“There are 2 representatives among us”: Representative Ocasio-Cortez Uses Twitch to Inspire Younger Generations to Act

Representative+Alexandria+Ocasio-Cortez+%28D-NY%29+listens+to+other+crew+members%27+arguments+during+a+voting+period+in+the+game+Among+Us.

James Connor

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) listens to other crew members’ arguments during a voting period in the game Among Us.

James Connor, Contributor

“Anyone want to play Among Us with me on Twitch to get out the vote?” That’s the question that U.S. House Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) — better known by her acronym AOC — posed in a Tweet Monday afternoon. It only took a day for the congresswoman to create a Twitch channel, gather players, and start playing publicly.

Among US, a recent gaming sensation (particularly among younger generations), drops players on a rusty spaceship — but there’s a catch: one or two of the players are designated as “impostors” whose goal is to eliminate the normal crewmates. In the meantime, the crew members are assigned a list of tasks to complete. Whichever group finishes their mission first is declared the winner. All crewmates, impostor or not, regularly vote on who they believe the impostor is. Whoever receives a majority of the votes is kicked off the ship. This voting aspect is likely the reason that the representative chose the game as her platform for encouraging viewers to vote; the game offers the opportunity for a number of discussions regarding the importance of casting one’s vote during an election.

Despite it being her first stream — and her first time playing the game — Ocasio-Cortez’s broadcast attracted record breaking numbers, at one point topping more than 430,000 simultaneous viewers. The stream also high-level spectators such as U.S. House Representative Justin Amash (Libertarian-MI).

Unlike the U.S. electoral system, the game requires more than two parties to play. Ocasio-Cortez’s Twitter call did not go unmet. When finally brought together, the game’s group of ten participants contained a number of personalities from across the gaming and political spectrums. Ocasio-Cortez was joined by her colleague Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN) as well as well-known gaming personalities including Imane “Pokimane” Anys and Hasan “HasanAbi” Piker.

While the stream was entertaining, the original intent of the broadcast still remained: to encourage members of the digital audience to vote. Partway into the stream, the group paused to briefly discuss their voting plans. AOC explained that she decided to vote early in New York because she wants to have her vote counted on the actual election day of November 3rd (as opposed to having it tallied earlier as is done in other states). “HasanAbi” made an appeal to the audience to “go out with your internet friends and vote for people who won’t appoint people like Ajit Pai”, a reference to the FCC chairman known for his campaign that resulted in the repeal of Net Neutrality. Even “Pokimane” — a Canadian citizen who is ineligible to vote in the U.S. election — weighed in and described her participation in her own country’s elections.

And while the screen may have been filled with cartoon characters and fun animations, the parallels between the game and the election can not be overlooked. The goal of the stream was to encourage viewers to exercise their right to vote. Just like the animated murder mystery, the upcoming election puts the lives and rights of many Americans in the hands of those who vote.

For more information about voting — including how, where, and when — visit https://www.vote.gov.