Social media has played an important role in the 2020 presidential primary.
Lower-polling candidates like Beto O’Rourke, who posted a video of himself cooking dinner at home, and Senator Cory Booker, who did a question-and-answer video with local activists, have crafted viral moments to boost their campaigns’ visibility.
But Elizabeth Warren’s method for engaging with supporters has distinguished her not only from middle-of-the-pack candidates, but also from fellow top-tier candidates Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, who seem reluctant to apply the same hands-on approach as the Massachusetts senator.
Warren’s latest viral moment stemmed from a long line of supporters seeking selfies after her event Monday in New York City’s Washington Square Park. Attendees waited up to four hours for a photo with the presidential candidate after her rally.
“Yeah, I was there four hours,” Warren told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on Tuesday night. “But I’ll tell you what, so was the last guy in line.”
Warren’s selfie lines extend back to her days holding town halls and rallies in Massachusetts.
An estimated 20,000 people attended Warren’s New York rally, making it her largest crowd to date — surpassing the 15,000-person-strong rally she held in Seattle back in August.
A location search for “Washington Square Park” on Instagram revealed pages and pages of selfies with the presidential candidate. O’Rourke tried to organize a similar selfie line when he toured New Hampshire in March, but his line was low key compared to Warren’s.
In an appearance on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” Warren came on stage and immediately made a joke about her affinity for photos with fans.
“Why don’t we just quit now and do a selfie line,” she said. “We could have some fun.”
Colbert replied by saying, “We don’t have four hours, ma’am.”
Kristen Orthman, Warren’s communications director, tweeted Tuesday night that if the senator makes it to the general election, she “won’t stop the selfie line. It’s not just about the photos. It’s about what people tell her in line, the notes they pass her.”
.@ewarren won’t stop the selfie line. It’s not just about the photos. It’s about what people tell her in line, the notes they pass her. Not everyone is brave enough to publicly ask a question. But for a few seconds w/EW they have their chance. That’s the way democracy should be. https://t.co/3vYro4OeBb— Kristen Orthman (@KristenOrthman) September 18, 2019
Selfies are not Warren’s sole preferred method for grabbing the Internet’s attention. On New Year’s Eve, shortly after announcing she had formed an exploratory committee to explore a run for president, Warren went live on Instagram to reflect on the decision. During the video she cracked a beer, offering one up to her husband, Bruce, who passed.
Warren also had a high-profile Twitter interaction with comedian Ashley Nicole Black in May. Black tweeted “Do you think Elizabeth Warren has a plan to fix my love life?” referencing the Massachusetts senator’s growing list of policy proposals.
Warren replied, “DM me and let’s figure this out.” The two later spoke over the phone.
DM me and let’s figure this out.— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) May 19, 2019
Material from Globe wire services was used in this report. Abbi Matheson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @AbbiMatheson