You can tell that campaign season is fully underway when Jeb Bush’s wife takes to social media for the first time ever – well before his campaign for president has even been officially announced. Columba Bush, originally from Mexico and fluent in Spanish, recently opened separate Twitter and Instagram accounts to begin the process of introducing herself to voters.
Wives of presidential candidates are usually used as a way to soften their husbands’ public images and broaden their appeal to female voters.
According to BuzzFeed, there’s another political strategy in place here: The Jeb Bush campaign wants to appeal to younger Hispanic millennials, who use social media more than other ethnic demographics.
Statistics show that Hispanics of all ages lead other races when it comes to social media activity. The Pew Research Center’s Internet Project confirms that some 80 percent of Hispanics use social media, while 72 percent of all Americans use the medium. More specifically, 68 percent of Hispanics say they use Twitter and Facebook, compared with only 58 percent of the total population.
This is where Mrs. Bush’s proficiency in Spanish and commitment to posting Spanish social media updates can be useful to the former Florida governor’s campaign, should he choose to run (evidence, such as this, point to an expected announcement). It’s widely expected that Mr. Bush will run for president in 2016.
Mr. Bush’s brother, former President George W. Bush, had tremendous success in wooing Hispanic voters in 2004, when his reelection efforts garnered him 44 percent of the Latino vote, which was the most-ever for a Republican president. Mindful of its weakness in attracting Hispanics since George W. Bush’s presidency, the GOP has been stepping up its efforts to increase its popularity with Latino voters, using social media for this aim.
The Hispanic vote is viewed with increasing importance by both the GOP and Democrats. Getting Mrs. Bush to open simultaneous Twitter and Instagram accounts to specifically reach out to younger Hispanic voters is a way for the Republicans to continue this effort leading up to 2016. So far, her four tweets (as of May 18) have garnered 1,921 followers, while her two Instagram posts have gained 118 followers; it’s early days, but she (or whoever is running her accounts) may want to step up her social media activity.