Pokémon Go To The Polls 2.0: Joe Biden tugs at Gen-Z nostalgia

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Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign event, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. Photo by Patrick Semansky/AP Photo.

Former Vice President and 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden launched official “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” yard signs earlier last week, as yet another virtual approach to compel votes. 

Starting Sept. 1, “Animal Crossing: New Horizon” players will now be able to show their support on their islands with Joe Biden and Kamala Harris yard signs, as a way for the Biden-Harris campaign to target a younger demographic of voters. 

There will be four signs available, with signs displaying the Biden-Harris logo, “Team Joe” in Pride colors and a stylized image of Biden’s signature aviator sunglasses.  

After “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” released this past March, many players looked towards the game as a place of comfort and entertainment during the peak of COVID-19 cases during the same time.  

According to a recent poll by The Hill, Biden has currently a 7% lead in votes amongst the ages of 18-34, a demographic that has grown up with “Animal Crossing” when the franchise first released in 2001.  

The Trump Administration has already commented on Biden’s approach, noting that Trump’s campaign will be focusing “in the real world with real Americans,” said Samantha Zager, the campaign’s deputy national press secretary, in an email to The New York Times.  

“This explains everything: Joe Biden thinks he’s campaigning for President of Animal Crossing from his basement,” said Zager. 

This is not the first time a presidential candidate targeted a younger audience. In the 2016 presidential election, Senator Hillary Clinton used the popular “Pokémon Go” app to her advantage, using a play on words during remarks about job creation at a rally in Annandale, Virginia: 

“We’re going to have a lot of jobs, jobs from building infrastructure to coding… I don’t know who created ‘Pokémon Go” … I’m trying to figure out how we get them to have ‘Pokémon Go’ to the polls,” said Clinton. 

In an interview with The Verge, Christian Tom, director of Biden campaign digital partnerships explained using Animal Crossing as a tool to bring together communities during a time of restrictions due to lockdowns. 

“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,” said Tom.  

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