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You can be forgiven for thinking there was no difference between the first round of the 2020 Democratic debates and the second go, which began yesterday. But there was one subtle change. Stepping in for Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), who dropped out, was Montana Gov. Steve Bullock.
Bullock had several notable moments while sparring with front-runners Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) over their plans for Medicare for All, and in the wake of his performance, America wanted to know: Who is Marianne Williamson?
Williamson—self-help guru, presidential candidate, and the stuff of memes in debate one—had several intense, passionate moments that resonated with viewers. She was the most searched Democratic candidate Tuesday night in 49 states. There was only one state that chiefly wanted to know more about Bullock, and that was… Montana?
Yes, viewers in Montana apparently tuned in to the Democratic debate and needed to look up who that man who looked vaguely familiar—who had a chyron below him that read “Steve Bullock, Montana Governor”—really was.
Montanans have no idea who Montana Gov. Steve Bullock is https://t.co/Xzd1xgwOCw— Chris D'Angelo (@c_m_dangelo) July 31, 2019
Kind of funny that people in Montana are looking up their own governor https://t.co/zQh6AoCSXb— Melinda Bowker (@melindabowker) July 31, 2019
These kitschy Google PR pushes don’t really mean that Montanas don’t know who their governor is. They just catch what people are searching, and not why they are searching. It could be that Montanans want to donate to his campaign or want to find his website to look at his positions.
But in a country that is as ill-informed as this one often is, they just might be looking up who their governor is.
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David Covucci is the Layer 8 editor at the Daily Dot, covering the intersection of politics and the web. His work has appeared in Vice, the Huffington Post, Jezebel, Gothamist, and other publications. He is particularly interested in hearing any tips you have. Reach out at [email protected]