The NDP party leader live streamed himself playing with AOC and a handful of online content creators
New Democratic Party (NDP) leader Jagmeet Singh spent the entirety of his inaugural Twitch stream tactlessly trying to promote party politics and cement a cognitive attachment between himself and U.S. representative, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) (D-N.Y.).
AOC was raising $200,000 in coronavirus relief streaming the popular murder mystery game Among Us on Friday night. It was clear that Singh’s goal was to promote NDP policy — a clear misunderstanding of how to use video games and streaming as a promotional platform.
“Can you say ‘vote for Jagmeet Singh’?” Singh said to artist and streamer CORPSE, who is known for his deep, gravelly voice. CORPSE brushed the request aside, saying that he doesn’t use his trademark voice to promote people.
The awkward exchange was one of many during the stream, which follows an earlier Twitch appearance by U.S. congresswomen Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and AOC on Oct. 20. The stream set records, drawing more than 400,000 viewers to the stream.
Canadian YouTube creator, Ryan (northernlion) Letourneau, and American Twitch streamer, Hasan (HasanAbi) Piker, set up the event.
From the get-go, it was clear that Singh intended to use the stream as an opportunity to try and connect with young people, relating what he and his party could do for them.
The game began with Singh requesting the use of the orange character. No, I’m not kidding.
From there, rather than focusing on the game, Singh treated the stream like a rally. He asked questions like whether young people felt they were being “left behind” or “blamed” for the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Singh also fawned over AOC, profusely complimenting her and making an obvious attempt to hitch his wagon to her popularity as a progressive politician in the U.S.
“What you have to put up with Alex, and how you’re a beacon of hope in a lot of scary situations, it’s really powerful,” said Singh. “It means a lot.”
After Singh was paired with AOC and won the game as imposter — the secret in-game killers — he again used the same strategy.
“Someone screenshot this. Quickly screenshot this,” Singh said. “Jagmeet and AOC, victory in the future. This is prophetic. AOC — president. Jagmeet — prime minister. Victory, right here.”
The entire display was disappointing, but not surprising. It was probably sound politics, and may even help the NDP muster young Canadians to their progressive rallying cry — but it still rings hollow. The stream drives home, yet again, what AOC does right and what other politicians do wrong when it comes to Internet culture, gaming and the youth vote.
“You notice that Sykkuno is not saying anything?” asked Singh, referring to another player staying quiet to avoid suspicion. “Sometimes it’s good to just stay quiet, not really saying anything, kind of like the Liberals that just don’t do anything when it comes to the problems people are faced with.”
There were, admittedly, interesting discussions of progressive politics between games — comparing and contrasting U.S. and Canadian policy. These were the moments where Singh benefitted the most, as AOC commended the progressive changes that occurred under NDP provincial leadership.
Even still, the entire stream could have gone a lot better for the NDP leader. All Singh really had to do was have a good time playing video games. Just by virtue of playing Among Us on stream, he helped reduce the negative stigma around video games that lingers in older generations. He also ties himself to AOC and shows himself on a platform that reaches audiences that politicians traditionally struggle to reach.
That’s the element that most politicians seem to miss. Just existing within the space is enough, there’s no need to pander, and while they flounder, AOC just plays the game.