The same media trends that led to President Trump's unexpected victory in 2016 are growing even stronger leading up to 2020.
- Why it matters: These patterns suggest Trump could have a significant media advantage over Democrats leading up to 2020.
1. Democrats haven't made a digital comeback, despite vowing to match the digital sophistication of Republicans after 2016.
- As Axios has been reporting since March, the Trump campaign continues to outspend all of its Democratic challengers combined on digital advertising.
- This is in part because large progressive groups haven't come together to leverage their spending power on big platforms to create efficiencies, progressive digital experts tell Axios.
- Nearly every Democratic campaign has brought ad-buying in-house this cycle, and the party doesn't have a pipeline of talent to support sophisticated advertising strategies across so many campaigns.
2. Media companies have become even more polarizing. The gap between how Republicans and Democrats view national media brands like CNN and Fox News continues to widen, according to a Morning Consult poll, which points to a growing divide in news diets across America.
3. More partisan outlets are launching to take advantage of the climate. Viacom-owned digital news company Pluto TV, which has no political leaning as a network, launched a conservative news channel earlier this year.
- A slew of left-leaning media companies have launched during the Trump administration, with big-dollar backings from progressive non-profits.
- Local news has become especially vulnerable to competition from partisan information efforts.
4. State-backed misinformation campaigns are rampant, and more nations seem to be getting involved.
- Facebook said yesterday that it found new misinformation efforts from groups linked to Iran and Russia. The company says changes to its policies and investments in technology have mitigated the damage these campaigns can cause.
5. Facebook is a hotbed for political outrage, although it's getting better. Nearly 30% of the top 100 stories shared on Facebook during the second half of 2019 so far have been about politics, according to the social analytics company NewsWhip.
Yes, but: As Axios' social media editor Neal Rothschild notes, we only have one data point that proves that these trends tend to favor Republicans and Trump: the 2016 election.
- It could be that some of these trends — like an increase in investments in polarized media outlets and outrage on Facebook — favor anyone who's fighting the status quo.