fans, including Captain Marvel herself, Brie Larson, Elijah Wood, and New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

The Biden Harris campaign has been working hard to engage voters via digital campaigns, which included an all-virtual live-streamed Democratic National Convention. The convention was hailed as a success, and earned higher ratings than the live RNC, which surely angered Donald Trump.

Christian Tom, director of digital partnerships for the Biden campaign said, “Animal Crossing is a dynamic, diverse, and powerful platform that brings communities together from across the world. It is an exciting new opportunity for our campaign to engage and connect Biden-Harris supporters as they build and decorate their islands,” adding, “As we enter the final campaign stretch towards November, this is one way we are finding new creative and innovative ways to meet voters where they are and bring our supporters together.”

Tom continued, “This is just the start of how we plan to engage players ahead of November as we’re already looking forward to rolling out more digital swag, voter education tools, and organizing efforts on Animal Crossing and other platforms.”

It only makes sense to integrate campaign ads into gaming – after all, gamers are a huge audience even without a global quarantine. And right-wing enthusiasts are already being catered to by vigilante games like Tom Clancy’s Elite Squad. The military is recruiting young men via Twitch. It’s clear that gaming opens up a whole new world for campaigning.

While many were delighted by the yard signs and the Joe and Kamala avatars, others felt it was pandering to young voters:

Will Animal Crossing change anyone’s vote? Obviously not, but it’s a fun way to decorate your island and let the people know who you’re voting for in November.

(via The Verge, image: Nintendo)

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Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.