Editor’s Note: Art often reflects the political pulse of society and the issues that people care about. Throughout the 2016 election cycle, CNN Politics will be profiling various influential and politically conscious artists in the “Get political” series.
For politicos profusely consuming the latest polls and presidential candidates spending countless hours on the trail, it is easy to forget that at this stage in the game, many Americans don’t even know who’s running for president. More than half of Americans didn’t even know the first GOP presidential debate had occurred, according to one poll.
“If everybody can sit down and ask the average 16, 17 or 18 year-old who’s running for president, they’ll say Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. They wont be able to tell you the others,” the social media innovator and hip-hop YouTube star DeStorm Power told CNN.
And this is the bucket of cold water that Power wants to pour on the 2016 presidential candidates.
“[Clinton and Trump] are the people that are reaching out to them through Instagram, Vine, YouTube and Twitter. It’s almost like a high school popularity contest,” Power said.
The Baltimore rapper, comedian and Vine innovator, who rose to fame on YouTube, learned the power of social media firsthand. His videos have aired on outlets like MTV, BET, VH1 and have led Power to secure countless business deals, endorsements and hosting gigs on shows like BET’s “Punk’d.” Power has also performed with hip-hop artists like Snoop Dogg and Talib Kweli.
“I think young people are tuning into us because we entertain them,” Power said. “Every young person has a phone in their hand. I think that’s where they get their entertainment from, so they scroll through things like Vine and YouTube and I think all the politicians need to get their asses in there.”
He’s got a point. In politics, social media is “a force multiplier to whatever you already have going” CNN Political Commentator Van Jones said, and Clinton and Trump, who have been known to the American public decades before social media ever existed, are effectively utilizing outlets flooded with young people like Instagram and Twitter “to build on that massive headstart.”
“Donald Trump has developed his natural talent for provocation and entertainment through reality television and he’s now applying that to social media,” Jones said. “Donald Trump is able to accomplish, with laser focus and business-like proficiency, what it takes Hillary Clinton a whole team to pull off, but what they have in common is they both recognize that it’s worth the effort.”
And Power’s advice to candidates who don’t have a strong social media presence? “Get your numbers up!”
Get a dose of Power’s humor in the video above and check out more from the series.
CNN’s Gabe Ramirez contributed to this report.