It’s not unusual to find politicians on TikTok, the Chinese-owned social media app.

Lawmakers and officials see the potential the app has. By posting a silly video, they are tapping into over 1 billion users, some of whom are prospective voters, and taking part in an online community that influences culture.

Consider Nevada’s Democrat Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto lip syncing to a song in a recent video with Grammy-winning artist Camila Cabello and actress Kerry Washington pretending to be on backup vocals, urging viewers to vote.

Posted five days ago (right before Election Day), the video has racked up over 115,000 views on Washington’s account.

Or take a look at Republican Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz, who posted a video last year of him doing a “#HealthyDance” where he’s swaying his hips to “Move Your Feet” by Junior Senior, all the while munching on an apple. The 8-second clip has over 500,000 views, while his account has 1.2 million followers.

This new way of campaigning is not relegated to one party — dancing Democrats and Republicans who are cutting a rug is an unexpected reality of 21st-century American politics.

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I’m back. #HealthyDance #DrOz Credit to: @reesewitherspoon

♬ Move Your Feet - Junior Senior

The novelty of this strategy renders it difficult to analyze, but it appears that this might be how these politicians intend to reach two key generations, millennials and Generation Z, who have abandoned other forms of social media for TikTok.

A recent analysis from the Alliance for Securing Democracy, a nonprofit that studies foreign efforts to interfere in democratic institutions, found that “Nearly 30 percent of all major-party candidates in Senate races have TikTok accounts, and one-fifth of all major-party House candidates have an account on the platform,” per The Washington Post.

While Democrats are more likely than Republicans to have a TikTok account — with 34% of Democratic candidates having an account as opposed to 12% of Republican candidates — both parties appear to see TikTok and social media as increasingly important in their campaign strategies.

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The shift from print media to digital media has transformed where Americans find their news. Pew Research found that 86% of Americans use technology, such as a smartphone, tablet or computer, to stay updated on the news. It’s also clear, as Forbes reported, that social media is rising as a top news source, especially for the younger generations who tend to utilize it.

TikTok, specifically, is emerging as a news source for around a quarter of American adults under the age of 30 — and that number is only increasing, according to Pew Research.

“Young people are valuable acquisitions in the campaign trail,” said Michael Cornfield, an associate professor of political management at George Washington University who has studied the emergence of politics on the internet since the 2000s, per the Los Angeles Times.

“If I can get you to watch, if I can get you to give me (your) email address, maybe I can get you to volunteer,” Cornfield said. “Maybe I can get you to share content with your friends and your social network. Maybe I can get you to give money.”

Taking a look at the numbers, Forbes exit polls from this year’s midterm election show that Gen Zers made up 7% of the country’s voters. An estimated 61% of this age group between 18 to 25 chose a Democratic candidate versus the 36% that voted for a Republican during the midterm election.

This development doesn’t come without drawbacks: misinformation runs rampant on TikTok, which dispenses more false news than other social media platforms, as the Deseret News previously reported.

For politicians, this might be a catch-22. Yes, videos on TikTok are easy to make and amplify to millions, but it also allows creators to go by pseudonyms — making it difficult to verify information — while the app remains secretive about its algorithm or the data it collects, writes Thad Kousser for The Hill.

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The situation seems much bigger than just cringe-worthy TikTok videos, but for now, it’s clear that politicians aren’t going to stop using it.

Just last month, the White House decided to incorporate the app into its political outreach plans by holding creator briefings, according to NPR. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris talked to social media influencers about the Inflation Reduction Act in the Roosevelt Room.

“Honestly, I don’t care what side of the aisle you’re on, when the president and the vice president walk in the room, it’s a cool moment,” said V Spehar, who hosts “Under The Desk News” and was present at the meeting.

Politicians on TikTok may become the norm, and Americans may want to consider how the political landscape could change if it does.

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